Friday, October 2, 2009

Olympic National Park Sept. 4-7, 2009

Another Labor Day weekend spent up in the Seattle, WA area with Amy and the family. We flew there on Friday night and drove to Silverdale, WA for the first night. The next morning we met Amy (since she took a ferry over) where the 3 & 104 meet. We drove to Port Angeles for Breakfast and then it was time for the National Park tour. The main Visitor Center is located just outside of Port Angeles on the road up to Hurricane Ridge. We stopped in for some information and then took the road up to the ridge. I made Amy stop so many times because the scenery was just gorgeous, to which Amy replied, this is how Washington always is. Those of us from dry, hot Fresno were impressed. It was pretty cold, windy and cloudy at the top so we didn’t get to see any of the glaciers or Olympic Peak (we never did see the mountain). We headed to the next destination, Crescent Lake and Marymere Falls (See hike description below). We went to the Crescent Lake lodge after, it made me feel like I was in the 50’s or on the set of Dirty Dancing. We had dinner there on the patio looking out over the lake, it was beautiful. Then we went along the winding Highway 101 by Crescent Lakes. We took the road up to Sol Duc Hot Spring and Sol Duc Falls (See hike description below). After the hike we went to check out the Hot Springs and Resort. It was a very nice facility. Then we drove to our hotel in Forks, yes, it is the Forks from Twilight.
By happy coincidence my dad booked us a hotel there without even knowing the significance. The guy who checked us in was a great resource. He knew all the great trails in the area and recommended some restaurants. He had to be around 70 and was telling us that he wanted to hike the Seven Lakes Basin one more time before he wasn’t able to. Now that is something to aspire to, backpacking at 70. After we checked in, us girls went to the local market to pick up dessert since Brandon had been promised some goodies. We decided to pick up some breakfast and snacks as well. However we discovered that the hotel room had no dishes or silverware so we ran to the local gas station and got plastic cups and spoons.
The next day we let mom and Brandon sleep in and Amy, dad and I went to hike the Hoh Rainforest River Trail (See hike description below). It was raining constantly while we were in the rainforest, which was appropriate. We met up with Mom and Brandon in time to catch the Ranger talk and walk through The Hall of Mosses (See hike description below). Then we headed back to the hotel to get dry, take showers, take a nap, etc. We did stop in one of the Dazzled by Twilight stores just to check it out but I got out of there as quickly as I could. We headed over to La Push to get some dinner. I do have to say, the one Twilight thing I liked was, when entering La Push, there is a sign that says, “No Vampires Allowed Past this Point” “├čTreaty Line├á” And I also like being able to bring to life some of the scenery from the book. We ate at the Three Rivers Restaurant which was recommended by the hotel guy, and was a great little place over the ocean with a great view of the nearby islands. We left the restaurant at sunset and the clouds had lifted enough to give a nice color. Inspired by this my dad decided to have us hike down to Second Beach to catch the sunset. But by the time we parked and started to hike we missed the main part of the sunset, and the trail was really strange because it wound away from the beach. We ended up turning back and walking to a little observation platform to see what remained of the sunset. Then we headed back to the hotel and played some Phase 10 before bedtime.
Monday the hikers once again took off early and we hiked the third climate of Olympic NP, the beach. The hotel guy had highly recommended Rialto Beach to Hole-in-the-Rock (See hiking description below). We made it back to the hotel in time to shower, change and throw our stuff into the cars. We drove to Kingston to catch the ferry to Edmonds and then drove into Seattle. The main purpose of going into Seattle was because Brandon had specifically requested we eat at the Pink Door. However, they do not serve dinner until 5pm so we perused Pikes Place Market until that time came. I had this aflredo mushroom dish, Brandon had his much anticipated Seafood Bisque, Amy got their famed lasagna, Mom got their clam linguini, and dad got one of their specials. It was delicious as usual. As soon as we left there, it was time to drive say our farewells to Amy. At the airport we ran into Rich Wathen and his family who were traveling back on the same flight. Unfortunately, they checked in after us and were told that the flight had been over booked and Rich would have to stay behind for the next flight.
It was a wonderful weekend of hiking, friends, family, beautiful scenery and another NP to check off my list. I am really looking forward to returning next Labor Day weekend for a long backpacking trip to be able to explore some more of the park.

