Kalaloch Beach Campground, Olympic National Park, Washington
Woke this morning, after a night of heavy rain (morning temp 44 degrees F) and found that all but one tenter left during the night or early morning. Can’t blame them, it is still raining. Beautiful, green here but there’s fairly heavy rain today.
We left the Hoh Rain Forest and traveled west then south on hwy. 101. Olympic National Park includes some beachfront land on the southwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula and we were told it is beautiful there so headed to Kalaloch Beach Campground. Stopped along the way at Ruby Beach for lunch and then arrived at Kalaloch Beach Campground and took site D32 that overlooks the beach. We have beautiful, unobstructed views of the beach for the princely sum of $7.00/night. Spent the late afternoon dodging raindrops and exploring the campground that is about 2/3 full.
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington
Woke this morning to sunshine! The temp was 47 degrees F this morning. This place is a Biosphere Reserve and one of only twenty UNESCO World Heritage Sites so what ever weather we get that is what makes this Rain Forest so spectacular. Still, on a personal preference note, I am happy to see sunshine. The sunshine will be intermittent most of the day and the drizzle is expected to return in the late afternoon and outright rain tonight. I can deal with that.
Yesterday, the Ranger told us that the Hoh River Trail (18 1/2 miles long) which starts at the visitor center passes a beautiful waterfall at about the 3 mile point so that is where we will hike today. We find we can do a 4 to 6 mile hike fairly well but more than six miles and our joints start telling us, in earnest, that they do not want to go much further so this was plenty enough hiking for us. We do go slow compared to younger hikers but we get there and maybe see more along the way as we have learned “it’s all about the journey” and not the destination. The temp. today got to about 57 degrees F.
When we walked from the campground to the trail head we cut through the visitor center parking lot. Today, instead of a group of Miatas like we saw yesterday in the parking lot, there was a group of Audis parked in a row. Many were leaving so I snapped a quick picture. It is a Washington Audi car club and there are about a dozen members visiting the Hoh Rain Forest.
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington
Today was our first full day in Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National park. Our campsite is backed up the the Hoh River that is flowing faster today than yesterday but far from causing us a problem. You can hear the water rushing by and the a few river rocks tumbling by but the loudest in the morning is the bird sounds. Clearly the birds know it is Spring and they sound like they are discussing it. The temp this morning was 45 degrees F, warmer than it has been most mornings.
After a leisurely breakfast, we walked to the Hoh visitor center. As we came to the parking lot there was a fine array or Masda Miatas in many colors and all from Washington State. We asked around at the visitor center and found that the gathering of Miatas was a car club that was touring the Hoh Rain Forest. They’re all staying at a nearby resort. The Ranger at the visitor center suggested a number of hikes so we were set for today and tomorrow. Today we only hiked about three miles but got a feel for the ecosystem here. Tomorrow we will try a six mile round trip hike that is supposed to take us to a waterfall. The hikes for today were beautiful and easy and we did see some elk along the trails.
Since our campsite backs up to the river and has quite a bit of open sky, we have fairly good solar. There has been a fine drizzle all day but rarely did it actually rain today. Our open campsite must “see” a cell tower or a repeater because we have a good internet connection.
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic NP, Washington
We’re in the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic NP camped at the Hoh Rain Forest Campground. Chose site #19 because it is large, mostly flat and backs up to the Hoh River. Turns out, site #19 is the most popular one in the campground. We are one of three campers here. The cost for us with our Senior NP pass is $6/night. The other two campers are young people with tents and are rather far away from us. The fire pit, picnic table and two forks of the Hoh River are just outside our dinette and “living room” windows. What an inspiring view. Oh, and of course, it is drizzling off and on (mostly on).
Driving up through the rain forest to the campgrounds the woods and trees look even greener than other places we have been in the park, if that is possible.
Went into the town of Forks on the way here for bread and eggs but next door the large sports outfitters store was having a huge sale so we ended up with far more than bread and eggs. The prices were good comparatively and we got items we had put off purchasing in the past as they were quite expensive. Asked the checker in the store when Spring usually arrived in Forks. He said Spring usually doesn’t arrive and that frequently Forks completely misses Summer as well.
On the way into the Rain Forest, we saw lots of different birds and five elk. The elk cooperated by holding still for their pictures and we appreciated that. The ranger told us that the elk usually shed their antlers this time of year and start growing new ones.
We will go to the Visitor Center near here tomorrow for advice and help with planing our hikes.
The temp this morning was 39 degrees F. and got up to the low 50′s F. Gas in the town of Forks was $4.22/gal. regular.
What a beautiful place! We feel so lucky to be here. Olympic National Park, Washington
It might be our imagination but the vegetation seems greener in the Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington
This elk was grazing along the roadside. A female elk was way back in the woods, very hard to see. Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington
In this picture there are three elk in the distance, two are lying down and one is grazing. Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington.
