Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is located at the north-western edge of United States. It is so big and diverse that they decided to divide it into three separate areas. We decided to split our stay between two campsites because the distances are too big to drive all around the penisula all the time.
Kalaloch is located by the ocean. There are spectacular views of wide, empty beaches with giant logs washed to the shore, polished and bleached by saltwater. At lower tide the sea uncovers tidal pools full of amazinfg, alien-like life – green anemones, folding inside build strange-looking colonies (mum, look, martian boobs!), sea stars bigger than my hand – orange or bishop-purple, crabs, snails, thousands of clams. There is so much humidity in the air that it makes all views like from a fairytale – misty mornings and evenings keep me outside the tent despite cold weather.
Looking for shower and laundry we arrived at Forks, the city known from “Twilight” saga – the one about vampiures gleaming in the sun. Neither the town nor the La Push beach or Quilet Reservation look like in the movie because as the Internet says, the movie was shot elsewhere. There was however a gift shop – the Americans are masters of themed gadgets 😀 Instead of awful the Edward-looking doll we bought “polish kielbasa” in nearby grocery store and Szymon was so happy – he was missing home food so much.
We trekked the woods and beaches and finally left our campsite early in the morning to catch another one, operating on a first-come, first-served basis. Our new place was at the Lake Crescent. Moving 60 miles east meant temperatures warmer by at least 10 degrees and even Tytus (who usually enjoys cold) appreciated the change. The lake was crystal clear, the trees covered in moss, there were fern forests and in nearby Sol Duc – hot springs. Taking a bath felt great after 11 kilometers trek. From our new base we explored eastern side of the park and after getting new shoes my knee works better. We also reached Hurricane Ridge – a truly alpine landscape, meadows full of flowers and a panorama of glaciers. We did not spot any bears but there were plenty of deer and we managed to take a plunge into the snow too.
Olympic is the most diverse National Park in the US and probably at the top of my personal best-of list of mosty beautiful parks. Or maybe not – each park is different and you just cannot compare them. Nevertheless it is time to go back to civilization and return our car. We go to Seattle!