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Backpacking Washington

Olympics, WA

By on July 8, 2016

Day 49: Seattle, WA > Quinault, WA
Woke up at 11:00AM…again. Started moving (slowly) out of the city. A stop at Trader Joes to replenish our refrigerator because all of our food had gone bad in the great battery breakdown. A stop at Walmart for polarized fishing sunglasses turned into a $100 shopping trip and our stop at the Amazon locker to get the auto-disconnect required an hour of electrical work by John. As we finally drove out of the city, I was ready (more than ready) to get back out there. As the trees thickened around us, I felt a peace and excitement unique to the scent of conifers.

Day 50: Quinault, WA
We woke up in the parking lot of the Lake Quinault Lodge to a rainy morning. We walked into the luxurious lodge for coffee, and then across the street to the rangers’ station. With advice from the experts, we took off towards Pony Bridge on North Fork Road. As soon as we left own, my eyes could not believe the scene. The rainforest spruce & fur were towering (the largest grove in the world) and each moss covered. Ferns & wild lavender covered the ground. We hiked 5 miles to pony bridge, and took 100’s of pictures along the way. At the bridge, we scrambled down to a river beach all our own. We took shelter under a rock wall and cooked a hot lunch of tortilla soup. What a magical spot we found, and what magical feelings I felt. This is life and life is love. 2016 & the sun is in Jupiter. I’m feeling the luck and the way life propels us forward. The wheel of fortune smiles on our love. We got back to the van, soaking wet and happy. I cooked dinner and now I am cozy in Lake Quinault Lodge by the fire. I’m pretending that I have a room here, even though I’m only really sleeping in the parking lot.

Day 51: Quinault, WA > La Push, WA
Had a lovely morning sipping our coffee by the fireplace in the lodge. When we were ready, we started the drive towards the beach. We picked up a hitch-hiker named Rob on the way to Forks. The town relied completely on visitors to the park, and the constant stream of twilight fans that come through to see where Bella & Edward lived. I now know why Bella was so anxty…the town was a drab. So, we kept on heading towards the beach – the road was lined with young conifers & wildflowers. When we got on the trail at Third Beach, we were instantly pleased with our decision. We had no idea what we were in for. The next five miles were filled with obstacles on our way. Trees lay in the middle of the trail, mud pits, rope climbs & rocky scrambles made for an interesting challenge. Beautiful beaches, dense forest & even finding the top of a waterfall that fell into the sea made it breathtaking. We made it to Scott’s Bluff Beach & settled in for a lovely night filled with wine, love making and the crashing of the waves. I held my lover close.

Day 52: La Push, WA > Sole Duck, WA
Woke up just as we fell asleep, to the sound of the waves. Ate our somewhat habitual breakfast of coffee and oatmeal & got on our way. We took a detour on our return. It was low tide and we thought we could make it around the point. We couldn’t, but those 20 minutes of tide pooling filled me with curiosity. We saw aqua colored sea anemones, star fish and rocks covered in muscles. I felt so accomplished and brave upon finishing the hike out, but our day was only just getting started. A drive back to the interior put us at the Sol Duc loop. More lush forests awaited us on the 8 mile hike to our campsite. As we climbed higher into the alpine we crossed what felt like 10 epic waterfalls on beautiful wooded bridges. The higher we went, the more wildflowers that grew. I must have seen 20 different kinds & made sure to snap pictures of them all. We arrived at our campsite, an alpine meadow filled with Queen Anne’s Lace. Such a paradise…except for the mosquitos. 10 minutes of frolicking and we hid in our tent, excited to complete the Sol Duc loop in the morning.

Day 53: Sol Duc, WA > Port Angeles, WA
Woke up to the morning meadow light. Ate breakfast and quickly packed up camp to escape mosquito palooza. Once back on the trail, we kept climbing, gaining elevation past Heart Lake and through the High Divide. Around every turn there was a new meadow, complete with a new kind of wildflower and a new breathtaking view. The clouds hugged the mountains, blocking our view of Mount Olympus, but giving the whole scene an air of intrigue. After mile 15, we were toast. The last 5 miles couldn’t go fast enough. At the parking lot, legs and feet sore, we felt so accomplished. We made moves straight to the hot springs @ Sol Duc Resort & soaked our weary muscles. Everyone there was so friendly, and I felt like we were the celebrities of the spa – everyone offering advice and wisdom about our upcoming destinations. We closed the place out, took a hot shower & drove to Port Angeles for a sleep.

Day 54: Port Angeles
Got woken up by the cops. A neighbor apparently called in our van for being “suspicious”. The officer was very kind when he saw we were just normal van dwellers., but advised us that it was illegal to sleep in our vehicle. With bleary eyes, we drove to Blackbird Café for our work day. My big task for the day was making the concluding deck for our big immersion event the next week. I had my hands full, but was ultimately so proud of the work I produced. The culmination of months of though evolution & automotive industry expertise. Even amidst so much play, maintaining a work/life balance keeps John and I sane. We had a few beers @ Next Door before sleeping (legally) in a Walmart parking lot. We didn’t want to worry about the cops again!