Olympic National Park is one of the most amazing places in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it features spectacular coastline, scenic lakes, majestic mountains and glaciers, and magnificent temperate rainforest.
Originally I booked 2nghts in Port Angeles to visit the surrounding area, I soon decided it was the best place to base myself and added another 2nghts. Among the sights I visited were Marymere Falls which is reached on a trail from Lake Crescent.
Hoh Rainforest, with it’s huge moss covered trees has a number of delightful short walks.
Hurricane Ridge where I managed to avoid driving off the road whilst capturing a picture of a black-tailed deer that was wandering down by the side of the road as I drove up and proceeded to scamper off into the forest. The weather was stunning for the days I spent around Olympic National Park, unfortunately it was early July and the trails around Hurricane Ridge (5,242ft above sea) were still closed due to snow (it wasn’t this American Robin that kept me off the trails!)
Ruby Beach is another highlight of the area, from the clear blue skies and bright sun inland, you arrive in another world at the coast. Moody and misty scenes take centre stage here, the beach is covered with a tremendous amount of driftwood, has many sea stack just of shore adding to the atmosphere and scenery. Ruby Beach is so called, because of the ruby like crystals that get washed to the beach from the fresh water leaching onto the beach. These crystals are the by product of the glacier activity that used to happen in this area.
Wandering the rock pools of Ruby Beach there are many collections of Ohcre Sea Stars. In need of some sustenance I had back up the road to Forks, home of all things Twilight, for an awesome ice cream – a delish mixture of lemon meringue pie and chocolate – well tasty!
2nd Beach at La Push continues the moody, misty feel, the contrast between inland weather and coastal weather is really amazing over such short distances. One of many quality local brews is enjoyed, it’s only been a few weeks but I’ve already rejected bog-standard lagers which I used to drink at home for interesting and tasty beers that are brewed locally in the Pacific North West, mmmmmmmmmmm 🙂
Sol Duc Falls is yet another stunning place within Olympic National Park.
Another rainbow spotted but no pot of gold found 🙁 although the amazing scenery makes that irrelevant!
From the bright sun of Sol Duc Falls it’s a short distance to the misty isolation of Callam Bay Spit, I stop a few miles further along the coast at Shipwreck Point towards Neah Bay and the weather is once again sunny with beautiful blue skies!
On reaching Neah Bay I stop at a restaurant for some very good fish & chips, but the real highlight of the meal is the view across the bay of 3 bald eagles who spend over an hour fishing and playing in the skies, a truly amazing sight.
Neah Bay is a census-designated place (CDP) on the Makah Indian reservation in Clallam County. The most northwestern point of the contiguous US is Cape Flattery on the Olympic Peninsula, which is also part of the Makah reservation and a permit needs to be purchased (the local store in Neah Bay sells them) to visit Cape Flattery. The walk from the carpark through the forest to the coast is a very atmospheric one, you are followed by the sound of local Indian wind chimes, this inspired me to start recording sounds from around the world, needless to say it didn’t last but the intention was there to create a Google Maps style site with various recorded sounds pinpointed to points on the map that I’ve visited.