After Alaska, we zoomed 45 or so hours back to Bellingham, Washington, where my friends Beth and Lauren live. They are amazing and took care of our fur baby, Luca, while we were adventuring and hanging out with bears. Luca had a great time while he was there; he still hasn’t stopped talking about it.
After some good catching up and tacos, we headed down to Olympic National Park. We were joined by my mom for this park, as she just recently retired and is traveling all over! Bellingham is north of the park, so we took the ferry to Port Townsend (I felt JUST like I was in Grey’s Anatomy and thought I would run into McDreamy) and then drove into Port Angeles, which is where one of the Visitor Centers is located.
While Mike rode his bike up to Hurricane Ridge, the most accessible mountain in the park, Mom and I went and explored Tongue Point and hiked to Sol Duc Falls since the road to Hurricane Ridge was closed to any more vehicles at the time (we were there during Park busy times; 10am-3pm).
Tongue Point is technically not in the park; it’s in Salt Creek County Park just north of the park. It was recommended by one of the Park Rangers; it is his favorite place to explore tide pools! I am so glad we listened to him; as it was not crowded at all and it was so fun to explore! It makes you feel like a little kid again; shouting to your mom to “come look!” and poking slimy creatures. There were so many exciting things; seaweed and rocks and shells and mussels and anemones and coral and crabs and fish and birds! The area is covered and covered by mussels. It feels weird walking on them, but there is no way around it. It didn’t seem to hurt or break any of them, but I still felt bad.
After Tongue Point, we drove west and checked out a popular area of the park; Sol Duc Falls. It was a fun and easy hike down to the falls. It’s through a rainforest area and I continued to channel my inner child and played on all the big fallen logs.
After that, Mom continued down the road a little while I went back to pick up Mike on top of Hurricane Ridge. It was late afternoon so most visitors were out of the park and probably hitting up a happy hour so I was able to drive up. The three of us camped out in Forks that evening. Sound familiar? That’s because Bella, Edward, and Jacob are all from this town! The town has really leaned into being famous for Twilight; there are tours and shops dedicated to it, as well as plenty of punny signs throughout town.
The next morning, we all headed to the far west side of the park and walked along Rialto Beach so I could see the sea stars! We just barely made it; the tide was coming up but we managed to see a bunch of the gorgeous orange and purple sea stars. Did you know that sea stars are predatory and eat mussels?? I also got to show Mike the anemones that look like tighten and close up when you touch them! I saw them all along the tide pools the day before and giggled a lot because they look like buttholes. We also saw a dead baby shark on the beach, that made me both sad and start singing the annoying baby shark song.
We drove to the Hoh Rain Forest next and hiked the Spruce Nature Trail and the Hall of Mosses; both highlight the variety of rainforest flora of trees, mosses, and ferns. It is so incredibly lush and green. After these short hikes, we headed down to Kalaloch Beach area to round out visit to Olympic. Boo, Mom’s dog, and Luca both became BARK Rangers too! What is a BARK Ranger? It’s for good boys and good girls that follow these rules; Bag their poop, Always wear a leash, Respect wildlife, and Know where they can go.
- Definitely look up the times for low tide! They have them listed on the boards throughout the park to make it easy for you. If you go at low tide, you’ll get to see ALL the sea stars! My understanding is that Rialto Beach is one of the best spots for them.
- This is a great place to remind everyone to LEAVE NO TRACE! So many people try and collect shells or rocks or cool beach items. Don’t do it! If everyone did that, the beach would be empty and sad and many species rely on all those items. Don’t be a jerky jerk.