Recently I travelled to Olympic National Park in Washington State. I’ve never explored Washington beyond working at a conference in Seattle years ago.
It is a beautiful spot in the world for sure.
We flew into Seattle and rented a vehicle to reach our destination. The drive to the park included a ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and then across several large bridges.
Arriving at the NatureBridge campus I was amazed at the lush greenery and the peaceful vibe. Located on the shore of Crescent Lake, the historic property showcases many charming cottages and a dining hall that takes you back to bygone times. I heard rumors that this location was a favorite of President Roosevelt!
Lake Crescent is unbelievably clear, with a teal blue color that reminded me of the Caribbean. I actually looked forward to waking up early to enjoy tranquil mornings on the dock!
Our guide provided many opportunities to explore the area.
We canoed across the lake to hike The Spruce Railroad trail that was repurposed from an old train track. Wood from these forests was used in World War 1 for creating airplanes…to make it easier to get the lumber to the plane manufacturer, a rustic train track was constructed.
One of the most thrilling parts of the trail was through a tunnel. Abandoned rail road ties littered the ground and made for challenging navigation. I have some claustrophobic tendencies, so I was somewhat
terrified reluctant to go through the gaping chasm that ended in the center of the earth tunnel. Emerging on the other side was a relief! It was a growth opportunity for me for sure!
One day we climbed Storm King. This mountain overlooks Crescent Lake and provides a good burn for the quads as you ascend. The views at the top were worth the effort, even on a misty day!
This region is also known for the Twilight movie(s).
Evidently Second Beach was the setting for some of the well known scenes (full disclosure: I have never read the Twilight series or seen the movies). We hiked along a beautiful trail that opened up onto the beach. Interesting rock formations and the marine layer rolling in and out like the tides…well, I could definitely picture vampires, werewolves and whatnot cavorting here!
In addition to these “imaginary” creatures–we saw a number of other wildlife. The ubiquitous banana slugs…a barred owl…a snake…ducks…crawfish…a deer…And the flowers were spectacular.
What an amazing experience.
If you haven’t had the chance to explore Olympic National Park, I definitely recommend adding it to your list!