From Seattle, we hopped on a giant ferry with our van house and made our way to the next destination:
Olympic National Forest
The ferry between Edmonds and Kingston was a crazy experience. A cold, windy, crazy experience that Eli and I both loved. From the front of the boat we got incredible views of the sunset and Mt. Rainier before we were ushered back into the van for disembarking. We drove through tiny towns and forests until we finally settled down for the night in Sequim (pronounced “Squim”) which sat on the outskirts of the National Forest.
We spent most of the days working from the comfort of a Walmart parking lot but the evenings we did our best to get into the forest and do some exploring. Destination No.1 was Lake Crescent. We drove along the outer edges and stopped a grand total of seventy times to take pictures. At one point, we even befriended a duck who followed us around for a while. We discovered a few fun little places, such as a camping/kayaking area at the end of the lake, and a few scenic turnout areas before we continued deeper into the forest. Yet another detour lead us to the Sol Duc River, which was gushing it’s way through the park. Again, we stopped for some pictures, going the full nine yards to bust out tripods, climb into restricted areas, and get a little scraped up for a good shot.
The photography aspect of the trip has been so enjoyable. We are slowly becoming more proficient with our photography skills as we work our way through new cities and natural wonders. Of course, it helps that we are photographing things that are already naturally gorgeous, but we are quickly getting to watch our skills evolve into something more than just an “amateur hobby”. Eli was already fabulously talented before the trip but getting to watch him experiment with new techniques and light up with pride in what he captures is a privilege in itself. As for myself, I knew nothing about cameras or photography besides “point and shoot” so I have really learned a lot about composition, technical aspects, and editing pictures.
Unfortunately, that day ended with a little disappointment. Our last destination of the day was Sol Duc Hot Springs which, I assumed, was going to be a natural hot spring. I was wrong. It was a resort with pool that were filled with filtered water that was being pumped from the underground spring. It was filled with children and their exasperated parents and looked about as appealing as Disneyland in summer. There was a naturally occurring trickle of water that was dribbling around the parking lot but it was a little difficult to be around considering it smelled strongly of sulphur. Needless to say, we vetoed that idea and made our way back through the forest to another Walmart parking lot for sleep.
Day two consisted of us going to Hurricane Ridge after work. If you are to see one thing during a trip to Olympic National Forest, it should be this…probably. I don’t actually know, we only went to a few places in the area but this was definitely the coolest. We spent thirty minutes cheering the van house on as it putted up the mountain towards the visitor center. We made a few stops along the way to take in the views that were quickly becoming more and more breathtaking. The temperature dropped as we made our ascent so snow piles began to appear on the sides of the road along with small creeks where the snow was melting and making it’s way down to the river below. Once we reached the top, we were blown away. A huge valley stood before us, carved out millions of years ago by glaciers that have long since gone. Snow covered mountains loomed in the distance, one after another, making an enormous blue gradient before our eyes as they faded into the sky. It was like something out of a Tolkien movie and I feel like my description is so far from explaining just how amazing the sight actually was. It was definitely one of the most beautiful things that we have seen so far on the trip.
Along the trip, we have gladly been collecting suggestions for new places to visit that weren’t originally on our list. We had been given quite a few destinations in Olympic National Forest to visit during our week in the area but were unable to make some of them happen due to their distance from us as well as the weather as we finally encountered some of that famous Washington rain. We instead had to settle on taking some days to ourselves to relax and enjoy the sound of raindrops on our metal roof. So, even though we didn’t get the opportunity to see everything that we had intended to, everything is fine and our list for Road Trip Round 2 is ever increasing.