San Juan Islands and Olympic National Park

Trip Start Jun 15, 2008
Trip End Aug 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Saturday, July 12, 2008

After climbing school, I treated myself to a shower and a shave at the
Candlewood Suites.  I needed it.  The next day, I headed for the San
Juan Islands, north of Seattle in the Puget Sound.  Here are three exciting things about the San Juan Islands:  nothing, nothing, and...nothing.  These islands are so overhyped.  They are remote and scenic, sure, but I can't believe they are in 1,000 To See Before You Die.  I saw exactly 1,000 cooler things in Washington alone.  I'm done writing about them. 

Far more interesting is Olympic National Park.  Olympic is three very
different worlds in one: a glacier covered alpine environment, a long
ocean coast, and yes...a rainforest.  Fortunately, I was able to visit all three. 

Hurricane Ridge - I hiked into the alpine to the top of Hurricane Ridge, with sweeping views of the park to the south and Puget Sound and Canada to the north.  Great spot.  Too much of a reward for such an easy hike. 

Ozette Lake and Kalaloch - These were the coastal areas.  I did a nice nine mile hike around Ozette Lake.  Three of the miles were right on the Pacific Ocean.  If you're ever near Olympic, I would highly recommend this hike.  It was beautiful, and I saw maybe four people the whole morning.  Unbelievable beaches with giant rock towers jumping out of the water just off the coast.

I camped (in my car) on the beach at Kalaloch.  I was the only idiot who secured a campsite right  near the beach.  Genius.  It was freezing, and the wind was howling off the ocean.  I woke up every two hours and ran the heater for ten minutes.

Hoh Rain Forest - A real, live rainforest, right in the middle of the U.S.  (well, not in the middle).  This place is unreal.  There's an area here called the Hall of Mosses that looks like a scene out of a Lord of the Rings movie.  Fascinating. 

Olympic is a fascinating world of diversity and also one of the more family friendly parks.  Hiking trails here are well-established and not too difficult. 
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