This past weekend we packed up our gear and headed to the Olympic Peninsula via the Kingston Ferry. We decided to relax on the beach and explore a bit of rain forest - both of which are part of Olympic National Park.What an incredible place! We took so many fun pictures of our explorations that I had to post a few (or more than a few!) to share.
Here, we are setting off on the easy hike down to Second Beach, where we explored many tidepools and found many fun creatures. Lucky for us we didn't have any bears or racoons bug us (Note: Tysha is holding the bear cannister the rangers lent us just in case!) There, we set up camp for the night and thanks to a full moon and extra high tides, we heard the ocean waves not 15 feet from our tent during the middle of the night. Other beach campers woke to find that the water came only inches from their tents!
Of course, we had fair warning that this beach, an otherwise "wild" Pacific Coast beach, can at times be dangerous. Watch out for the log jams! (During summer and minus storms, most people find wading to be quite a joyous thing to do here!) The trail down to the beach had some pretty funky trees (and tree roots). We kind of felt like Tim Burton may have planted them there they were so cool!
Our little tent home. We even made a little "porch" of sorts. Once we had set up camp, we headed off to explore the tidepools and cool off a bit. It had been a 6 hour drive (thanks to the 90 minute ferry wait!) We were ready to stretch our legs and explore! Here is what we found:
That night, just as were eating dinner, it began to mist. Not rain, not sprinkle (here in Seattle we have as many words for water falling from the sky as the Eskimo's have for snow.) Yes, it began to mist. It misted most of the night and early the next morning we woke up to a beautifully misted beach and the clouds clearing out for a marvelous new day. Though tides had been super-high the night before, in the morning they were almost as low as you can go. We walked out to explore this island before the waves came crashing back in to make it unaccessible. This was about 7am. Everything was glistening! We saw...
Such happy looking starfish! So colorful and bright!
Finally, the sun began to shine on a new day (about 8am) and scatter the clouds from the night before. We ate breakfast, broke camp, and went to church in a nearby town. And then we headed for the Hoh Rain Forest, another part of the park. There, we saw very large, old-growth trees in the forest.
We saw lots of moss and as many shades of green as you can ever imagine. I think it is the green-est place we have ever been! The Hoh is a temperate rain forest. We learned that while Seattle (& Chicago's) average annual rainfall is something like 37 inches, this here Rain Forest gets up to 167 inches! We decided to visit on a non-raining day (although I'm sure it misted the night before!) The Rain Forest is a magical place. We half expected to turn the bend and find the Garden of Eden! (We didn't) But we did come around the corner and find...
An Elk (there were actually two). She let us stand very close and watch her eat some of the foilage. She didn't even mind that we took her picture. She kinda looked at us, probably wondering what kind of strange creatures we are, and then went back to grazing. Not to make you think that the Rain Forest is so perfect it doesn't have it's pests as well... Tysha did get chased and stung by a wasp or two, which is another story...