Olympic Park Greats: 10-7

DSC01323My family just returned from a fun-filled trip to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. It was mystical. I’ve decided to share my Top 10 Favorites with you (but in several posts, so this won’t be a novel).

You won’t find these reasons in a travel log, but it would be cool if you did. Therefore, I am making my own JoyintheMoments travel log. Now on to the Olympic countdown!

10. Fairy Tale Settings

DSC01325The forests in the Olympic Peninsula are dark, thick, and beautifully eerie. It is easy to imagine you are in one of those fairy tale haunted forests, or that vampires or werewolves (from the Twilight books) are stalking you. I loved the Twilight books (and if you hate me for that, that’s your prerogative). I have grown up enough to like what I want without worrying about if anyone else likes it or not.

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Forks is a cute town in the middle of the dark eerie Washington forest, and this town is making the most of the Twilight hype. Don’t you love that sign? Vampires 8.5.

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And Bella’s old truck, and the sign heading into the Quileute reservations.

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But they also cater to men. When the lady in the tourist office saw my husband’s disgusted look, she handed him a “Guy’s List” that said:

“Here are MANLY things to do in the Forks area that aren’t Twilight related. (Disclaimer—Girls have fun doing these things too.”

And then it had non-vampire related things on the list like: fishing, hiking, logging, jumping into ice cold lakes, playing chicken with a logging trucks (Just kidding) and other manly man things.

2011 10 24_0516eAs we hiked through the forests in the Olympic Park, I couldn’t help thinking of the deer as vampire bait.

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Isn’t the scenery so picturesque! I love how the thick, dense forest keeps the sunlight out (when there is sunlight, which we were lucky to experience). Now on to the next Favorite…

9. Fabulous Food

DSC01222We were spoiled on this trip by my cool brother who works at Lake Crescent Lodge. We tried such things as Hazelnut duck, Cedar plank salmon, rabbit ragu, bacon wrapped filet mignon (my hungry son liked that one), squid, chicken fried steak (yum), and a bison burger. (To make up for that, we had half a Winco muffin in the mornings that we brought with us in the cooler—those were good too)

We probably ate too good. With all the driving, I snacked on licorice, French Onion Sun Chips (oh my! These were addicting), and blueberries and blackberries (to make me feel healthy despite all the other non-healthy food I ate). Now before you get hungry…let’s get onto the next favorite.

8. Rainy Rainforests

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It rained in the rainforest. Surprise. I guess the Hoh Rainforest gets about 127 inches of rain a year, so chances are that it will rain when you visit. Two autumns ago when I went here, it was sunny and hot, and I felt it ruined my rainforest experience. I can get sunny and hot in Boise. But this time, we got the whole experience—rain and all. It was pouring when we first got here, but then let off into a light sprinkle.

We had 2 umbrellas to share, but were otherwise unprepared with rain jackets. Oh well. We left 90 degrees in Boise and about froze in the Olympic peninsula. But should you do the same, I assure you that you will still love it and have a good time. I did.

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7. Mighty Mountains

Okay, forget how I said I wanted to twirl in my yard in an earlier post. I found the perfect twirling spot up at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park last week.

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Aren’t these mountains gorgeous…with the steep hills heading downward and over an almost sheer cliff full of 200 foot trees? Sigh. This viewpoint took my breath away. It was the perfect twirling spot (only there was a sign that said No Twirling. Actually it just said to keep off the grass because human feet would kill it; the deer feet didn’t seem to kill it. I was jealous of them)

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This park is crazy big. You have to drive a long ways to get to all the different places (because of how steep the mountains are, nothing is connected. You might have to drive a couple hours to get to the rainforest, and a few hours another direction to get to another part of the park). Make sure you fill up with gas whenever you have the chance so you don’t end up stranded and attacked by habituated goats.

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These are not habituated goats. They are my family (part of them, at least). But we saw signs warning us to be careful about habituated goats on the trails up near Hurricane Ridge. Don’t you love that name—Habituated Goats? Here’s a picture of a habituated goat (but I didn’t take it, darn!). I guess these guys can be a big problem if you pee along the trail. I’m dead serious.

