Thursday, July 24, 2008

Out in the Olympics

Summary: Awesome trip with a few delays. Good friends, good scenery, and you just can’t beat camping on the beach at the Pacific.

Link to all the pics:

If you want the full report just keep reading,

Well after a night of planning and drinking a few beers as well as a few phone calls with the rangers Natalie, Dan, Laura and I were all set to get out to Olympic National Park.

We had been talking about getting out to Hurricane Ridge trail all winter to snowshoe but since those plans always got interrupted by life we decided to head up there in the summer.

The plan was to head to Altaire campground and setup a base camp for the weekend. From the camp we planned to hike the ridge on Saturday and then go soak in the hot springs on Sunday before packing up and heading home. Funny how plans change…

We all met over at our place at 6:00PM Friday as planned and as we were packing the car we had the first surprise of the trip. Somehow (and I completely understand because I would do the same thing) Dan had gotten so caught up packing that he forgot to actually put his stuff in the car. We had food, tents, beer, beer, beer, but no clothes, shoes, or pack for Dan. The only logical thing to do was send Dan back to West Seattle to pickup his stuff while Natalie, Laura and I had a beer and hung out. We ended up leaving our house about 7:30. We would be late but we had a campsite right?

About 11PM we arrived at Altaire campgroup to find it full. No problem, there is another campground just down the road… hmmm, that is full too.

To make a long story short we went to at least another 3 good sized campgrounds before we finally found somewhere, at about 1AM, that was not full.

After getting camp setup we looked at the map and made the executive decision to just head to the coast in the morning since we were only 30 minutes away.


In the morning we woke up a little later than planned and took our time eating breakfast. We headed out and after an uneventful drive ended up making it to the coast in about 30 minutes. The plan, as was formed on the drive out to Mora, was to pack up all of our camping gear into our small packs we had and hike up the beach. After chatting to the ranger for a minute and learning that we could camp wherever we wanted to we strapped on our boots and headed up the beach.

After only a mile we arrived at our site. What a cool spot!! As we got setup a curious seal decided he needed to check things out just off shore. I never could get a picture but it would have just looked like a black spot in the ocean anyway.

After a little napping we decided to check out the area. We hiked over a little bluff by our site and found some tide pools. The pools were loaded with anemones, fish and lots of stuff to look at.

We spent the afternoon taking it easy and watching the tide roll out. After taking about a million sunset shots and wandering a little more we built up a fire from all the driftwood all over the beach. We finished dinner just in time to see an amazing fireworks show down the beach. The sky was perfectly clear and this really was one of the best fireworks shows I have seen. The night could not have been any better but all good things must come to an end so we finally packed it in. I left the tarp off of the tent so we could see the stars and ended up freezing all night (40F bag gets me every time). It was worth the cold to see the stars and hear the ocean so clearly all night.


We woke up in the morning to a very low tide. I was first out of the tent and decided to check out the tide pools again. I have never seen so many star fish in my life! These guys were just piled all over each other.

After a little breakfast we packed everything up and headed back down the beach. I think we could all have easily stayed at that same spot for 1 or 2 more nights but work was calling. Boo…

We did a little side trip to the Dungeness Spit on the way home. This is essentially a sand bar that goes 5 miles out in the Strait of Juan De Fuca

There is not too much to say about the area except it is beautiful. Out at the end of the sandbar we could see Mt Baker (at least I think that is what it was).

We left Dungeness, grabbed a bite to eat and then waited in line for a ferry forever. We ended up getting back about midnight but that pretty much was par for the trip. Looking forward to getting out again.