I've previously mentioned being ashamed that I hadn't yet visited Olympic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site mere hours from my home. The land is protected because of the wide variety of ecosystems - including rainforests, glacial peaks and old growth forests - as well as the longest undeveloped wilderness coastline in the contiguous United States. I finally picked a weekend and decided to just go, though I didn't really have huge expectations, to be honest. I've grown up in a city surrounded by mountains and water; after awhile, appreciation wanes. Besides, this kind of trip is way outside my comfort zone, a tried and true city girl who finds herself misplaced when romping through nature. Add to that the overwhelming international inundation of fans from a book series I'm not terribly fond of, and I honestly wasn't sure how well this weekend was going to pan out. But as it turns out, this may be my new favourite part of my home state.
In a mere three days of wandering, we visited ocean sea stacks in La Push, historic Victorian houses in Port Townsend and Scandanavian bakeries in Poulsbo, WWII bunkers at Fort Worden, lighthouses at Point Wilson, a turn-of-the-century general store in Port Gamble, mystical forests dripping in moss everywhere you look, long spits of land in Port Angeles extending far out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, deep green glacier waters of Lake Crescent, distant Canadian shores across the water, and snow covered peaks at Hurricane Ridge. We watched silently as marmots watched us on steep mountain slopes and deer grazed precariously on mountain crags and lazily through our front yard. We experienced stunning blue skies, swirling misty fog, and brilliant orange sunsets. Even my admittedly pedantic self found herself without words many times.
The best part? We've found the perfect cabin for a city girl. It included a pool, a hot tub, internet access, a surround sound entertainment system, a full kitchen and a huge stone fireplace, all nestled peacefully in a valley with its own pond and the giant snow-capped peaks of the Olympics overhead. This is how I go camping!
I'm now seriously considering making this an annual trip. Anyone traveling out to Seattle needs to make this journey across the sound. It's is completely worth it. If anyone is interested in our itinerary or a link to our highly recommended rental cabin, leave me a comment; I'm happy to share!