I guess pee-loving habituated goats is as good a place to stop as any. Stay tuned later next week when I will tell you about a near-death experience with a grouse/bear.

Char Signature

37 thoughts on “Olympic Park Greats: 10-7

  1. Hurricane Ridge is where I take new visitors to the area, because it is a lot of bang for the buck–so beautiful and only seventeen miles out of Port Angeles. But they are right about the goats. I think it was the year before last that we heard a wonderful blue grass band play for the opening of the Forest Storytelling Festival in Port Angeles. The second night of the festival came the sad announcement that one of the musicians had been killed that day, gored by an aggressive mountain goat on the very trail that we always hiked.

    • It is a lot of bang for your buck. I didn’t go there last time, but was so glad I got to see it this time (although there was still a lot of snow covering a lot of the trails up there). My brother had told me about the goats, so I was glad we didn’t run into any when we did a little trail part way down the mountain. So you’re from Port Angeles? I loved that town. It is so picturesque.

  2. Gorgeous pictures! I need to learn about these goats! I love goats. Can’t wait to read about your next portion of the trip!

    • They’re so cute in the pictures, but I guess they aren’t native to the area and the Park wants to get rid of them because they’ve become aggressive. I felt like I was in the European alps on that ridge. Soooo beautiful!

  3. Great photos, Char, and lovely descriptions. I think I would be quite happy in a place like Forks (as long as the vampires were friendly). Those mountains would make anyone want to twirl and sing ‘the hills are alive with the sound of …’

  4. Soooooooo coooooool!!! A fellow photo blogger posted photos of the rainforest at Olympic Park a few days ago and I told her I really, really wanted to go there after seeing her pictures. And now I see yours and I absolutely want to go there! I really have to take the boys there one day. It looks amazing place.

    • It’s really cool. I was sad it was raining pretty hard, so we didn’t do the other two hikes that day (plus it was our last day and all the kids were kind of tired and grumpy about hiking). But the scenery is stunning, especially the Maple grove with all the weird shaped ancient maples covered in long moss. So neat.

  5. Soooo jealous that you guys got to go there!! Wish we could have joined you! I love all the pics!! Looks breathtaking and I agree that it looks like you are in the Alps…awesome!!

    • That ridge was surprisingly stunning (breathtaking even). Definitely worth the steep drive up the mountain. Hope you get to go there some day, Heidi.

    • It was fun going back through all the pictures I just downloaded. Makes me want to go back instead of having to catch up laundry and get groceries that we’re low on now.

  6. I have yet to visit the northwest…..high on my must see list. My daughter and I would so get into Fork and all the Vampire stuff. Thanks for sharing this….I’ve printed the post and it’s going in my 3 ring binder of travel info/destinations. I’m sure you did plenty of twirling and just don’t want to admit it….lol.

    • I imagined twirling very much. But then this old hotdog looking RV pulled into the parking lot and we laughed pretty hard. It even had Furrbies inside when we walked past–totally retro. I hope you get to the Northwest. It’s so unique and different from anywhere else I’ve gone.

  7. Wow this place looks simply amazing! Loved the pictures! And if you don’t mind me asking, could you please visit my blog and read what I posted – text in English? I created it yesterday and it would really help me move forward with it.
    http://wp.me/p3DYR2-t

  8. Beautiful photos! Anything could happen in places like that – especially when those places are filled with eerie rainforests, vampires, and habituated goats. I’m glad you were able to get away and have fun with the family!

  9. I love the Olympic Peninsula—that’s where my husband and I honeymooned, and it was so beautiful! That was well before the vampire craze, and people were more likely to compare it to Middle Earth. 😉

    Did you see those humongous yellow slugs?

    • The banana slugs? Yeah. They’re pretty gross. Makes me happy they aren’t in my garden. Yikes! The Olympic Peninsula would be a perfect place to honeymoon! Good for you guys.

  10. Wonderful place! i love that picture of the mighty mountains! It reminds me of Maria twirling as she sings “The Hills are alive….” 😉

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