Day 272 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways
We spent the year anniversary of my journey in Olympic National Park. After a year, I’ve obviously learned quite a bit about nature, geology, history, and geography; but I’ve also learned a few things about myself, Petey, and Scout (when she was with us) that I didn’t know. I’ve met a variety of kind individuals and feel very rewarded for them to have shared part of their life with me. My journey has been interesting, fun, and at times both lonely and challenging.
Amazingly, after a year of traveling to the lower forty-eight states, I still feel like there is so much more to see in this nation and that I will need to revisit many places at more length. Olympic National Park is a good example. I simply sampled a few short trails in different areas of the park.
My first sample began at Hurricane Ridge, so named because winter storms can whip up 100-mile-per-hour winds in the area. Thankfully, it is just the beginning of Fall: overcast with a high in the mid-sixties. After stopping at few a lookouts on the 17 mile drive that snaked through the park to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, I took one of many trails that began in the area.
The short paved path led me to a meadow of wildflowers, to cloudy views of the mountains and water, and across a patch of snow before I spotted a few deer. I’ve seen deer practically daily as of late, though I’ve failed to mention them. I hope a year outdoors hasn’t caused me to take them for granted too much.
From Hurricane Ridge we reversed our path back out of the park to Highway 101 where we turned west toward Elwha River Valley, another entry way into the enormous park. The main road was closed just past the first two campgrounds as crews are removing a dam from the area, thus virtually the only area to visit was Madison Falls. Due to my affinity for waterfalls, this was fine with me. I strolled down a short, quarter mile trail to a moss covered rock, tucked beneath a canopy of trees, with water sliding down its face into a pool of water. A very tranquil place!
After a short visit at Madison Falls, I maneuvered VANilla along the shores of Lake Crescent, ten miles long and 600 feet deep and one of the largest bodies of water in Olympic National Park. From the lake, a 1.8 mile trail leads through dense forest with fern undergrowth to Marymere Falls. A bridge crosses the river and the trail climbs steeply to the 90 foot falls.
Sol Duc Falls
I continued making the day about waterfalls, when I turned into another entrance to Olympic National Park and followed a paved road 12 miles to a variety of trailheads. A 1.6 mile trail which followed the river through dense vegetation led to Sol Duc Falls. These were just lovely. The river splits into three sections at the tops of the falls as it flows over rock outcroppings into a moss covered canyon below.
As my day of visiting waterfalls came to an end, I found a campsite at Bogachiel State Park, complete with showers, to spend the evening. ETB
Map of My Road Trip Across the USA
For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.
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