Published: May 26th 2012May 25th 2012
Majestic Olympic Mountains
from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic NP
Thurs, 24 May
It rained overnight and most of the morning. We had just about decided to stay at our campground in Hoquiam another night when the sun came out. We quickly broke camp and got back on Hwy 101, which pretty much loops the Olympic Peninsula, circling the Olympic National Park.
Our first stop was the ranger station at Kalaloch, on the west coast of Washington, but the ranger was out to lunch, so we drove to the picnic/day use area instead. There we walked down to the beautiful beach and took a few pictures. We drove next to Ruby Beach, just a few miles north. Another spectacular beach with postcard scenery. We then turned inland and found the road to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center in Olympic National Park. The road runs along the Hoh River, which is fed by snow and glacial melt. The rain forest is other-worldly, with moss-hung trees and ferns. Most of the buildings in the area have moss-covered roofs, including an old phone booth near the visitor center. On the way back to the highway we saw a patch of snow along the road. We had been through some rain on
Beach at Kalaloch
Washington's Pacific Coast. Olympic NP
the way in, but there must have been a snow burst, too. We drove past the gorgeous Lake Crescent before turning off on a secondary (maybe tertiary) road to shorten the drive to our campground at Salt Creek. It turned out to be an adventure road, narrow and winding, but quite pretty and with no traffic. How about that, Charlie picked an adventure road! The campground is a county park right on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We could see Vancouver Island across the strait and the city of Victoria. Thanks, Laurie, for telling us about today’s wonderful places.
Fri, 25 May
We woke early to a beautiful morning, sunny skies and cool, but pleasant. We broke camp and drove to the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles. We decided to leave the campers (and Bob’s truck) in the parking lot and drive up in the van to Hurricane Ridge, elevation something over 5,000’. What a fantastic drive up, with panoramic views of the water below in one direction and the snowy Olympic Mountains above and in the other. It’s a 17 mile drive that takes, on average 45 minutes. That’s a combination slow speed
limit and lots of pull-overs for oohing and ahhing. Up at Hurricane Ridge there is another visitor center and wonderful views of the Olympic Mountains with all the snow and glaciers you could want. We weren’t sure which mountain was Mount Olympus, but what does it really matter. There was plenty of snow at the visitor center, too, some drifts way higher than the car.
After descending and picking up the campers, we hit the road again. We crossed the bridge at The Narrows into Tacoma and got onto I-5. We had just merged into traffic when we got another flat tire on the camper. We managed to get out of traffic and a state trooper stopped to help. We were on our way again in a fairly short time, now in search of a Walmart or someplace to get another spare tire. At Puyallup (I don’t know how to pronounce it) Kerry went into Walmart while I checked out the camping book for a campground nearby. It’s Memorial Day weekend and there is not an abundance of campgrounds in the area we were going, but I managed to find us a couple of spots in S. Prairie. We
found a tire store in Bonney Lake with our tire and they got it changed out pretty quickly. Then on to South Prairie, where it started to pour rain again, cold hard rain with a little hail mixed in. The rain didn’t last too long, though, and after supper we were able to get a glimpse of Mount Ranier, our destination for tomorrow.
There are more photos below