June 22-29: Hello, again. I know I have been absent. Hopefully my consistency with posting will come back now that we are on our own again. We are officially in Canada. That seems so bizarre to me. We have been planning this trip for so long and we are finally in the Canada-Alaskan stretch. We finally left the Brenchley house in Washington after our short month there. That month went so incredibly fast. We arrived and then we left. It has just been absolutely lovely being there with family. We did so much while we were there. We did all three WA National Parks: North Cascade, Mount Rainier, and Olympic. Jade, Rich, and their kids visited with us. My aunt and uncle from California visited with us. We got to experience the amazing Scenic Hot Spring. We have been on so many ferries to get to the different islands. We did Whidbey Island twice and picked fresh strawberries. We got to spend so many nights hanging out with the family and with Grandpa Jack. Washington State is just absolutely gorgeous and seems to have endless amounts of outdoor activities. It was a great visit.
Okay, lets talk Olympic National Park.
Alec and I decided from the beginning that we really wanted to try to hit all of the NPs that Washington had to offer. We only had a few days left before we left for Alaska and had to go do it. Originally, Alec wanted to spend 3-4 days exploring in Olympic. That did not happen. We decided to shorten that to 2 days especially since the rest of the family couldn’t come along. We started off the trip by taking the Edmonds-Kingston ferry towards the Olympic Peninsula. I mean what a great way to start any trip. I know that people from Washington are used to traveling around between islands using the ferry system. Even after going on multiple ferry rides, I still wasn’t over it. I love the ferries. The sea breeze, the surrounding mountains (if they are out), the simple break from being in the car.
From Kingston, we drove about a hour to get to the entrance of Olympic NP. You don’t have to take a ferry to get there, depending on where you are staying/living. If you are south by Tacoma, you can simply drive around the peninsula. Like I said, it’s way more fun through a ferry. This park is just massive and provides visitors with many different ecosystems. You can be on the coast on the beach, walking through a lush rainforest, or picking wildflowers while looking at snow-capped mountains. The park is just so diverse and that’s why Alec wanted to take the time to explore it. We decided (like Mount Rainier NP) to tent camp instead of towing Callie. We get better gas mileage, we don’t have to worry about where to park her on hikes, and it’s just easier to get around. For camping, we set up in the Olympic National Forest land right outside of the national park. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s right by the park. We found some land in the Forest Development Service Road 29. If you aren’t sure where to go to find free campsites, try using the apps Campendium or IOverlander. Between those two, we have been able to find free or extremely inexpensive campgrounds for the night. When we parked to set up camp for the night, it was raining pretty hard. A new and fun challenge for the night: setting up our equipment in the rain. Thank the LORD himself for the Rhino Rack awning that Alec purchased for the truck.
It’s very convenient because it stays attached to the car and fans out in just minutes. Alec had us shielded from the rain in no time. We folded out our chairs and table, set up the rooftop tent, and prepared for dinner. It was steak and asparagus for the menu that night.
We always have a portable grill with propane in the back of the truck. We set that bad boy up on the table and the cooking began. Overtime, we have really gotten very organized with our camping gear. I know that I have mentioned it before, but, it’s just so nice. We have a box for our camping essentials. We know what’s in it and what additional items we need to bring through a list that we made on our phones. We had camp set up, cooking done, and dishes washed within a hour or so from getting to the campsite. Not bad.
The next day, we went hard. We did a beautiful hike called Sol Duc Falls.
We did a loop hike through the Hoh Rainforest to see the vivid greens and big trees.
We walked on Ruby Beach and walked on the stones on the coast.
We went to see the blue Crescent Lake.
Olympic National Park was stunning and totally worth the visit. When you visit WA, don’t skip on it.
The last family outing we had was hiking the Dirty Harry’s Balcony Trail. What a weird name. It is located near the Snoqualmie Pass and off of highway 90. It is a 4 mile, out and back hike that gains 1,410 feet of elevation. It was a good workout. On the way to the overlook, the trail was very steep. Your legs really felt that elevation increase. I loved it. I really enjoyed challenging myself and working out my body. It’s very peaceful to me. Just make sure if you decide to try this trail that you hydrate because it might get ya. The end result was just magnificent.
The trail brought you out to an overlook of the valley and highway 90. The mountains surrounding it were so bright and green. It was just amazing. I love getting to the end of a trail. All of the hard work really pays off as you relax in front of the grand view.
We had such an amazing time in Washington State for the last month. The memories we made, the land we explore, the laughs we had will forever be with me. Now to explore Canada.
New posts every Monday and Friday.