Few people realized that Seattle is probably more than 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean. On her west is the magnificent Olympic Mountain that, on clear days, I can see from my balcony. The snow capped shines brightly in the early morning and the sunset paints the western sky brightly with more colors than you thought possible. But, as a 5-year Seattleite, I never went, until this May day.
Why did I wait so long? And I will definitely go again.
Olympic is not a day-trip and a primarily a hiker’s heaven. I looked for more pampered sleeping and eating accommodations than tents. Lake Crescent is closer to Port Angeles, a small port town, and Hurricane Ridge, the must-go attraction for the Olympic National Park. I reserved Lake Quinault Lodge, planning to tour Tacoma on my way there. The idea is to circle the peninsula clock-wise.
LeMay Car Museum, shaped like a cigar-shaped race car in Tacoma, is a 4-story underground museum with hundreds of cars that are arranged in no discernible order. I was mostly drawn to those old and odd ones: Ford Model-T, elegant and impractical coaches, early battery-power ones, etc. It was a nice stroll for a couple of hours, longer if one would linger and study the exhibitions.
We arrived Lake Quinault in-time for an easy hour-long hike at the rain forest. To me, who grew up in a sub-tropical island, rain forest is the most common thing: canopy trees, trickling streams, dripping mosses, ferns of all shapes and forms, insects and various life-forms. It was good to work up the appetite for the dinner at the lodge, the Roosevelt Dining Room. Its view was better than foods that were quite decent as well. It was peaceful, relaxing, and beautiful.
With a bit early morning lingering at the lake shore, we continued our journey. Ruby Beach’s giant rocks (or small islands) were mesmerizing. I can probably just wandering here for hours watching the waves and birds. Forks is the city for Twilight fans. Lake Crescent is similar to Lake Quinault with probably slightly better facilities. Around mid-afternoon, we arrived the climax of the trip: Hurricane Ridge.
It was a calm and bright day, no namesake gust insight. We sat at the short stone ledge just to admire the Olympic mountain range and the distant glaciers. It was 45°F and snow were still on the ground, but the calm sun kept only a light jacket on us. We took a short hike to see Port Angeles and Victoria from a distance. It is the peak of one of the mountains, 5240 feet in elevation. The view was expansive and breathtaking. Had I had sufficient time, I would have taken up a longer hike to Hurricane Hill.
Yep, Olympic Peninsula, I will be back.