As I sit here and try to write about my time at Olympic National Park, I again find myself almost at a loss for words. I often find myself with this feeling when I leave a National Park. Each one is so unique that I yearn to be able to experience them all the time, all at once. Olympic was different though. The feeling of discovery that I had while exploring. The surprise around every corner. It was almost too much to handle. The words of my grandparents telling me not to make the same face for too long as it would become permanent rung in my ears. But who would complain about having a permanent smile?
I started out my trip to Olympic planning on driving up to the peak and staying a night or two, but not doing much else. On a map, the park looked huge, but my cursory search online lead me mostly to blogs about climbing the peak. It seemed as if this was the main attraction. So I set off from Centralia with my end goal being the superchargers in Sequim. I had done this drive the previous year when I visited Port Townsend, and I knew that I would have to stop of at Hamma Hamma Oyster Farm on the way. I had missed it the last time so this was a must. After some chowda and raw oysters, I was off again, arriving at the supercharger late enough to get a room at the hotel and excited to hit the mountain the next morning.
After a morning workout at a local park, that was swamped (in a good way) with locals playing tennis, I did some editing at a coffee shop and then hit the mountain. I couldn’t stop thinking about how cool this community was. So quaint and welcoming. Everyone had a smile and wanted to say hello. I loved how there was really only one highway surrounding the park, the rest of the roads being more rural that led into the forests. It seemed like a perfect harmony between the people and nature, each taking up its own space and each appreciating the other. All the while, the views just got better and better. Next thing I knew, I was at the visitor center near the top and on a hike. I literally felt like I was on top of the world as the vistas reached out in front of me. I quickly lost track of time sitting up there for what felt like minutes but was actually hours. Eventually it was time to come down, and my plan was to leave the peninsula, but fate had decided that I wasn’t done with the park yet.
As I reached Sequim again, I was feeling high on life, and not ready to leave so I decided to take a look at Plug Share to see if I could find a way to extend my trip. Luckily for me, there was a destination charger at a B&B in Forks that was open to the public. I set off and enjoyed seeing the scenery change as I traveled to the west side. Everything seemed to become filled with more life. The tree’s had more green. Moss started to cover the entire world. It was so different from just forty miles away. As the sun set, I was excited to see what the next day would bring. As I settled in, I started reading more about the peninsula. Apparently, because of the location and height of the mountain, most of the moisture was held on the west side of the park. it would build up and create rains that would almost never breach onto the east side, causing half of the land to be a temperate rain forest. I was immediately in love and even more excited for the following day.
The next morning, I woke up ready to take on the day. I had read about a beach that was supposedly a must see right down the street from me. To my surprise, a herd of elk appeared right as I pulled off. I always love seeing these majestic animals, especially when there were so many in one place. As I watched them frolic about in the morning fog, I could help but feel eternally at peace. There was something about the entire atmosphere that had taken over me. I pulled off from the herd and soon was pulling up to the shore at Rialto beach. Driftwood covered every inch of the immediate area and in combination with the fog, led to an ambience unlike any other. I spent hours walking up and down the beach. The air smelled so fresh. The beating rhythm of the waves was hypnotizing. I was in love.
I finally continued on my way, knowing that it would take the rest of the day to drive down the rest of the highway if I wanted to make any stops. A couple of short hikes through the mossy pines later, I was down at a supercharger, wishing that I could stay forever. My heart already yearned to come back, and I committed to myself that I would be returning to this wonderland soon.
Southern Supercharger on the peninsula Aberdeen WA
416 E Wishkah St, Aberdeen, WA 98520
Northern Supercharger on the peninsula Sequim WA
1421-1441 E Washington St, Sequim, WA 98382
Olympic National Park
3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362