Thursday, April 17, 2014

O for Olympic national park

Fog leading the way
Olympic national park is one of the many US national parks(around 59 are listed in wiki). This is located in the Northwest pacific region and is part of Washington state. The speciality of this national park is it encompasses three different types of ecosystems namely glacial mountains,  temperate rain-forests and pacific coastline. One can taste this diversity in a day's exploration and that is the USP of this place.  Just before the onset of peak winter last year, we decided to enjoy a short weekend trip to Olympic National park. So over the Thanksgiving weekend we drove up north to get a glimpse of the rain-forests and the mountains. We left Portland early that morning after a quick breakfast. With S in a mood for adventure for I took the wheel for the first time on such a long drive of over 220 miles. We arrived in Port Angeles in time for lunch and then drove to the visitor centre on our way to Hurricane ridge.The rangers there gave us details of what to expect on the summit, S decided to drive to the peak.Even as we drove towards the ridge, fog began closing in. Halfway through the drive was a vista point from where on a clear day one could see as far as Canada and also the volcanic peaks of Cascade mountains but that day it seemed like the clouds had planned a get together and we saw them fill up the valley.
Cloud get-together
A couple of photos later we were on our way to the top. As we got higher up in the mountains, the fog seemed to clear up. Snow had reached the ridge before us and we could see a generous sprinkle of it all around the ridge and the air was cold. So again it was a small walk around the ridge for most trails were out of bounds and the meadows of wild flowers that color the slopes during summer had chosen snow gowns for a wintry look. 

On our way to the ridge
The visitor centre at Hurricane ridge 

Hurricane ridge
Snow sprinkled trails
Around the ridge

Driving down from the ridge
The drive down the mountain was breathtaking, but with early sunset on the hands, we decided not to stop till we returned to Port Angeles. After a mountain walk, it was time to stroll by the sea. The city was decked up in festive lights and we even saw a motor-cycle parade of sorts. By nightfall we had to reach the lodge we had booked by Lake Crescent and that drive tested my nerves since it was narrow, curvy route and fog decided to up the level of difficult driving. After a tense drive, we reached the lodge and there we got to savor a special thanksgiving dinner.

Festive parade
Waking up to see that crescent lake is just a few steps from our room. The fog in the night had hidden it from us. We walked around the lake after our breakfast enjoying the slight drizzle that had decided to keep us company that day. A walk of under a mile from the lodge led us to Marymere falls. The walk in rain was a zen-like experience since the only sounds we heard was that of the waterfall cascading along the rocks, the raindrops on the leaves and our footsteps as we trudged along. Since it was raining, we only had our phone to capture the beauty of the waterfalls.

Lake Crescent
Marymere falls
We walked back to the lodge and then headed back to Portland but not before a detour to Hoh rain-forests on our way home. The drizzle in the morning had turned into steady rain as we drove into the visitor centre nestled in the Hoh rain forest. Donning rain jackets we enjoyed two trails of around a mile each. One was named "hall of mosses" and the other Spruce nature trail. Huge trees covered with brown and green mosses and the rain lent the trail a eerie touch. We felt like we were walking through the enchanted forest. Soon it was time to drive home after a magical weekend. The drive back home in the downpour was another unforgettable experience. Our next visit to Olympic national park might see us check out the La-Push beach (remember Twilight) and the Quileute river. Hopefully we wont run into vampires or werewolves.
Hoh rain forest

Moss Trail, Hoh Rain-forest

This post is shared with April A-Z blogging challenge for alphabet O
Click on the photos to see enlarged images.


  1. Thanks for the nice narration. And, thanks for sharing these beautiful photos.

  2. Beautiful pictures and interesting narration. ♥

  3. Nice photos that made my tour more enjoyable along with your well written article. AtoZer

    1. Happy to have you join us on the tour Michelle :) Will drop by to take a tour of your fantasy world soon.

  4. Beautiful pictures and equally beautiful descriptions. I feel like seeing all these natural treasures.
    You had such a good time there.

    1. Thank you Rama :) Pacific northwest has a lot of scenic places.

  5. Your descriptions are very picturesque :-)


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