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Seattle/Victoria Trip {Day 5}

On Saturday morning, we got up, hit up La Panier to get food for the road, and headed to the rental car place.  We got our car and headed out to the Olympic Peninsula to see Olympic National Park.  There are a couple of different ways you can get to the Oympic Peninsula... some, including iphone maps favorite options, involve taking a ferry.  We decided against the ferry route for a few reasons and just drove on down and around through Tacoma. 

Olmpic National Park is huge.  It's really three parks in one, because there are mountains, rain forests, and beaches.  You need multiple days to see the park, not only because of it's size, but because many of the roads have a 35 mph speed limit, an issue that we failed to factor accordingly for. 

Here is a map to give you a better idea of where the park is...
We left Seattle at about 9:15 a.m.  We drove down to Tacoma and across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to drive up WA 16.  We made a quick stop in Sequim were there are numerous lavender farms.  Unfortunately, the lavender was about a week away from blooming, but we purchased some lavender products.  Then we hit the road again and headed to the park.  In Port Angeles, there is the park's information center, and that's where we stopped to plot out all our stops.

Let me take a minute to say, that our plans were full on crazy...CRAZY in all caps really.  The park ranger looked at us like we were nuts, but we were determined, so we made the plans to do the following:

(1) Hurricane Ridge
(2) Marymere Falls near Crescent Lake
(3) Hoh Rain Forest
(3) some beaches

Driving up to Hurricane Ridge was our first stop.  It's a beautiful drive up the mountain, but definitely a winding road
We saw some deer as we traveled up the mountain, and then when we got to the top, there were deer everywhere.
 and SNOW!!
Only one short trail was open.  The others were still snowed over.
But that was good because we really didn't have time to do a long hike up here if we were going to make it to our other targets.
This map helps you identify the various mountains, Mount Olympic being the tallest.

 This little guy was so close to us.  At this point, I said "Are you photogenic little guy?" and he gave me this.  I took that as a yes!
 As we drove down the mountain, the clouds were rolling in.
It was really eerie, but beautiful at the same time.
Once we got back to Port Angeles, we headed west on Highway 101.  We traveled by Crescent Lake.
Just on the other side of Crescent Lake, we parked and took out hiking for Marymere Falls.
The park guide had said the falls were really active due to snow melt, so we knew it would be worth the 1.5 mile hike.
The hike was so pretty. 
Lots of forest with moss covered trees and ferns everywhere.
 My artsy photo practice`manually focusing on the fern seen through a log.
 We got to this point and were amazed by the beauty, but we had no idea the best part was still to come.
 The hike became an uphill climb at this point.
We went up...
 and up...
and up, until we reached the falls.
 Then we hiked back down to the car and set out driving to Hoh Rain Forest.
Everyone said "You can't miss Hoh".
 We did not factor in that the drive was about 45 minutes to Forks, and then it takes about another  hour from Forks to get to Hoh each way, even though it's only like 25 miles.
By the time we reached Hoh, I was bitter, I'm not going to lie.  I felt like it had sucked a ton of our time, and once we got there, it was apparent that we would only have time for the mini-10 minute-hike, instead of the longer ones.
Maybe if we had taken the longer hikes, we would have been really impressed, but as it was, I was not impressed with Hoh Rain Forest.
Sure it was beautiful, but it looked very similar to what we had seen on the hike to Marymere Falls (and what we were about to see hiking near the beaches).  Plus, it is suppose to be raining there!  It's one of the rainiest place in the country and it was sunny as all get out!
This was interesting though.  The tall spruce trees have very shallow roots, so they fall over and the ferns just grow all over the roots and it looked like a wall of vegitation.  You can see that below.
 We loaded back up and headed to the beaches.
We knew we had a hour drive back to Forks where we would turn off to the beach and we were fighting daylight at this point. 
 As we drove out of Hoh, we saw some Elk.  My pics of the elk aren't very good because I was stopped in the road taking the pics with two RV's behind me honking. 
 I include this pic of the Forks sign because if you are a Twilight fan, this will mean something to you.  I have not read the book, nor seen the movie, so I could have cared less.
 This isn't a great photo that I snapped as I drove down the road, but these yellow flowering bushes were all along the road.  They were so pretty!
 We drove out to First Beach because you could drive right up to it.
Here are 3 instagrams from First Beach
 First Beach selfie
There is also a Second Beach and a Third Beach which are reported to be even more beautiful than First Beach (is that possible?).  You have to hike to both of them.  The hike to Second Beach was shorter, so we decided to try it.
Again, you are hiking through a forest...
After about 20 minutes, it started to get darker and darker.
The sitatuion was beginning to resemble everything Disney movies have spent years cautioning us against... a dark, creepy, forest. 
We reached a spot where we had every instinct telling us to turn around.  We ran across a guy that said were were probably still 40 mintues from the beach.  We factored the 40 minutes there, time to see the beach, an hour back to the car, plus our instincts into the equation and decided to turn around.
You can imagine it was at this point, I was cursing Hoh for wasting 2 hours of daylight!
 It's interesting because the camera captured much more light in the photos than what actually happening there in the forest at this point.
We did walk back up the road to an overlook of First Beach before we hit the road.
We got into the car at 8:30, and did not get back to Seattle until 12:30.  That was the darkest and scarriest road I have ever driven, and I can assure you that we were super tired when we rolled back into our hotel at 1:00 a.m.!
Stay tuned for the next post:  the last few hours in Seattle, plus some pictures of our room at the Inn at the Market.  I will also give my thoughts on best places to stay, eat, activities, etc. if you are planning a trip to Seattle, Victoria, or Olympic National Park.


Anonymous said…
You got some really great photos! I just adore the one of the surfer behind the beach tumbleweed.
Rebeka said…
I've never been to Forks but those beaches are beautiful! Also, you might be the only person ever to be upset that it's not raining in the northwest :)
Don't forget the additional scare of driving behind the car without its lights on!

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