Friday July 9, 2021
Olympic NP has it all from snow topped mountains, lakes, rivers, lowland forests, temperate rain forests and coastal beaches. Truly an amazing place.
I started my day with a walk along Ocean City Beach, then visit a rain forest and later watch seals plays in the Pacific Ocean while sitting in the van at my campsite for the night. That is one hell of a good day.
Last night we stayed at a Ocean City State Park. It is on the beach but you cannot see the beach from the park. I take Berkley for his morning walk on the beach. It is a 10 minute walk to the beach, but takes us much longer with Berkley since he has to stop every 20 feet or so for him to pee on something. It is cloudy, windy, cold and hard to warm up at this slow pace.
I make myself a hot chocolate when I get back to the van. I am chilled to the bone. This area doesn’t usually get above the mid 70’s during the summer.😯
After a breakfast of fresh berries that we picked up from a road side stand yesterday, we are on our way to the Quinault Rain forest.
We do a short nature trail hike through the temperate rain forest full of lush terrain and old growth forest. This is a first experience for me and definitely a highlight.
We also see the oldest Sitka Spruce tree in the town Quinault. It is approximately 1000 years old with a circumference of 59 feet.
As we are passing through the edge of the Quinault Reservation, Jim sees a sign for smoked salmon. He has heard it is best to get it from the reservations so he finds a place to turn around and heads back to the store.
We never did make it to our final destination of the day. I saw a campground that was on the beach and I have Jim pull in. It is about 2:30pm and the place looks packed but there are 4 sites left. The place looks awesome so I decided this is where I want to camp tonight.
We settle in with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Jim later notices a couple of seals playing together in the surf. Then we notice another pair. I am fascinated. I watch them until I can no longer hold the binoculars up. They are still out there when we go to bed later.
Saturday July 10, 2021
I head out for a morning beach walk. It is cold and windy. On my way back I see an otter crossing the beach and heading toward the water. I watch him swimming in the surf and enjoying breakfast. Every so often he would pop up eating something. This is the first time I have ever seen an otter in the ocean.
Once we get back I make us some hot oatmeal. Trying to warm us up. The temperature is in the 50’s but the wind really makes it worse.
We then head to Ruby Beach for another very chilly walk. This beach has all kinds of rocks in the water and when it is low tide you are able to see all of the sea life attached to the rocks. It is like walking around under the sea. We were lucky to arrive during low tide.
We saw muscles, anemones, starfish, barnacles and I’m sure there were a bunch of other living organisms that we just didn’t know what they were.
The Ochre Starfish were as big or bigger than a dinner plate and we saw both red and orange ones.
There were a lot of Green Sea Anemones. Some of the rocks were completely covered with them. The WHOLE surface.
After leaving Ruby Beach we head over to the Hoh Rain Forest. It is almost lunch time when we arrive and it is almost an hour wait for us to enter the park. There is limited parking in the area so once the parking lot is full they only let you enter as someone leaves. I make us lunch while we wait. It is so convenient having the van. It’s egg salad sandwiches topped with olives. Delish!
We are lucky enough to see two Roosevelt Elk laying creekside. They are far away so the picture it’s not the greatest.
Sunday July 11, 2021
I start my morning off with a hot chocolate because it is 47 degrees outside.
Then we are off toward Rialto Beach. This beach is pretty famous and I was told that this should be a place that I stop at, but we didn’t feel it was as nice as Ruby Beach.
Jim may be getting sick of seeing waterfalls, but not me. I love them. He describes them as just water flowing over rocks. Which should clue me in that he is tired of seeing them, but I just let him sit it out or come with me. I’m still going to see as many as I can.
Monday July 12, 2021
We did our last hike in Olympic this morning up Hurricane Ridge. It was a short hike of 3.4 miles and a paved path, but don’t let that fool you into to thinking it was easy. It was 800 feet of elevation gain in 1.7 miles. And the mosquitoes were HORRIBLE! You really had to stay moving to keep their damage down to a minimum.
I was amazed at the paved walking path. Jim and I were wondering how they completed this job. It didn’t seem like an easy one.
Although the walking surface was flat the walking was not easy. I started with a jacket on and that was quickly taken off.
We see a deer and her fawn as we are hiking up. They cross the trail a little ways in front of us. We also see a few marmot and chipmunks but that is it.
We are now making our way over to the North Cascades.