I drove away from the North Cascades feeling more at peace than I had in a while. It was such a surreal feeling, seeing as while I am traveling it is hard to find me not in a tranquil atmosphere. It was time for me to get off the road for a few weeks and get caught up with my editing, but there was still one thing pulling at my soul; a need to get over to the Olympic Peninsula.
Last fall I had discovered this wonderland and ever since, I had been dreaming of my return. I was torn though as I had already written about the area, and felt like I would only be revisiting things that I loved opposed to discovering new treasures.
Nonetheless, I felt the pull of smoked oysters and foggy beaches and knew that I would never forgive myself if I was this close and did not visit for at least a day. Just my luck, while looking at supercharger.info that evening, I saw that a V3 station had opened up in Forks on the northwest side of the peninsula. This became the perfect excuse to visit what is sure to be one of my favorite places in America.
I started out in the southeast corner near Olympia, blasting Rancid’s “Olympia, WA” for the rest of the world to hear as I hopped on the 101. The plan was to take highway fully around the peninsula. A year ago, this was a stressful trip, needing level two charging near forks, but with the new Supercharger, I was sure it would be a breeze. The first destination was the Hama Hama Oyster farm.
Being an oyster fan, and eating them wherever they are on the menu, I have always been familiar with, and enjoyed this brand. I still remember the feeling that overcame me when I drove by the farm for the first time, finally discovering where these delicious mollusks were grown.
Upon arrival, I discovered they were a bit more shut down than usual due to Covid, but I was still able to fill my cooler with enough smoked goodies to last the trip. Knowing that I would be eating well for days instantly lifted my heart and I headed for the obligatory stop at Hurricane Ridge outside of Port Angeles.
The smog covered peaks lent a remarkably peculiar atmosphere to the park. Forest fires had been raging in the Pacific NorthWest for weeks and it seemed as if all the smoke was culminating over this specific area. The peaks were lost in the haze and even though I knew they towered in front of me, I could hardly see that they were there. It was a very apt feeling for the current times, knowing that something massive was right there but I wasn’t able to see it.
After a short hike, and a few hours contemplating the sanity of the world, I decided to continue down the coast. My favorite part about the peninsula is the diversity of its landscape and these ridges were only a small part of what I was planning on seeing during the day.
You see, Mount Olympus is a massive peak that literally is the Olympic Peninsula. It juts up into the sky separating its wets east and west sides, and trapping the moisture from ocean storms on the west. This causes one side to be mild mountain wilderness al a Washington or Colorado and the other to be a temperate rainforest like nowhere else in the world. At the base of the mountain lie beaches that exist only in dreams, the west covered in fog and the east beaming in sun.
I pulled off onto a dirt road and at the end found a rocky beach with a glass like surface. The wind was all but absent and a few waterfowl sat in the middle of the bay. I often think about the sentience of animals when I encounter them in the wild.
What is going on in their head? Do they have the ability to form thoughts more complex than “eat”? How aware of their surroundings are they?
I often sit and watch and try to come up with a narrative in my head, a story that would be their own. Sometimes, on days like this, I will sit for hours and click away observing them, trying to transport myself inside of their head. My thoughts are most likely furthur from reality than the truth, but I still find pleasure in the process.
One area I wanted to make sure I had time to explore this trip was the Hoh Rainforest on the west side of the park. I had heard magical tales of moss covered oaks and towering firs and yearned to get lost in them.
Located a little south of the new Forks superchargers, I was able to fill up in preparation which is more critical than I would have originally thought. The forest is situated down a long road into the center of the peninsula, right up against the base of the mountain. Gradually, the scenery took on a completely different ambience and before I knew it, I was lost in my fantasy.
One could quite possibly spend days getting lost in this forest. The trail from the Hoh Visitor Center will lead you all the way (over 20 mi) up to the peak of Mount Olympus. As exciting as that adventure sounded, I was no where near prepared and took reprieve in the shorter trails.
This part of the park was more than I ever could have imagined, more than I could have ever hoped for. I felt as if I had entered the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. Robust greens covered every inch of the view. Every once in a while a bit of bark would peak through the moss, or a leaf kissed by fall would compliment a branch, but the vast majority of the world was overtaken by green. Overtaken by the life that the clouds halted in their stance provided in rains over the area.
Pushing myself further down the road less traveled, I tried to get as far away from other people as was sensible. I came upon a mountain stream, fresh water from recently melted peaks flowing through it. this seemed like a perfect place to have my lunch as I pulled out my pack of smoked goodies and shared the area with whatever bird or squirrel wanted to come and join me. I felt completely at peace and it seemed to me that this was the only way one should feel while in this wonderland.
I ended my day by pulling off onto a foggy beach. The entire world was wrapped in this blanket and visibility was close to none. I though about how amazing this place was and couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the diversity. If only the entire world could feel this feeling, maybe they would be more thankful for what we all share.
As I walked along the beach, a woman getting wedding photos taken gradually appeared in the distance. The fog lent a scene that was a photographers dream as he moved her around, trying to get the perfect shot. I sat and watched as their dance carried on. The tide would get higher, he would move her out of the way, her dress would get wet. She was stressed. He tried to remain calm. In the end though, each of them will have memories that will last a lifetime, even if the marriage doesn’t last, I’m sure they will remember this day lost in the magic of Olympus.
Closest Supercharger Forks WA
100 Fern Hill Rd, Forks, WA 98331
Olympic National Park