Home for us for a few days, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park
The view from our dinette. Hoh Rain Forest campground, site #19. Olympic National Park, Washington
Another view from our dinette in the Hoh Rain Forest campground, site #19, Olympic National Park, Washington
Boondocking Overnight, Washington
Last night we planned to camp for one more night at Sol Duc campground in the Olympic NP but…we decided to go out of the park to get a good internet connection and to see if we could find a place to boondock. We traveled down the road that serves as an entrance to Olympic NP that takes you to Sol Duc Campground and left the park. Drove a few miles east on hwy. 101 and came to a small, fairly narrow road (apparently rarely used) that leads into a section of the National Forrest. Drove down that road a few miles to look for boondocking spots. Found a few likely spots and drove passed them to see what was further up the road where we came to the National Park boundary. Since we know we can’t boondock in a National Park, turned around and headed back to the boondocking areas we saw in the National Forrest and stopped for the night (coordinates 48 degrees 3.936′ / 124 degrees 00.666′) We expected that a Ranger might knock on the door but no cars came down that road at all last night. We were in a lovely, quiet area and easily connected to the internet. This morning I woke to Jerry already up and trading stocks. We left our boondock area to drive to our next destination.
Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic NP
Now we’re headed to Hoh Rain Forrest in the Olympic National Park, Washington. It’s on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula and appears to go the deepest into the park. Probably won’t have an internet connection there but if we do, will post about it. In the meantime, National Geographic recently posted a beautiful picture of our next destination.
Camping and Hiking in Olympic National Park, Washington
We’re in Sol Duc campground for one more day ($7 dollars with the NP senior pass). Will leave tomorrow some time in the morning. It is beautiful, green and very wet here.
Yesterday we hiked from the Sol Duc campgrounds and headed for Sol Duc Falls. We’d heard the Sol Duc Falls were beautiful. We never made it there. The trail from the camp ground was filled with water in many places but when we were only .3 miles from the falls we encountered water so deep and the pool expansive across the trail. In order to cross we would have had to either wade in ice water about a foot deep or climb on surrounding elevated areas that looked too treacherous. So we turned around and headed back. Even though we had hiked a total of five miles it felt like and unsuccessful hike. So, today we decided to see the Sol Duc Falls and took the easy way. The road passed the campground and further into the park ends at an easy, passable trail to the Falls. While hiking we met a fellow camper on the trail. Jason is a serious hiker and told us to see the Sol Duc Falls but to continue hiking on the “Lovers Trail” and that we would come to another spectacular falls. Oh, he was so right! The second falls were not as huge but it was equally spectacular. So our hike today came to three miles total and really it was an easy “walk in the park”. We met quite a few folks on this hike, both young and older like us. There was a couple from Japan, a family from Virginia, Jason from Michigan and folks from various other places.
When we started the hike. It was pouring rain and there was snow still on the ground so we knew we (mainly me) would be cold if we didn’t dress for the weather on this hike. So I had on my long johns, a couple of sweaters, a down jacket and a rain jacket over everything and I was still cold! The rain stopped as soon as we got a little down the trail and did not start again until we were almost done with our hike so that was helpful. By the time we got inside the Lazy Daze, it was pouring again. It has been raining hard off and on all afternoon. Temp this morning was 41 degrees F. and now the outside temp has jumped right up to 45 degrees F
All the woods look beautiful. This is the road to the Sol Duc campground in Olympic National Park
Fairholme campground to Sol Duc campground
This morning we move from Fairholme campground to Sol Duc campground in the Olympic National Park. There is no way to traverse across the middle of Olympic NP so one has to drive around the periphery using hwy. Along 101 there are multiple entrances that go into the park a few miles (in the case of Sol Duc, 12 miles) to a campground. The center of the Olympic Peninsula (taking up most of the peninsula) is Olympic NP. The center of the park which is very mountainous is all wilderness with no roads going through it. The drive on hwy.101 is beautiful and for much of the east side and half of the north side you are traveling near the ocean. Fairholme campground is pretty close to sea level but Sol Duc campground is somewhat higher at about 500′ and there is still some snow on the ground.
Hmmm, it was drizzling, not a gully washer mind you, just a constant drizzle. Our good friend Derek said that while he lived in northwest Washington he never bothered to buy a raincoat as he never really got wet enough just dashing from house to car to justify the purchase. My brother said this was frequently the weather in London and you can either just stay inside where it is warm and dry or you can go outside and get damp but see what there is to see. If you are going to be out in the drizzle for a sustained amount of time, you will need rain gear.
Today was another happy day in the stock market. We win some and we lose some but the ride is fun, or not. After the stock market closed we went on a hike to Sol Duc Falls. We never made it. After hiking 2.5 miles along the river we camp to a section of the path that was flooded and didn’t feel safe trying to climb around the flooded area. So we turned around and hiked the 2.5 miles back.
Here are some pictures of where we are today.
A path to the Sol Duc river. Olympic National Park, Washington
The Sol Duc River. Olympic National Park, Washington
Fairholme Campground Olympic National Park, Washington
This is our second and last day of camping at Fairholme Campground next to Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park, Washington. Today, we’re the only people camped in this campground. It is simply beautiful here and throughout the park. It drizzled most of the day but late this afternoon the little rain drops turned into big plopping raindrops. A good time to be lazy and enjoy a good book. My good friend, Kay, who lived many years in the Seattle area described the usual weather in northwest Washington as 42 degrees and pewter colored. It appears most days are ever thus. The temp. this morning was 47 degrees and rose to about 55 at its warmest.
