OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK TRIP


By Jeff Rastrelli

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The drive from Mt Rainier to Olympic National Park was pretty nice. It was kind of neat driving along the Puget Sound. It reminded me of the river road along the Missippi River that we used to drive on when I was little. Unforunately when I got up on the north side of the peninsula the rain started. I had some car problems, ate, and then hit the road again. I was planning on going up to Hurricane Ridge but I was running late and since it was cloudy, I decided not too.

I started to look for a place to camp. The campground by Sol Duc was closed and i was told that I probably wouldn't be able to find a camping spot on the coast. He said my best bet would be Crescent Lake. I'm so glad he told me this. I was in for a treat. I ended up getting a camping spot right on the lake. The sun was starting to get low in the sky so I walked out on a dock. The sun started to peak through the clouds and light up the hillsides

Crescent Lake

Then I started to look up and I saw a rainbow starting to form. The hillsides started to get brighter and then the rainbow ended up going from the trees on one side of the lake and then completely over to the other side of the lake. It was amazing.

Whole Rainbow Scene

Fortunately another family was able to see this with me. We couldn't believe our eyes. Then the clouds started to change colors. it just kept getting better and better

Rainbow

What a night. It was nice to go to sleep thinking about what I had just seen.

I got up in the morning to turquoise water. This picture doesn't do it justice.

Turquoise

This is the most amazing lake I have ever seen and I would even get another view. I headed over to Storm King visitor center. I had planned on doing the Marymere Falls trail. I start on the trail and all of the sudden three deer walk by to eat some leaves. I continued on the trail which is a mile long one way and goes through an old growth rainforest. It's a nice easy hike and the trees along the way are some great scenery. Marymere falls is a neat waterfall. It drops down and hits the rock about halfway down and then spreads apart

Marymere Falls

After the waterfall I started to head back.

I see a sign that says Storm King Trail. I had read somewhere that this trail had some good views of Crescent Lake so I started to head up. I didn't know how long this trail was or where exactly it went but I kept going and going. It was all switchbacks. After probably a mile and a half of switchbacks, I got to a sign that said "Dangerous and steep cliffs, continue at your own risk" This sign just made me get excited so I moved on. There was one point where there was a rope and I had to rock climb using the rope. Then I got to the top of a peak. Wow, what a view. I could see the crescent shape of the lake and it was a bright blue color.

Crescent Lake

I ate some food and just soaked in the view for a while. Then I saw that there was still a higher peak so I started to climb up towards it. This really was rock climbing and there was a 500 ft drop if I would have fallen. It was pretty scary. I got probably about 40 ft from the top and decided to head back down before I killed myself. I had fun doing the climbing but there was too much exposure and I needed some other people with me. I ended up making it back down to storm king and I only fell once and it was on dirt so it wasn't a big deal. This was a good hike but I don't think I'd recommend it. The view was awesome but the switchbacks were not fun at all. once I got to the rock climbing it got better but there are better trails.

Then I headed to the Sol Duc Falls area. This is another mile one way hike through old growth rainforest to a waterfall. This waterfall is three falls in one

Sol Duc Falls

You can also walk around the back of the waterfall and get several different views. Some backpacks and longer hikes start here but I decided that the rock climb earlier that day was hard enough on me, I'd stick with the easy stuff. While heading back I came across a little stream that I had overlooked on the way there. It was a little mossy cascade and it was so peaceful.

Mossy Cascade

This was a great little hike and it isn't too hard. i don't remember much elevation gain at all. I'd recommend this trail over the marymere falls trail. There is a wider variety of things along the trail and other trails branch off from the end of this one.

After sol duc I headed towards the west side of the park and to the most well known rainforest area HOH. Driving to this area, you can see the devastation of logging. There are sections where they have completely logged all of these large mossy trees. It was sad. Makes me want to recycle everything. Then you get into the national park and you're just completely under the canopy. It was like I was in another world. I got to the visitor center and decided to do the hall of mosses trail. This trail is the most popular in the park and is handicap accessible I believe. It is less than a mile long and is well worth it. Everything is completely covered in moss and there are trees growing out of fallen trees and even trees roots. It's very wierd but fascinating. I'd highly recommend this hike for everyone.

