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America Olympic National Park 2022 Travel

Climb Ev’ry Mountain*

I don’t want to question the artistic license used for the classic film the Sound of Music, but I do start to wonder what on this earth they feed the Nuns at that monastery if they think they can climb ‘Ev’ry Mountain’

Today, I climbed a mountain. *insert nun jokes about not making it a habit etc. here*..

Let me tell you, I’m not ready to climb another any time soon.

Whilst talking to some folk in the rain forest yesterday, I got the suggestion to do the Storm King Trail. Turns out “Storm King” is actually a mountain… and it’s Far-King Steep!

The day started with a leisurely drive down to lake crescent where I spritely hopped out the car, kitted out with the layers and rain protection and headed off down the paved track, under highway 101 toward Storm King.

About half a mile down the track, there is a sign for Storm King. At first, I thought it was a mistake. It pointed to some stumps and a muddy “path” that ran up the side of the hill.

It was no mistake.

The path was narrow, and steeeeep and relentless… but I appear to like a challenge so off I trolled up the mountain.

A steep and windy start…

The path wound round the edge of the foot of the forest. You could see the trees that had fallen and become nursery logs, giving life to other trees…

Nursery logs are fallen trees that become the root home for new trees – the rainforest floor is too dense to root straight in!

The path continued to be steep and was filled with switchback on switchback on switchback. Sometimes it was actually hard to tell where the path was going as it was so steep and unpredictable.

Eventually you noticed you were starting to reach the top of some of the trees…. some.

The top of some of the trees…

The sense of excitement was soon gone, when you realised you were simply at the foot of the next trees just further up the mountain!

More Trees…

More trees meant more switchbacks and more steep climbing.

One of the many steep switchbacks.

During one of the many breaks I took, I had the time to reflect on the happy, spunky liveliness my deer American counterparts. I’m stood there standing sweating like I was shaking hands with the sun, a hot mess barely able to breathe… while someone passes, uphill and manages to barely get out a wheeze but a happy wheeze of “Hey, How you doing?!!”. Same as you pal… same as you.

Eventually the ascent paid off, and we were given the most amazing view of Lake Crescent.

It’s so pretty!
Plandid or candid?

From the viewpoint, there is the option to go further. On the Non-Maintained trail… because I’d suffered so far, I decided I had to summit this damn thing.

I was in two minds, but looked at the folk up ahead and the folk coming down and decided if they could do it (pretty sure they were bus pass eligible) then so could I.

The path turned into rocks…

Rocky path…

And sometimes the rocks came with ropes…

Is this going uphill or downhill? 🙂

And other times there were no ropes and no paths.. and it was a bit of a scramble.

Errrrm what?

And then eventually I reached the peak… Worried how the view was going to be after all that work because we were in the clouds by now…

The last little bit to the very top of the summit…

At first, it was hazy…

Something down there? I’m literally in the cloud…

So we focussed on some wildlife shots:

Not sure what sorta bird this is…
Spot Alvin and/or his friends.

Eventually, having stood round for a little while, eaten some lunch, and patiently waited, watching the clouds ascend from the lake to the sky. (Literally I watched clouds grow…)…

The view cleared!

TaDaaaaa!
It also cleared enough for much clearer lake views.
You could see over the clouds out to the strait of Juan de Fuca!

Grand as the views were, we all know the old saying… what goes up… must come down… and as I started to descend, the clouds did too… gentle rain to cool you down.

Let me tell you, the burn going downhill is just as bad as the burn going uphill!

Eventually, I made it back to the trailhead path, and decided… I’d walked so far, I’d take the short stroll to the Marymere Falls… I’m glad I did!

Pretty impressive!
Got a bit arty.

From Storm King, I decided to race on down to Rialto Beach (about an hour’s drive) to try and see the stacks and, to take the stroll along the beach up to the Hole in the Wall.

Sadly, on arrival, not only was it high tide… but the heavens decided to drop a storm.

The huge waves, flat stones and and uprooted trees were super cool, but I was soaked through from about 15 mins of being outside!

Crazy uprooted trees…
Crazy Waves!
I did an artsy flat stone thing.

From Rialto, I headed back to Port Angeles, where I had the most delicious pizza!

Tomorrow is the last day before a week of work in Seattle.. I’m not quite sure yet where I’m going stop on the way back to the city, but I do know the first stop for me right now, before bed is the whirlpool to undo some of the aches of the day!

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Olympic National Park 2022 Travel

Ignore the advice of TLC

Now, I’m not saying to ignore all of the advice that T-Boz and Left-Eye once gave out. (Yes I had to google them)… Not giving out your number to random people is probably for the best, even when sitting on the passenger side of your best friend’s ride… but I digress.

Specifically, don’t listen to Tionne and Lisa when it comes to chasing waterfalls.

This morning, I started the day with a cinamon waffle and maple syrup, before jumping in the car and heading to Sol Duc falls.

I had to pass Lake Crescent again, which naturally meant more photos…

More Lake Crescent!

To get to Sol Duc Falls, you have to drive for about 20 miles from the main road, deep into the National Park, passing lots of great views of the downstream river, and a supposed Salmon Cascade.

From the car park, its about another 0.8 miles stroll to the falls, so off I set to find them.

I left all three behind as I set off down the narrow rocky path….

The Sol Duc falls are hidden way in the forest. Not just any forest but a rainforest. (yup, they have them here!)

Some crazy tree growth!

The falls themselves were spectacular and worth the stroll. The power of them and the spray was pretty intense and it was great to be up so close to them.

Go on… Chase them!
rosperous Jacket the 2nd Makes it’s US debut.