Last night we went outside to see the stars. It is very dark here at night but no stars could be seen because it was so overcast.
Because there is no sunshine, we are getting very little solar power so have had to run the generator a few times so we could continue to have light, etc. without running our batteries down too much.
Went for a short hike in the drizzle before lunch. We carry rain wear but it turns out that under the canopy of the trees in the woods only a little of this very light rain seemed to get through to the forest floor and didn’t get us too wet. We did see multiple types of mushrooms growing on the downed trees. Don’t know the names of the types of mushrooms we saw growing on the decaying wood but clearly they are part of the cycle of life.
Elwha campground to Fairholme Campground, Olympic National Park, Washington
Left Elwha Campground this morning and drove West on highway 101. Passed Lake Sutherland, a beautiful, 600′ deep lake with some private homes overlooking the lake and a commercial campground set on some lovely hills. It had a number of large RVs already enjoying the peace and beauty there. The campground was adjacent to a Texaco Gas station that sells gas, diesel and propane. We refilled the Lazy Daze motor home’s propane tank. ($2.89/gal.) Reg gas was about $4.15/gal and diesel was going for $4.47/gal. Glad we don’t need gasoline yet.
Further along 101 was the very large Lake Crescent. Both these lakes were so clear you could see much of the bottom easily and the blue of the water must have been caused by so many minerals being washed down from the mountain. It looked like there had to be some calcium carbonate in the water to make the water such a light, turquoise blue. The surfaces of both lakes were like glass reflecting the surrounding mountains and the few white clouds floating by. Just breathtaking.
Fairholme Campground, next to Lake Crescent has a $5 dump site that only cost $2.50 for Senior NP pass holders. Use of the dump site is not included in the camping fee which we think is fairly unusual. I think this is one of the first times we’ve had to pay to use a dump site. They also have fresh water at the dump site so emptied gray and black tanks and refilled our water tank. We’re very careful with the amount of water we use, taking very fast Navy type showers, etc.
Our campsite at the Fairholme Campground, which is part of the Olympic National Park, is near the water of Lake Crescent and our neighbors are sword ferns and trees covered in moss. Most of the loops of the campground are still closed but the first loop is open. I think the campground host arrives sometime in late May. Not a bad place to be a campground host. There’re two other campers here; a truck camper and a tenter but they are far from us so this feels quite private. The weather is beautiful here in the day time. This morning we woke to a temp of 49 degrees F but it warmed to 69 degrees this afternoon so it was very comfortable. Took a short hike this afternoon staying fairly close to the water. There was a cacophony of birds calling from one tree or bush to another throughout the woods. Wish we knew one bird call from another. This sounds like a birders paradise.
Here, as at the other places we have stayed on the Olympic Peninsula, our Mi Fi (Millenicom with 20 Gigs/month) works perfectly which is interesting since we feel like we are in the middle of the woods. In Port Townsend, when we boondocked at the visitor center, we used the free visitor center wi fi and had an excellent signal inside the motor home.
Olympic National Park — Elwha Campground
Decided to continue our stay in the Elwha Campground. It’s so lovely here and there’s another hike we want to take from this area. The folks responsible for putting out envelopes campers are to fill out and stuff with appropriate payment for their stay are falling down on the job. We will have to check back later so the NP service can get their money. For $6/night with our Senior Park Pass this is a good deal. When we volunteered in Yellowstone many years ago, we learned that boondocking on most National Park land outside of the authorized campgrounds would likely get you an expensive ticket from the Rangers.
Hiking in Olympic National Park
There are a number of hiking paths adjacent to the Elwha Campground. So, today, we took one and off for a hike we went. Just a half hour into the hike we came upon a huge tree and root ball blocking the path. The path was narrow and had a severe drop off on one side. We contemplated turning back (oh, that would have been smart) but opted to risk life and limb and climb over it. While climbing over this we asked ourselves “what on earth are two old people doing trying to climb over this and risk their lives?”. Our adventurous spirit got in the way of good sense is the only thing I can say in our defense. The first downed tree across the path was the worst one of many as we walked along the path. It had become a beautiful day. We woke to a temp this morning of 44 degrees F. but it warmed up during the day to the low 70′s. We wore our new hiking shoes and mostly they were perfect. I found though, new hiking shoes don’t make you look more graceful when you fall into the middle of some downed pine branches. Oh, I didn’t get hurt but I was not going to let Jerry take a picture of me on my butt with both feet in the air. So much for pride, I was just embarrassed and glad there were no witnesses except my husband and he know better than to laugh at me. Though he couldn’t hide his smile while he helped me up. We hiked for a little more than two hours each way and since we were ascending the mountainside for the first two hours plus, that was long enough. It turned out to be a beautiful day to hike but , I admit, we took a nap and Ibuprofen when we got back to the Lazy Daze.