Marymere Falls
1 mile roundtrip
Starting from Crescent Lake the trail gently goes up to Marymere Falls. This was our first taste of the mossy beauty of the Olympic Rainforest. Amy, dad and I took the high loop that takes you up 400 feet to just level with the output of the falls. The falls was not very big but it had its own beauty. There was a tree jutting out from the top of the falls and many more trees at the base that had been washed down and were creating a natural dam for the water. At the bottom viewing area there was a tangle of roots from all the trees, covered in moss and dirt, just beautiful.

Sol Duc Falls
1.6 miles roundtrip
Starting from just past the Sol Duc Hot Springs resorts and campgrounds you take a path that is pretty level to the falls. It winds through the forest of tall spruce, cedar and pine trees that are common to Olympic NP and Northwest Washington. The clouds were getting lower with the evening drawing near and it made a very eerie look, but as most thing in this region, a beautiful look as well. We walked over a small creek and past a shelter house (we had many theories about what the shelter house was for). The trail we were on is also the trail to go to Seven Lake Basin and into the whole of the Olympic Park. We are planning to come back and do this trail, starting at Sol Duc Falls and coming out at the Hoh river trail. We came to the falls, which are three tall off shoots that go down into a ravine. The green of the foliage, black of the rocks and white of the water was a stunning contrast. Amy and I had fun taking pictures there. Then we hurried back because the cloud cover was making it pretty dark.

Hoh River Trial
4 miles roundtrip
This trail starts at the visitor center and winds its way along the Hoh River. The river was this massive fast flowing body of water that was gray with silt. Later on a ranger told us you did not want to get your water from the river, better to get it from a stream. The entire time we were hiking it was raining, but like Amy said, It would almost be wrong if it wasn’t raining in a rainforest. The scenery on the hike was amazing, moss over everything, giant mushrooms, green everywhere and giant trees covering the sky. We came across several backpacking groups leaving the rainforest and most were just miserable with the rain, but one group was enthusiastic just to be hiking in the rainforest. We hiked a short while with a musician who was up for a few performances and we got to talk with him awhile. A lot of the trail reminded us of the movie “Romancing the Stone” because it looks like where they got stuck in the land slide. Our plan was to hike in for an hour and then hike back out for that amount of time in order to meet up with mom and Brandon. It worked out perfect.

The Hall of Mosses
0.75 mile loop
This trail started from the visitor and took off from part of the Hoh River Trail. It took us up on a little hill where we could really see the full growth of the rainforest. It was raining even harder during this hike than on the River Trail and I was the only person with an umbrella. The Ranger was really great on our walk/talk, giving us all kinds of little tidbits about the rainforest. Things such as, when a tree dies the new trees grow over it drawing the nutrients from it. And this creates an interesting effect that I can’t describe, the best is to show you the picture. Then she told us some funny things like, there is a disease the trees get called “Cubical Butt Rot” which we thought was awesome and used as a phrase when we hiked Rialto Beach. Then we got to The Hall of Mosses, which is a stunning area of trees and moss all over the place, hanging in all shades of green, yellow and brown.
Rialto Beach to Hole-in-the-Rock
3 miles roundtrip
This trail is all the way at the end of the road in La Push on the north side of the rivers. We got there at low tide so that we could walk through the Hole-in-the-Rock. The beach was full of drift wood, but this isn’t your typical drift wood, it was whole trees upon more whole trees. The sand was a beautiful black coarse rocky shore and the fog hadn’t lifted when we started the hike, making the scenery (once again) stunning. About half way we came to a small river that we had to cross. Amy and I didn’t want to take off our shoes and we saw some drift wood making a helter-skelter bridge. We attempted to get across and it proved incredibly difficult as the wood was all slimy. It took us a significant amount of time to cross and some very dirty pants (here entered the Cubical Butt Rot). Let’s just say that on the way back we took off our shoes. All along the way we saw groups of backpackers on the beach, just waking up. However, after this short hike I told my dad that hiking the beach was not an option for next year, it was more tiring than any of the other hikes of the weekend. We reached Hole-in-the-Rock, which was beautiful, with a nice tidal pool at its base with all kinds of colorful creatures in there. We skedaddled back after that because we were running short on time. Not ignoring the wonderful scenery that was starting to show up out of the fog. We had hoped to attempt the Second Beach trail as well but ran out of time.


amy said...

Gosh Sheri, you should write for some trail guide book or something...seriously. Or write a book of hikes or something. You're so thourough! :)

Anyways, thanks for allowing me to relive this wwoooooonderful weekend! I had so much fun. Can't wait till next year! :) Love you!

Jill said...

THESE PICTURES ARE STUNNING!! And I agree with Amy: you should write a trail book. :)

Miss and Lava you much!!