This was our second trip to Olympic National Park and we were just as thrilled as the first time. The beautiful surroundings never get old and this may have to become an annual visit! We were lucky enough to have Jill, Steve, and their son, Nicholas along and, best of all, terrific weather to enjoy. Although our first day was cloudy, the rest of the week was blue skies even in the rainforest. We stayed at an RV park close to LaPush and spent our first afternoon exploring First and Second beach in LaPush. The haystacks in the water, the forest up to the shore, and the HUGE fallen trees on the shore make for such an interesting landscape. Not what we are used to at all! We even spotted a sea lion following along as we walked the beach but he was too elusive to get on camera.
Next stop was the Hoh Rainforest. We loved the Hall of Mosses Trail and the Spruce Nature Trail but couldn’t help but notice that it had suffered a bit from the heat earlier in the month. Many of the ferns were burnt and the trail was much drier that we remembered just two years ago. But we were still in awe of the jurassic feel that the rainforest gives. We are definitely not alone in our desire to visit the rainforest. We arrived before 10 AM and were able to snag the last couple of parking spaces available. On our way out we realized how lucky we were as the line stretched past the 2 hour mark as they only let in vehicles as other vehicles leave the park! The early bird gets the worm for sure! We finished our afternoon by stopping at Ruby Beach which is at the top of my list of favorite beaches. We were just a few hours too early for the sunset but enjoyed it all the same.
Our second full day in the park and we decided to head the opposite direction. Neah Bay and Cape Flattery were closed until October so we headed to Lake Crescent instead. We did two short hikes both ending in spectacular waterfalls. The first was Sol Duc Falls and the second was Marymere Falls. They both had excellent (translation: easy) trails with a waterfall reward at the end. Another great National Park day in the books.
It was our last day and I’m so glad we decided to head over to the Quinault Rainforest. We stopped by Beach 4 and Beach 3 in Kalaloch on the way down. The short walks down to the beach aren’t too bad but then you need to do a bit of rock scrambling to actually get to the beach. Jill was up for the adventure while I just looked on from the bridge! When we arrived in the Quinault area, we traveled the Loop Road around the lake and stopped all along the way. We picnicked next to the lake, hiked a terrific loop trail, stopped at two waterfalls right off the road, and visited the famed Quinault Lodge. It was a full day. The nature hike was the best! It was through the Quinault Rainforest and was similar to the Hoh Rainforest but seemed less dry and it was definitely less crowded. The visitor center parking lot only holds about 15 cars and it wasn’t even full. Part of the trail goes by the Kestner Homestead. The Kestner family homesteaded beginning in 1891 and stayed there for over 40 years. The National Park website describes their experience, “The fortitude and resourcefulness of all the original settlers in the Valley defy modern imagination. The dense forest, the ferocious weather, the tumultuous river as a highway and the long muddy primitive trails that led into the area were daunting. How these sturdy folk carved out a homestead, built a house, beat down the brush to scratch out a garden and a field for their animals is astonishing…”
After the homestead hike, we stopped by the roadside waterfalls which were amazing and then we were thrilled to walk through the Lodge on the lake. I really love the feel of this old fashioned lodge. I think one day we will have to actually spend a night here, especially if we can order up a perfect weather day like we experienced! We ended by eating at the Salmon House restaurant in the area. They are not fully open yet, but good food all the same.
We were going to head down the coast a bit to the Copalis Beach area but sometimes plans change and this was one such time. We learned that a longtime family friend, Eveyln Nichols, had passed away and we did not want to miss our opportunity to say good-bye. So we started back to our home base AKA: Jill and Steve’s house/resort in Enumclaw. Along the way, we swung by Chehalis to visit with Mary Louise Rothlin, another life long friend. Several of her children were also there to visit-always a fun and worth-the-time stop! We were home in time to attend Evie’s service and spend time catching up with everyone. The Swiss/Family community is the best! We are hanging out here in Enumclaw for a bit then it’s off to the San Juan Islands for a few days….stay tuned.