On our last full day in Washington, Chris and I opted to go to Olympic National Park. We headed northwest from Gig Harbor toward the Olympic Peninsula. Highway 101 circumnavigates the area, and the park is only accessible from there and a handful of small roads that go a little way into the park. Most of the park is actually wilderness area, and is only accessible on foot.
We linked up with the highway and passed through Sequim and Port Angeles before stopping at the park’s Visitor Center, where we got maps and info. We wanted to see the coastlines, old growth forests, rainforests, and mountains, but we only had time for a little driving and a day hike, so we made our way up to Hurricane Ridge.
It was really foggy as we drove up and started our hike, so we couldn’t see much of the views. We drove past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and parked in a little lot where we set out. The first part of the trail was paved, and we saw lots of friendly deer and lots of people. When we reached the top it was much quieter, and we hiked along the ridge, where we saw quail, marmots, and some chipmunks. The views were still foggy, so after having a little lunch we hiked back down the ridge a little ways and took the Elwha trail.
We hiked through the wildflower meadows with a bunch of deer and even a few bucks, and then the fog broke and we could see for miles. Oh my gosh! It was absolutely breathtaking. We could have spent days up there, and hopefully one day we will. Eventually we forced ourselves to start heading back to the car, taking a lot of photos along the way. We made a pit stop in the Visitor Center for a few snacks and saw a t-shirt with what has now become a Clapp motto – “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” – John Muir
We drove back to Port Angeles and then headed west until we reached Lake Crescent. We were there just in time to enjoy the sunset. Once it started getting dark, we started making our way back to Gig Harbor to get packed up and ready to fly back to Virginia.