Friday, 14 September 2012

Olympic National Park, Washington

Three nights and two days and every day and night something different. We started at the Heart o Hills campground right up in the Olympic mountains where the cold night and morning took us by surprise! We had on all bits of clothing we could find- a hard way to re- acclimatize to camping!

The National campgrounds seem great- only $12 a night and you get your basic needs- toilet ( no showers) , water ( only cold) and campfire wood. So with three nights camping, we are all really looking forward to a shower ( you'll notice I have a hat on in any pictures of me !) the campsites have all been in really amazing settings. Pretty incredible for $ 12! Oh- there was a $15 entrance fee to the park which is good for 7 days. We are hoping camping in the states is this affordable everywhere.

Interesting signs at the Park!
After the first night ( note Liam's blog in that subject! ) we drove further up the mountain that took us right to the alpine! Eric was quite proud of our little Westy for driving up a side of a mountain.

 Just beautiful up there but we are a bit spoiled with what we have already seen on our trip. The very friendly Park Ranger in the visitor centre ( the ones with the Smokey the Bear hats) asked the boys if they wanted to see a glacier ( the boys just stared back with puffy eyes and a dull look on there faces). I piped up "sure!" and he says just a second while I get the telescope. (!!!) The boys and I just looked at each other (me with a smirk) and boys looked a bit a uncertain if they were suppose to be excited about this. Liam whispers to me " we've WALKED on a glacier! "

We hiked the Hurricane Ridge trail (roughly 5 km)  and got amazing vistas of the Olympic mountains and saw the Olympic Marmot ( survived the ice age so this is their only habitat). It really was pretty and special to be walking the tops of a mountain and the blue glacier the ranger showed us was still cool to see - glaciers are melting everywhere- precious no matter how small and distant.


Olympic Marmot 

San Juan de Fuca Straight in the distance

Hurricane  Ridge Trail
Black Tailed Doe with Fawn

Our second night was completely different- camped at Hoh Rain Forest. Same mountain range but on the Pacific side- the huge trees drapped with moss and lush green ferns carpeting the forest floor- pure organic! We saw a herd of Roosevelt Elk on the drive into the park and on the hike the next day we saw a Bulk elk resting in the forest! I guess the Hoh Rain Forest has the largest existing herd of Roosevelt Elk in North America. We walked the trails early the next morning when the air was still fresh ( ie cold!) and the morning light was filtering through the forest- the camera was busy! The forest inspired the boys for Jurassic themed play along the walk.  There was this idyllic clear stream on one of the trails and it had Coho fry (salmon) in it. The boys were absorbed! They just looked like little fish to me, but the boys watched for quite some time.  I'm learning that things that move, things that can be climbed on or things they can touch excite Sean and Liam the most.

steam coming off the log in the early morning sun

Sitka Spruce Colonnade  -
grows in straight line because they started on a Nurse Log

Fallen Giants

Jurassic inspired atmosphere
watching the Coho Fry

Amazing formations ...
and sizes

Trail of the Mosses


Roosevelt Bull Elk

So, our next stop- the coastal portion of the park was perfect for them- wide open, wild beach with outcrops to climb on, beached logs to clammer on, and things to collect (crab shells, drift wood, smoothed stones). The Pacific Ocean! Woohoo!


Happy Travellers!

Today is a driving day, following hwy 101 south into Oregon. Hopefully a motel tonight to shower, wash clothes and re connect via internet.

Sorry for such a long hindsight I should have broken into parts.. please e-mail me though and let me know if it takes too long to load  with this many pictures.

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