Hall of Mosses Nurse Log Funky

After talking to a man at the visitor center, I headed for the coast. He had said that Beach 4 in Kalaloch was a great place to go at low tide. I had been to tide pools in Southern California but nothing like this. There were anenomes, mussels, and starfish everywere. I couldn't believe how many starfish there were. I had never seen a starfish alive in the wild. They were all different colors and sizes. Definitely make a visit to a good beach at low tide if you've never been, it is worth it. I would think it would be really neat for kids too.

Starfish

I then decided to go to another beach with some seastacks in order to watch the sunset. I was hoping for something like the night before but unfortunately the clouds moved in and there wasn't a sunset. The beach was really nice and I got to take a nice walk and just rest on the beach listening to the waves come in. I wish I could be there now!

Rocky Beach

Then I headed towards Lake Quinalt to find a campsite. I had read of a place on the north side that was free but I guess that place closed down so there are no campsites on the north side of the lake. Luckily I was able to find a campsite on the south side although it was across a stream and the bridge was out. When I went over the stream with my tent it was light out, I put up my tent and by the time I got done it was dark out! I could barely see anything. I still had to get my clothes and sleeping back. I made it across just getting a toe or two wet and some people heard me. They talked to me a little bit and then when I went to go over again, they let me borrow a flashlight. This helped a lot to get the stuff over. Ok, I'm going on and on, enough about this. I left the park the next morning and headed down the coast towards Astoria and Cannon Beach, OR.

Olympic National Park is an amazing place. It is by far the most diverse national park that I've been too. There is a little bit of everything. Mountains with glaciers and wildflowers, Rainforests that get 12-14 FEET(Yes, feet) of rain per year and have 300 ft tall trees, lakes formed by glaciers, and then beaches with rocks, starfish, anenomes, trees, etc. This park is a must see and I think the time i went was perfect. The weather couldn't have been much better. Definitely go here in the summer. The winter would be extremely rainy!!


Crescent Lake Rainbow? Crescent Lake Whole Rainbow Thing Rainbow Weird Cloud Turquoise

Crescent Lake
This was my first view of Crescent Lake as the sun was setting. I didn't think it could get any better than this.
Rainbow?
At this point just this part of a rainbow satisfied me but it got even better.
Crescent Lake
Even more colorful!!
Whole Rainbow Thing
This rainbow was absolutely beautiful and it was huge. Unfortunately it took 4 pictures to get this scene and I didn't take much time to put them together so that is why it lookes kind of wierd. It was one of the most extraordinary scenes I have ever been a part of. Breathtaking.
Rainbow
Just keeps getting better. First the lake, then the colorful mountainsides, then the rainbow, and now the clouds are starting to change. Thank you God!!
Weird Cloud
This Cloud drew my attention. it looked three dimensional and reminded me of that start of a little tornado.
Turquoise
What a color! The water was crystal clear and as turquoise as can be. This was the view from my campsite. I had a lakeside spot. I think I read that the color is that color because algae doesn't grow on the bottom due to the lack of some chemical. Can't remember exactly


Crescent Lake Crescent Lake Mountains Deer Marymere Falls Marymere Close Up Trail View

Crescent Lake
This was the first view of Crescent lake that opened up on the storm king trail. I didn't think the lake would be that blue color after seeing the turquoise that morning.
Crescent Lake
This is the view of Crescent Lake from the top of Storm King. Talk about a tough climb. Nothing like switchbacks and then mountain climbing up cliffs. All by myself.
Mountains
This was a view of the mountain (hills) on the way up to Storm King.
Deer
This was one of three deer that walked by me to get something to eat. it pays to get up and out early!
Marymere Falls
This was an easy to reach waterfall. From Storm King visitor Station it is about a mile hike one way through an old growth forest. It's a nice little hike with a good reward at the end.
Marymere Close
A closer view of part of the falls.
Trail View
This is a view of the falls from the trail. The trail goes along a cliff but there is a fence there.


