Olympic Peninsula Exploration

There was more to Tuesday, June 25th of 2019, than simply our evening drive to Cape Flattery and the hike to the edge of the cliffs for our views of the sunset that night.

At 8:30 AM, we were East of Port Angeles on the spit of land protruding from the Dungeness Recreation Area, leading to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge and the distant lighthouse miles down that sandy edge of the Dungeness Bay.

I was able to capture a spectacular–spectacular in my opinion, at least–shot of Mt Baker some 70+ miles distant, with the lighthouse in the foreground. While walking along the beach, we also located a small clubhouse assembled with driftwood and assorted detritus that had washed up on the shore.

Photos from the Dungeness Recreational Area are below.

Heading West again, we returned to Port Angeles and made our way South, ascending into Olympic National Park toward Hurricane Ridge. Stopping numerous times along the way, the views overlooking the lower elevations of the Olympic Peninsula as well as the mountains we were approaching made for lovely scenery. I’m including photos of the trip to Hurricane Ridge below.

We remained at Hurricane Ridge for a while and considered hiking along one of the trails, but there were a number of people already up there with the same idea. Instead, we enjoyed the grand, sweeping views of the Olympic Mountain peaks and the many deer who clearly felt no real fear of humans. I’m including photos from Hurricane Ridge below.

It was 1 PM when we arrived at our next destination, parking at Lake Crescent to reach the trailhead leading up to Marymere Falls nestled in the old growth forest. The hike to that lovely destination is a beautiful journey on its own, beginning with the greeting of a truly magnificent tree that appears almost to be waving to new arrivals, winding through a maze of moss-covered trees, and crossing the creek that empties glacial water into Lake Crescent.

Photos of the hike and of Marymere Falls are below.

It was 3 PM when we returned to Port Angeles, and we were ready for a late lunch. We’d eaten at this nice little establishment when we’d been to the region in 2017, and we decided it was worth returning to Gordy’s Pizza & Pasta again during this trip. Our recollection of the quality had not been incorrectly favorable.

We returned to our hotel room by 4 PM and remained there until we began the drive West to capture the sunset at Cape Flattery, as I shared in a previous post.

Hall of Mosses

We set out heading West from Port Angeles, Washington at 9 AM before cutting South on Highway 101. We passed through the infamous town of Forks (those poor bastards living there never being able to forget that Twilight exists) and heading East into the Hoh Rainforest section of Olympic National Park.

The drive along Upper Hoh Road is positively lovely, especially once you’ve reached the sections where it runs alongside the Hoh River. The longer you follow that road, the more you feel like you’ve been transported to a vastly different place…a place of magic and fantasy, perhaps.

At the end of the road, you arrive at the parking area from which numerous trailheads begin. The Hall of Mosses was our first destination for the day, which is a relatively short loop of a trail. From there, numerous other trails can be found and followed.

Photos of the Hall of Mosses are both above and below.

Where the Hall of Mosses Trail meets with the substantially longer Hoh River Trail, I got it in my head that we should just continue along that way for a while. As is often the case, I sort of wandered off on my own, leaving the others behind. I had hiked an additional half an hour or so before I saw a barely worn trail that led to the edge of the Hoh River, diverting from the main trail I was on. Of course, I opted to make my way over there.

It was only an afterthought that had me return to where that trail deviated from the main trail to find the others, as they could easily have already passed. I’m not always the best person to explore with, as I am absolutely marked as the first person to be killed in any sort of horror movie…or the idiot who causes other people to be killed by being short-sighted and more than a little bit caught up in my own thing, head up my ass and all.

The others did finally reach me and I convinced them to join me at the river. We spent a long while sitting there along the bank. I crossed shallow sections here and there to explore a bit further once I knew where the others would be, but I mostly stayed nearby.

Photos of the Hoh River Trail are below.

It was almost 5 PM when we returned to Port Angeles. We ate a late lunch/early dinner at Fast Burritos, a place we’d enjoyed eating at during our previous trip in 2017.

At 8:30 PM, we returned to Ediz Hook to watch the sunset as we had the night before. We remained on that spit of land for the next hour and I, for one, found a great deal of peace there. Photos of the second night’s sunset are below.

Return To Port Angeles

Having packed up the night before, we left our hotel in Portland, Oregon shortly before 8 AM. From there we made our way to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Our next destination for the day wasn’t going to be open for approximately an hour, and this seemed like a nice place to spend a while walking and enjoying some additional nature. Photos from the garden are below.

No visit to Portland is complete without spending some time at the Portland Japanese Garden, and after a short stop downtown to pick up breakfast from Voodoo Doughnut, we were on our way there. This was my third time wandering through the Japanese Garden, and it never ceases to provide me with a certain sense of peace and tranquility. It was shortly after 9:30 AM when we arrived there, and we remained for close to an hour.

Below are some photos from the Portland Japanese Garden.

Across the street from the Portland Japanese Garden is the International Rose Test Garden. I’d made it a habit of visiting that patch of diverse colors and smells each time I’d been spent a period of time in Washington Park, and this visit would be no exception.

It’s funny that I’d never been a huge fan of the rose as a flower, but seeing such a variety changed my tune a great deal. Photos from the Rose Test Garden are below.

Finally, only a little while before Noon, we left Portland and made our way Northwest, connecting with Highway 101 in Astoria and crossing the bridge into Washington near Cape Disappointment.

The drive along the Western edge of the Olympic Peninsula is a long one, though quite lovely for the most part. We had fallen in love with the small town of Port Angeles during our previous visit in 2017, and there was no way we weren’t going to be spending a few days in the area during this trip. Nestled between the Strait of San Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains, Port Angeles is so perfectly situated as to be the place I’d like to live more than anywhere else I can think of.

It was after 8 AM when we arrived at our hotel in Port Angeles, Washington.

We unloaded the car and made our way out onto the Ediz Hook in order to enjoy the sound of waves lapping against the rocks and driftwood while the sun was setting. If I happened to live in the area, there’s a very good chance I’d be found on Ediz Hook four or five nights out of the week, watching the ships traversing the Salish Sea between Washington and Vancouver Island as I wait for the sun to pass beneath the horizon.

It was almost 10 PM before we finally returned to our hotel room for the night.

Photos from our first night in Port Angeles are below.