What a Summer!!  Three bucket list items in one trip.  I was lucky enough to spend 8 days in the Pacific Northwest, visiting 3 of our National Parks.  My friend Kristin, my brother Mike and sister in-law Kathy joined me for the fun.  First stop… Olympic National Park.

Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Park
Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Park
Patty and Kristin in Olympic National Park
Patty and Kristin in Olympic National Park

We spent 4 days in Olympic, which was barley enough time to scratch the surface of everything that is available to see there.  Such DIVERSITY!!!  We camped at Kalalock campground, which is right along the coast.  Upon arrival we went to the beach and were lucky enough to see gray whales!  We spent the next day at Hurricane Ridge and Crescent Lake.  Hiked in both areas, beautiful views of both the Olympic mountain range and the ocean.

Hoh Rain Forest
Hoh Rain Forest – Trees hundreds of years old and hundreds of feet tall!!

The third morning we hiked in Hoh rain forest.  The only word that comes to mind is “otherworldly”.  I don’t know any other way to describe it.    There was something so prehistoric, but also so soulful about being there.   According to the National Geographic Guide to National Parks, “the planet’s greatest density of biomass is found in the rain forests of Olympic National Park”.  If I was an Ent, I would definitely live there!

In the afternoon, we went to Rialto Beach and walked to the “hole in the wall” at low tide and enjoyed the beauty of the coast, the waves the rocks and the opportunity to view sea urchins and different colored anemone in the low tide pools.  It was so amazing to experience so many vastly different aspects of nature in just a few days.

Hole in the Wall Olympic National Park
Hole in the Wall Olympic National Park with Mike and Kathy

We spent our last day at Lake Quinault.  We rented kayaks and just tried to stay cool.  It was hot, somewhere in the mid 90s and the smoke from the wild fires came in.  We were lucky to have a few days of clear skies in Olympic, which we would NOT experience for the rest of our trip.

What I learned about the Park:

Amazing diversity at Olympic.  The opportunity to camp where we could hear the waves crashing on the shore all night long was remarkable.  We could have easily spent a full week here, and never run out of amazing things to see and do!

What I learned about myself:

I need to stop procrastinating about visiting these great parks or thinking it is something to do after I retire.  I am lucky enough to live so close to so many of these parks (it was only a 8 hour drive to Seattle for me!!) I will definitely be planning more soon.  Next big adventure, Utah maybe??  Anyone interested?

Some thoughts for you:

Don’t wait, no matter what your reason (waiting for retirement, no money, out of shape, etc)- get out there and enjoy the beauty that is all around us!!!!  You will feel renewed, I promise.

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