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  • Writer's pictureMick McMurray

Getting Wet in Olympic NP

Updated: 7 days ago

Olympic National Park is known for its diversity of ecosystems. From the pacific coast with its 62 miles of undeveloped coastline to the Olympic Mountains, temperate rainforest, and old-growth forest it is an amazing place to visit. The rainforest is considered one of the wettest places in the lower 48 states.

It was a 520-mile drive from Bandon to Sol Duc Hot Springs in Olympic National Park. That was a long drive for us.

We like to keep our drives down to 2 or 3 hundred miles. That’s 4 to 6 hours of driving. We are not young anymore, and a long drive is hard on us.

We stayed in the Sol Duc campground, loop A site 011.

They did have some sites with hook-ups, but we had a primitive site. It was more like a wide spot in the road with a picnic table down the hill. We stayed there for 3 days. I know now why it is called a rainforest. It was wet. We prefer nice weather with some clouds for photography but rain doesn’t keep us inside. We both have good rain gear and don’t mind sightseeing and hiking in the rain. This is the rain gear I have. Simple rain cover for the camera.

We did some hiking in The Ancient Groves area and it was just as I imagined. There were a lot of streams, ferns, and trees with a lot of hanging beard moss which isn’t moss but lichen.

It was beautiful. There are some nice viewpoints of the Salmon Cascades on the Sol Duc River where you can see salmon jumping the cascades on their annual spawn.

Another short hike was to Sol Duc Falls, accessed by a wooden bridge. There is a nice viewing area next to the falls.

A nice side trip is to Victoria, Canada. We drove to Port Angeles, left our car, and took the ferry. Since we only had 4 hours we took the Big Red Bus Tour. We got to see most of the tourist sites and there was time for some shopping.

If you haven’t been to Canada since Covid things have changed. Now you have to do some research & go online to fill out a form before you try to enter or you might not get in. We weren’t aware of the changes and on a recent trip to International Falls Minn. We found out the hard way.

Before leaving Olympic and heading east we stopped at some friends in Everson, Washington to visit. There were a lot of barns, some functional and some definitely not. They made for some interesting drives around the area. They also had a pair of bald eagles that hung out in the area.

This is just a beautiful area. We want to make it back here someday and spend more time. I'd like to see the Olympic Peninsula along the Washington coast.

Lorna’s Tips and Lessons

Don’t let the rain keep you indoors. This beautiful National park averages 149 rainfall days a year. The smell of rain in a forest is amazing and hikes in the rain can be wonderful if you are dressed properly. We like having packable rain gear that we can pull out when needed. Make sure that your pants have zippers and room to go over your hiking boots without taking them off. Also, get large enough to layer underneath depending on how cold it is.

Next leg, Yellowstone National Park


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