Friday, June 18, 2021
Our goal today was to explore Olympic National Park. It was another early start because we wanted to have a lot of time in the park. It is 922,650 acres of various wilderness terrain. We downloaded for offline use the park information from the NPS app. It was very helpful because we didn’t have cell service for much of the park.
From our campsite we crossed Puget Sound and drove along Hood Canal which is one of the four main basins of Puget Sound. Annas Bay is located at the mouth of the Skokomish River at the bend at the south end of Hood Canal.
Before heading into the park we learned that we need to fill up our gas tank when we see a gas station. This was the first station and mart that we saw on 101, near Sequim, WA before the entrance to the park! And it was very busy! There were totems around the station and are representative of the S’Klallam Tribe. The S’Klallam Tribe community is located nearby.
We stopped at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center which wasn’t open but the park rangers were set up outside with maps. We used the map and the trail information to guide us through the park. The Beaumont Cabin is located at the visitor center. The cabin was built in 1897 and was moved here in 1962. The Beaumont family lived in the cabin for about 40 years. It sat on a government homestead site of 160 acres about a mile from its current location.
Once in the park we headed toward the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. The panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains. Hurricane Ridge is located in land of the S’Klallam people.
Our road to Hurricane Ridge as we travel on Hurricane Ridge Road.
When we left Hurricane Ridge we drove to Elwha River Valley. We parked and walked the Madison Falls Trailhead. As you walk the trail you are in the homeland of the Lower Elwha Klallam people.
Our next stop was Crescent Lake which is a freshwater lake that was carved by glaciers. The lake is 12 miles long and 624 feet deep! The Crescent Lake Lodge is near where we stopped. We parked and got our packed lunch and sat on a log by the lake and enjoyed our meal looking out over the water. After eating we walked around the grounds and went into the lodge. The lodge was built in 1915 and the lobby has a beautiful stone fireplace and it is furnished with antiques. It has a sun porch that looked so inviting but we had more to see and do in the park!
As we travel in the park our next stop was the Sol Duc Valley. We hiked the Sol Duc Falls trail and we were rewarded with the falls which was really flowing!
Along the Sol Duc Hot Springs road is a viewing platform for visitors to watch the salmon leap up the cascades to spawn in the Sol Duc river. Of course that time of year is September and October for the Coho Salmon and March through May for the steelhead trout!
There is a short loop trail where we hiked through the deep green Olympic Old Growth. It was a peaceful walk.
We continued around the park to the Hoh Rain forest.
In the Hoh Rain Forest we hiked the Hall of Mosses trail and the Maple Grove trail. At the trailhead we saw the sign below. Needless to say we were paying attention as we hiked along!
Below are pictures of large ferns, moss covered trees and the Taft Creek. The moss is everywhere and really covers some of the trees but the moss doesn’t hurt the trees. The moss feeds on air and light.
Some of the coniferous tree trunks were huge as you can see from the picture below!
The Hoh Rain Forest is named after the Hoh River which runs from Mt. Olympus to the Pacific coast!
Our last stop in the park was along the Pacific Ocean with a lighthouse in the distance and the sun getting low in the horizon.
Olympic National Park was definitely the most diverse park we have visited with four regions: the alpine areas, the Pacific coastline, east side drier forests, and the west side temperate rainforest! Several times as we drove around on route 101 we would leave Olympic national park and then we would enter back into the park and the entrance gate. Our drive back to our campsite was uneventful and we were exhausted after a long day exploring Olympic National Park.