This past 6 months my boyfriend and I have traded in our traditional lifestyles for a year of wanderlust. Currently we are finishing our 5 month RV trek through the United States’ pacific coast. We have seen a multitude of amazing national parks, from Zion to Yosemite and most recently Olympic National Park in the lovely Washington. Unlike the actual Olympics, you don’t have to wait for four years to experience the wonder it holds. What attracted us to this National Park was the different terrain you get to experience. From beach to rainforest to mountains, this park will make it hard to believe it’s all one park.
Our first stop along our Olympic adventure was Beach #2, which is located along the coastline of Kalaloch, Washington. This beach is a common stop to take a picture of the popular tree root cave.This unique tree illustrates the resilience of nature and is definitely a must see. Beach #2 also contains some amazing marine life. We visited during low tide and were lucky enough to find gorgeous shells and sand dollar remains scattered along the sand. After I channeled my inner 5 year old and ran barefoot and free through the ocean to scare some seagulls, I stumbled upon a living sand dollar, which is a first for me. I was so enthralled with my find that I did not pay attention and stepped on what appeared to be a dying jellyfish and was promptly stung. So a tip from me, wear shoes when galavanting along this beach.
Our second stop that day was truly a gem…Ruby Beach. We sat on driftwood and ate tofu chicken wraps (yes they are quite delicious) while we watched the sunset. Ruby Beach had gorgeous rock inlets and a stunning estuary (where a river empties into the ocean). The night was a tad chilly yet perfect, a great place to end your day and have a picnic.
Our second day in Olympic National Park we ventured to the Hoh Rain Forest in the morning. There is two very easy trails in this rain forest, the first being the Hall of Mosses (only 0.8 miles) and the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles). The Hall of Mosses had remarkable backdrops of moss and ferns, making you feel as if you stepped onto a set for another Jurassic Park movie. Along the trail we spotted two Banana Slugs which are well known to inhabit this area. There is also a great number of different mushrooms to spot on this walk. I thoroughly enjoyed this small jaunt in the rainforest. Just make sure to wear plenty of bug spray and don’t eat the mushrooms…or the Banana Slugs.
What trip to Olympic National Park would be complete without a stop in Forks? Forks, Washington a teeny, town in this national park was made famous, obviously from Stephanie Meyer’s novel Twilight. Whether you are a twihard or not, this town is a fun stop. You can partake in the twilight madness, that was the craze years ago by taking a picture by Bella’s truck at the Visitor Center and visiting some twilight gift stores. This town is additionally just a good place to fill up on gas, groceries and grab any necessities. Not to mention it is also quite close to some outstanding beaches.
The next day we drove about 20 minutes from Forks to Rialto Beach, a spectacular beach located on the Quileute Indian Reservation. This beach unlike the previously mentioned beaches is purely pebble based. Despite not having the smooth feel of sand beneath your toes, this beach makes up for it’s lack of sand with remarkable driftwood and well…rocks. The rocks that wash up on this shore are vast and often colorful. There is additionally some epic views of the hole in the wall, a massive rock that resides in the ocean there. When we were about to leave this magnificent beach, we spotted a random fin in the waves about 10 feet from the shore. To our surprise there was a small humpback whale riding the waves. We, along with many other people, watched this unbelievable sight until another whale showed up and called the baby whale away. This spot is actually very good for whale watching during their migration time we came to discover. So tip, be ready with your binoculars and cameras. Sadly we found ourselves overly excited and unprepared making our photos not able to fully capture the magic that happened.
After reeling from our whale spotting, we continued to our last stop in Olympic National Park; Hurricane Ridge. This spot is located about 20 miles south of Port Angeles and is a sight to behold. You are thrusted into an elevation of 5,242 with breathtaking views of the Olympic snow peaked mountains. This stop had a lovely paved and easy walkway that allowed visitors to explore the meadows and read about local wildflowers and plants while taking in awe-inspiring mountains. Since the day was clear, we were fortunate enough to see across the bay to Vancouver from one of the vista points. We also encountered a black tail deer grazing in the meadows and two young bucks still with their fuzz, resting underneath some pines. I quickly fell in love with this area.
As we headed back on the road after our 4 days exploring Olympic National Park we quickly decided it would be in the running for a gold medal, when comparing to some of the parks we had visited in the last few months. The variety of terrain we encountered during our visit, met both our likings and allowed us to explore not only one type of area. However, the best thing about this Olympics is you don’t just have to be a spectator.
All Photography by @chucklepley instagram