ONP = Olympic National Park.
It would have been on my list of Places to Go if I weren't there for one day with Mr and Mrs Herbert (should be Mr and Mrs Chen?) in 2007 summer. This time, I put two days there with my wife and two friends Steven and Catherine. Two ladies and two guys.
We left Bellevue at 6:40am on 8/28 morning. We got onboard the 7:50am ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. Ferry was half an hour and after that it took us another two hours to get to the ONP visitor center near Port Angeles, including a short stop at Sequim for breakfast and coffee. We first visited Hurricane Ridge, where we had a hour somehow-casual hiking, which doesn't have a lot gain of elevation and hence is easier than Mountain Si.
We left Hurricane Ridge for Lake Crescent at about lunch time. Two ladies fell in sleep at back seat and Steven was driving. So the two guys decided to take some risk. We didn't follow what GPS told us to do. About 1 mile after passing the ranger station on Hurricane Ridge Rd, we took a left turn onto Lake Dawn Rd, which is marked as unpaved road on the map. Very soon we were regretful: that unpaved road was really really rough. At a moment we both believed our Toyota Corolla was about to fall apart.
We arrived Lake Crescent at about 2pm. It was a beautiful peaceful lake. We had lunch at Lake Crescent Lodge and rolled boats on the lake. We spent more than three hours there, so we canceled the visit to Sol Duc Valley, which was the third place to go on the first day on our original travel plan.
We returned to Port Townsend at about 7pm. We stayed in the Olympic Hostel. We pick the hostel not for budget but just enjoying the youth hostel feel. In our trips in California and east coast in 2008, we also stayed in youth hostels in Monterey, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, DC and Baltimore.
On the second day morning, we left for the coast line at about 7 something. We arrived at Rialto Beach at about 10am. It was a breath-taking view at Rialto Beach!
The First Beach, Second Beach and Third Beach right next to Rialto Beach also offer stunning view. It was not a short hike from parking lot to the Second Beach. In half way we were talking about whether shall we continue. But when we got to the beach, at the first sight we all felt that everything is paid back.
Olympic was so big that we drove more than 13-14 hours in two days. Three of us can drive and we took turn. For people like me, driving is not a debt. Last year, I alone drove from Seattle to Portland, OR and came back in one day. It was 6 hours driving on that day, all by myself. Driving in Olympic National Park is even more rewarding. During the two days trip this time, we found three outstanding scenic roads worth strong recommendation: 1. US 101 on Lake Crescent. Right off the shoulder it was the lake. 2. Mora Road leading to the Rialto Beach. 3. Upper Hoh Road from US 101 to Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center. I felt lucky that it was my turn to drive when we left Mora and Rialto Beach for Hoh Rain Forest. The 18 miles Upper Hoh Road from US 101 to Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center was super fun: curve after another and very few cars. Any one who enjoys driving must not miss that road.
Trees in Hoh Rain Forest were not like anywhere else.
Kalaloch Beach was the third and the last place of our second day. We arrived there at about 4pm and we didn't spend too much time there. It was good, though in my eyes the Second Beach was the best among all the beaches that we saw on the second day.
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