I promised to finish the story and so here we are, at Sol Duc Hot Springs, deep in the heart of Olympic National Park.
It rained overnight and we wake up to gray skies and drizzle. It seems a good bet that more rain is on the way, so we decide to take a chance elsewhere and head for the rugged Washington coast.
We stop by Forks and it’s decision time as there really is a fork in the road: head west or south? South would take us to Hwy 101 and Kalaloch, the more traveled route and most popular beach in the Park. Beautiful yes, but we’ve done it many times before. West will take us on 110 and the promise of new, unexplored beaches. We opt to take the road less traveled and head west to Rialto Beach. We’re glad we did!
How did we miss it all these years? Where coastal forest spills onto the beach and ghost trees stand next to giant drift logs, making you feel you have entered someplace prehistoric.
Yes, it’s off the beaten path; in fact the road ends here; further travel north on the coast will be on foot only. Equipped backpackers make that trek carefully, monitoring the weather and tides.
We walk the beach a mile or so under sunshine and clear skies, ever closer to the giant sea stacks off shore.
Afterwards we drive south to La Push and First Beach on the Quileute Indian Reservation for more rugged beauty.
In the end, we’re glad the dismal weather inspired us to seek out new places. That’s what travel should be; a change from the familiar, a bending with the wind (or the rain in this case.) After our fill of the ocean, it’s back to Sol Duc where we will make the short hike to the falls before dark, rain or shine.
Sol Duc Falls
Less than 2 miles round trip, it must be the easiest hike in the park for the most payoff; a trail through old growth forest to one of the most beautiful and accessible falls in the state. A very light rain accompanies us but only makes everything fresher.
Content with the day’s adventures, we head back to our cabin for a light dinner before turning in for the night.
And then there’s Sequim!
Our third day and it’s time to leave Olympic National Park and head home. But we’re not done yet. We have to pass through sunny Sequim and timed our trip to coincide with the Lavender Festival. Sequim is a lovely community in the rain shadow of the Olympics, receiving an average of 16 inches of rain per year. In the last twenty years dairy farms have been given over to lavender farms, making the area a top grower and home to the largest lavender festival in North America. Did I mention that I love lavender? We take in the street fair and stop by several farms to enjoy the festivities there, but especially the lavender.
This may be too much lavender for some, but I can’t seem to get enough of the wonderful herb’s fragrance and gorgeous color. To me, lavender makes everything better, even a trip to the Olympics.
Thanks for following along.