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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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 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
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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