Circling the Park

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by nmagann on July 8, 2012

Olympic National Park covers an expansive area in the Northwest part of Washington. The Park consists of more than 70 miles of Pacific Coast including cliffs, tide pools and beaches. Inland is home to forests, including a rain forest, mountains, and lakes. We were going to experience a bit of everything.

Our plan of attack was to follow highway 101 from the southeast heading north and continue in a large loop. Our first stop was at Brinnon on the coast of Hood Canal. Dosewallips River flows in the canal, which turns out to be a very popular clamming area. The extreme tidal change revealed a sea of clamshells as far as the eye could see. It would have been impossible to walk any distance at all and not step on the remains of one. Needless to say, some type of footwear might be advisable.

Our next stop was Sekiu, a rather small city just off the coast between larger Port Townsend and Port Angeles. A two-lane road forms a small loop from Sekiu along the coast passes Dungeness Split. The sand is banked up and makes for a nice flat area to walk when the tides is out, but when conditions are right, people go crazy for crabs. When the signs advertise fresh Dungeness crab, you can be sure it is. A variety of seafood is available here. Just check out the photo of Rosie, the town’s mascot. However, the large seafood and crab festival is held in Port Angeles.

With Hurricane Ridge on our left and the Strait of Juan de Fuca on our right we drove past Lake Crescent. Our mission, before burning all daylight, was to get to Sol Duc Hot Springs located well within the national park. For $12 a day, there is access to three mineral hot springs of various temperatures and different sizes as well a large freshwater pool. There are large bathrooms and showers, but you need to bring your own towel or buy one.

The hot springs were just what we needed. Although it would have been nice to stay in a nearby cabin, in spite of the expensive, they had been booked. Hence, we stayed in the hot springs until they closed at 6pm, had dinner at the restaurant, which was surprisingly good without being expensive, and made our way back to a city to spend the night. The other pro to staying here is that includes the use of the hot springs.

Hoh Rain Forest was wonderful kind of place typically seen by me only we I travel out of the country. Hall of Moses containing long trailing vines and Spanish moss hanging from tree branches. There are so many different colors of green to behold. I inhaled deeply the fresh scented air and filled my lungs. It was amazing how a good a deep breath felt. Griff Trail was a delight with salamanders and banana slugs and seemingly miniature rain forests, the kind that would have been fun with little dolls and matchbook cars. The path was easy and offered small bridges over the foliage laden streams. There seemed to be as much plant life in the water as there was out of the water. One of things I found fascinating was the tree nursery. I took a photo of several trees lined perfectly in a row with relatively equal distance between. I discovered a fall tree served as the mother for all these offspring. Hence the name. Next experience will be to the beaches, but it is hard to leave such a place.
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Olympic Peninsula, Washington, 98362
(360) 565-3130

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