This past July (yep, better late than never!) we took a short trip out to Washington State. It was crazy hot on the east coast yet somehow we found ourselves in cooler weather as we traveled through the state. We had a blast exploring all that Washington had to offer and stumbled upon some unexpected places. Today we are sharing a few images from this happy little adventure.
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is home to one of the largest temperate rain forests in the U.S. If any of you watched that show with Mick Dodge, this is allegedly where he lives. The rainforest was cool, but the most unexpected part of the national park was a place called Ruby Beach. As you walk down the trail to the beach you are caught off guard by the driftwood that has washed up on the beach from the area’s vibrant logging industry. We visited on a hazy day, but you can still get an idea of what it looked like. Some of the rock formations in the water off the beach reminded us of the Great Ocean Road in Australia. It’s a pretty little hidden gem! And the fact that we scored a lakeside campsite in the park wasn’t too shabby either!
Mt. Saint Helen’s
Ok, so this place blew my mind! You can drive out to the closest observation tower, only a few miles away from the volcano and facing the side that blew in 1980. 1980 people! FYI, that was in Frank’s lifetime. The blast devastated 50 miles in 3 minutes and ash would later reach 11 states. Everything gone, no warning. Where there once was a road and a town, was covered in scalding lava and ash never to be seen again. On our journey we met a guy that was a logger in the area during that time. He said that loggers came from all over the world to pull the devastated trees out after the eruption. They were taking 600 truckloads of trees out of the area per day for months after Mt. Saint Helen’s blew.
Visiting this area was a bit out of the way for us, but we are so glad that we took the time to check it out. Highly recommended! But for those who can’t get there, on a visit to Seattle (if you sit on the left side of the plane when flying in) you can see it and Mount Rainier from the air on a clear day.
Mount Rainier National Park
The third stop on our trip was Mount Rainier. It was July, but you will see a lot of snow in the upcoming pictures. Apparently July is the start of the thaw from winter. It was so cold and we were not prepared! The park has a ton of hikes with spectacular views. Frank tricked me into a strenuous hike that had us on a path small enough for just one footstep with a drop of about 8,000 feet. It took us five hours to hike 8 or 9 miles (straight up), but the view from the top was so worth it! On the “trail of death”, as I have now come to refer to it, we met a 76 year old woman who was breaking records as a long distance hiker. This fall she was hiking the Continental Divide Trail (after having already hiked the entire Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail) and afterwards would be the oldest woman to have hiked all three! She was so interesting to talk to. And she kept me going the whole time, even though I could barely keep up with her! The last photo is the view of Mt. Rainier from the mountain peak that we hiked to.
We ended our trip in Seattle for a visit with a sweet friend. We got to check out Pike Place, the infamous fish market and the Space Needle before heading back east. [Please excuse these iPhone images!]
Thanks for coming along with us! Until next time…