Sol Duc Falls Sol Duc Another View Mossy Cascade Mossy Cascade Funky Nurse Log

Sol Duc Falls
This is Sol Duc Falls. The actual waterfalls are probably about 35 ft tall. The water is moving really fast and goes through a nice gorge. This picture is taken from a bridge over the gorge.
Sol Duc
This is a view of one of the waterfalls and the gorge that the water goes through.
Another View
This is a view from back behind the waterfalls. You can walk around them and get several different views. For this reason, I enjoyed this hike more than marymere falls.
Mossy Cascade
Wow, what a peaceful place. This stream just trickled down these mossy steps and I had to get a picture. What a wonderful place.
Mossy Cascade
I couldn't just take one picture of that scene.
Funky
This trees roots had other trees growing out of the roots. With as much rain as they get, I think a tree can grown just about anywhere.
Nurse Log
This was an old tree that had fallen and then now all kinds of trees have started to grow out of the stump. very wierd! but neat. One of the nurse logs had trees that were probably about 6 ft in diameter growing out of the stump.


Hall of Mosses Redwoods?? Open Anenomes Closed Anenomes Starfish Starfish Rocky Beach

Hall of Mosses
This is why the trail is called Hall of Mosses. Everything had about 2 ft of moss hanging from it. It was beautiful.
Redwoods??
This totally reminded me of redwoods. These are douglas firs and they averaged over 250 ft tall. SOOO Tall.
Open Anenomes
When the anenomes are under the water they let ther tentacles open up and I think look better than when they are closed.
Closed Anenomes
This is what happens when the anenomes get out of the water. The bring in their tentacles. And if you touch their tentacles they will bring them in even more.
Starfish
I had never seen starfish that were actually alive so this was a pretty neat experience for me. There is also an anenome in the bottom of the picture.
Starfish
More starfish. They were all different colors, shapes, and sizes. The one on the right looks like a person with arms and legs. Unfortunately I didn't hear it say anything.
Rocky Beach
This was another beach with some offshore rocks. It was a nice little beach and there weren't too many people. Had a peaceful walk along the beach.


Rocky Beach

Rocky Beach
This was a place where I sat down and rested for a while. The thing reflecting is a seastack. It had a window in it if you were looking at it 90 degrees from this position.


Comments

Incredible
I'm an amateur photographer and I am floored by your photos. Please tell me exactly which camera you used. Thank you.
Kharis, March 8, 2004

I lived in WA for 27 years and now reside in TX. We literally grew up in the Olymipcs and seeing them and all their beauty really lifted my spitis! Thank you for posting such beautiful and breath taking pictures for the homesick in TX to enjoy!
Brandy R
Brandy Reidt, February 20, 2004

Your photos are great! Now I'd like to see your comments and photos about Mt. Rainier where I spent time as a backcountry ranger.
Daniel, September 19, 2003

Great views!

Another beautiful set of photographs, thanks for sharing them, you are very talented and very nice of you to share them with me.
Estrella Rode Martindale, November 6, 2002

VERY NICE - THANKS FOR SHARING
EILEEN, November 5, 2002

THE PICTURES ARE BEAUTIFUL, I CAN NOT EXPRESS THE JOY WHEN I SEE THE NATURAL PHOTOS. WELL DONE.
THANKS FOR THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS.
JINI, November 1, 2002

These are awesome! I know that's a word that's greatly overused, but in this case it really applies. And I appreciate your giving credit to the divine artist - yes, thank you God!
stephanie saniga, October 31, 2002

These are great shots! Thanks for taking the time to post them here on this site for all of us to enjoy.
George, October 31, 2002

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