Olympic National Park – Part 2

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After several days, we moved on from the Port Angeles area and set up in a campground in the town of Forks. Although only about an hour down the road, it put us close to the next several things we wanted to see in the park that are located along the coast and made the furthest sites more accessible. RV campgrounds became pretty limited in that area, so we ended up staying in town even though that wouldn’t have been our first choice. Here we would be exposed to Twilight tourist traps, which we wanted to avoid at all costs! In the end, this campground ended up being just fine. We could walk across the street to the grocery store, and we were perfectly located to begin exploring this part of the park. Luckily, we got the best spot in the house, near a tree with a great shady grassy area, with a flowerbed nearby. If we had been in any other spot we wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much. We have also been incredibly lucky with the weather. It was pretty much sunny the entire time except for when we went to especially foggy parts of the peninsula.

While here, we traveled out to the Quinalt Rain Forest. Here there are great views of Lake Quinalt and the Quinalt Lodge. We walked the Maple Glade Trail and also did a short hike out to Irely Lake, but due to the North Shore campground being closed we think some campers relocated here instead of letting their plans be thwarted. Good for them for still getting out there, but this meant they were all jam packed in on the lake shore right on the end of the trail. So, we quickly took a couple pictures and got out of there.
Maple Glade Trail

Irely Lake

One evening we had dinner at the Kalaloch Lodge restaurant. There are great views of the beach from here. Although we got a spot with a view as walk-ins, if you go, make sure to make reservations so you can get a seat directly at the windows. The food was great, and even better they’re pretty environmentally conscious as they do things such as: they make sure to get locally sourced ingredients, provide their wine bottles to a local for use in the construction of his home, send cooking and table scraps to a local farm, and so on. I think that’s pretty cool.

Getting dinner here then allowed us to head directly to the beach in the evening in time for low tide. My mind was blown by seeing tidal pools. This was my first experience and I was simply amazed. I had really been looking forward to this park, in large part because of these. I was pretty giddy with excitement and had such a great time exploring them. Beach 3 is really where you should start. There are lots of rocky outcroppings to explore, tidal pools, sea anemone, sea cucumbers, and starfish clinging to rocks, and the best part is that this beach seems to get only a fraction of the visitors that Beach 4 does. We had it all to ourselves for the couple hours we played around here.

We went to Beach 4 next, where the sea life was even more spectacular, in shear numbers, especially of starfish. Just. plain. amazing. Wow.

The evening ended at Ruby beach where we watched the colors change and dusk settle in.

With the tides being low in the evening, we took it relatively easy during the days (rest days and half rest days) and hit the beach in the evenings. We went over to La Push where we explored Second Beach, and then watched the sunset at Rialto Beach in Mora.
Second Beach

It had to be done:

Rialto Beach

Finally, we also went into the Hoh Rain Forest. This is one of the only coniferous rain forests in the world. It gets about 200 inches of rainfall annually. Here are some pictures of the Hall of Mosses trail.

The next two pictures show how “Nurselogs” play a role in this environment. I thought these were really neat. When larger trees fall, they provide assistance for new life. Seedlings can absorb nutrients from these decaying trees. Once their roots then finally reach the ground, they can appear to be on stilts after the rest of the fallen tree decays.

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