From Sol Duc, I hopped back in the car and headed round to the Hoh Rainforest. I stopped on the way in Forks. (Twilight fans, this apparently will mean something to you?) While in Forks, I stopped for “Gas” and while paying was told that the way I talk was “Enchanting”. (eeeek.)

From Forks, I headed down to the Hoh Rainforest… a temperate rainforest here in the Olympics… Again with a long drive in containing some spectacular views.

Just off the side of the road!

In the rainforest, there were two short trails, meandering through trees and stumps showing all the mossy lined trees that grow in such a damp climate.

Mossy things
Funky Trees
Crazy Stump! Those are tree roots growing from a stump! The ground is too dense to the trees take to the old trees that have fallen down!

About halfway round the first trail, we met the river.. where I took some shots of this bird who was looking for prey!

I am bird…
I does flying…

The second trail was the “Hall of Moss” and wow did we see some mossy things!

Much Moss… In creative form
Mossy Arch
Mossy tree
Me on a mossy log!
General Moss.
Some AMAZING roots!

From Hoh Rainforest, I headed back towards forks, stopping off in this…. ‘curiously’ named park. (I had to rub my eyes and double check…)

You’d rename it, wouldn’t you?!

From ‘The park’ I headed back to my base… passing the lake again and finding yet another reason to take a photo.

You can just about see the glimmer of the rainbow as it disappeared!

From the lake I popped into Safeway… It was like a time warp! Where I got some more bread rolls for lunch… before ending up in the Golden Arches to get some late food (everything shuts so early here?!).

The car decided not to start in Maccies and I had to call for recovery… thankfully after about 20 mins I thought I’d give it another go and the car worked! I shall be keeping a close eye tomorrow.

…And with that I’m shattered, it’s time for bed!

Categories
Olympic National Park 2022 Travel

Taking part in the Olympics

No, Not the Olympic Games… Don’t be ridiculous!

Greetings reader… Welcome back to those who have trodden this corner of the internet before, and welcome to those of you who are new here. (We don’t take ourselves too seriously! When I travel to new places and go out doing fun things, I sometimes write about them…)

So, I’ve ended up back on the West Coast of the USA. Next week I have a bunch of meetings in Seattle, and I thought I’d take the opportunity thanks to Queenie having her Jubilee to escape the UK a few days early and come and visit the Olympic National Park, Washington State!

The flight out was pretty fine all things said and done… Excellent taxi service, I managed to avoid check in queues at Heathrow… a slight queue for security… and then after a 20 min delay, straight on the plane!

I got an exit row and not only did I manage to stretch my legs a little, I managed to get a bit of sleep! (only a couple of hours but anything helps when you have a 10 hour flight with an 8 hour time difference)

Flight complete, We got to walk over the new airbridge at SEA-TAC and I have to say it was pretty cool to watch a plane roll on underneath us (even if the escalators and travellator are super slow!)

This plane had just rolled under us!

After a long wait for bags, and a quick whisk through the border (Thanks Global Entry!) I was off to pick up my car…

From the car pickup, I headed to get some kosher bits from a supermarket and then headed to the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry!

I’m on a boat moth… oh nevermind.

From Kingston (No, Not Kingston in South London) I took the ~90 min drive to Sequim (apparently pronounced “Skwim”) on the Border of the Olympic National Park.

I popped to Walmart to pick up some things I forgot when shopping earlier… I tried as hard as I could to keep awake but eventually the tiredness got to me and I headed to bed.

This morning, I decided to head out to Hurricane Ridge…. WOW What a view.

Just driving through the park to the visitor centre was incredible, and I had to stop the car a number of times to take photos…

On the way up…
Visitor Center View
I’m still not sure what animal this is…

From the Visitor Center I thought I’d take the short stroll (about a mile) down to the far car park (the road was shut to cars). The view on the Car Park Road was good, and at the end of the roadway, I decided to take the 1.6 mile path up Hurricane Hill.

I was not expecting a 2 hour battle with rocks and snow, but it was 100% worth it! You could see for miles, were about the clouds and it was SO quiet!

Selfie at the top!

For a 360 View from the top, click here!

Thankfully, I made some pals on the way and we helped each other thorough the snow and mud!

Yes… parts of the path there are basically non-existent!

Having taken in the amazing views up in the mountains, and following the return hike. (It felt much quicker to get to the road, and much longer to walk up the road!) I decided to go and visit Lake Crescent… named cos… yup it’s a crescent.

Lake Crescent was super cool – again, I stopped a load of times to take photos… and thanks to me being a fairly foolish tourist, I followed my Sat Nav… ended up driving multiple miles down a single track gravel road (unideal) and had to do a pretty hairy turn around.

Lake in one direction
Lake in the other direction
Filthy car.

Artsy sphere…

As well as redecorating my car, I did get some pretty good views too!

From Lake Crescent, I headed back toward Port Angeles, stopping off at the Elwha River. I had a wander along the wide river bed…

Real Funky River Bed Vibes

Before walking the incredibly short Maddison Falls trail to see the Maddison falls!

I know you’re not supposed to go chasing waterfalls, but I can’t help it!

From Elwha, I headed to Port Angeles and had dinner in “Gastropub”… Not quite what we call a Gastropub at home but the food was tasty enough.

From Gastropub I headed home, had a 20 min dip in the Whirlpool to loosen up the muscles, and then battled with the SD card from my camera which appears to have corrupted itself losing all my photos. (Recovery attempts underway!) These photos are all from my phone… I hope I can recover the ones from the camera. 😬

Haven’t quite decided where to head tomorrow… think I might go and see the rainforest!

Night!