#ERT_2015 Day 10 – Olympic National Park – 08.05.15

After arriving to camp pretty late in the evening (and setting up our tent in impossibly hard ground in the dark) and a long day ahead of us, we got less of an early start that I’d hoped, but we still got on the road in decent time. In the morning some of us explored the beach near our campground (which has many campsites with beach access, but those have to be booked absurdly early and I hadn’t finalized road trip plans when the reservations went live for our date) before heading out to the Hoh Rainforest.

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This is where Eric slept. At least he got his own “room” I suppose, hahaha.

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The Hoh is one of the only places I actually remember from a family trip to Olympic National Park in the fall of 2002, and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. The Hall of Mosses is an awesome short little hike. Pictures don’t do justice to how green it is, and how much MOSS there is! (It’s a lot.)

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Tree-huggers.

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This is a tree, growing on the side of another tree. Nature is so incredibly cool.

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I took a picture of this exact spot when I was 11. It was when I was in the middle of writing my “fantasy novel” and I took a lot of pictures, envisioning unicorns in the forest. It was a little surreal to see all of the spots I remembered, looking exactly as they had 13 years before. That, I think, is the most important things about the national parks- preservation for generations. I can come back to a place after 13 years and it can look completely unchanged. The parks are so special in that way.

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Our noble steeds.

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After that, it was off to Sol Duc Falls. We had to stop rather abruptly to take a picture at a park sign “just in case,” which I’m really glad we did, as we didn’t see another sign for Olympic. I’m starting to learn that there’s no such thing as too many national park sign pictures. 😉 By this point everyone was getting pretty pro at sign pictures, so it wasn’t long before we were on our way to the falls.

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Sol Duc Falls was honestly better than I had hoped/expected. The whole hike was absolutely stunning, and the falls themselves were gorgeous. There was so much exploring to be done around the falls as well. It was worth the side trip/backtracking (which there was unfortunately a lot of this day).

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After a quick lunch, we headed to our last destination in the Olympics, Hurricane Ridge (a combination of destination and scenic drive, my favorite thing)! We took a little bit of an adventurous route on a dirt/gravel road to get there (that was fun for the people in the Buick, bahaha, whoops), and finally we started on the drive. It was GORGEOUS. It was misty and foggy and mountainous and dreamy and looked like something straight out of a movie. The view from the top was incredible.

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Click on these panoramas to view them full screen. They deserve it.

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This was my face the whole time. It was absolutely one of the most stunning places I have ever been.

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After that excitement, it was off on a long and exciting drive to Mount Rainier (total drive time about 4 hours). We caught a couple of great glimpses of the mountain before we got dark, but didn’t snag any great pictures. If you’ve never been there, know this- it’s BIG. It’s really, really big. Hahaha. Waiting for us at our campsite was my dearest Joey, my friend and fellow guide from the spring at Get in the Wild. He lives in Washington, and it was great to see him (and his beater old truck) again!

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There she lurks…

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