Olympic Peninsula Memories

Morning Fog over the Valley

Since we are confined at home, and our travel consists of driving to the grocery store, I thought I would do a throwback post from my old Roadtrekgirl blog. And with the Olympics in clear view out our living room window I chose “Always take the road less traveled”, about the Olympic Peninsula. I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time but it always ended up on the back burner. However, I was motivated by an email from Richard who is associated with the website :10Adventures.com. He sent me an email wondering if I could link his Olympic Peninsula hiking guide to my blog. After looking at his site, I felt it was a perfect fit. Plus, I like the philosophy of the site: As 10Adventures.com founder Richard Campbell says, “We have just gotten started. We’re here to continue to share the best human-powered adventures on Earth. Whether you want to do them yourself or join a tour, we’re here to help.”

I’m so glad I have my blog, because right now it’s so challenging not to be traveling. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly much worse things going on and much worse challenges that folks are facing on a daily basis. I like just randomly selecting one of the posts and bringing back such good memories. Plus they inspire me to start planning our next journey-it won’t be until after the new year. But if its safe and things open up across the country and in Canada we plan on returning to the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s a trip about 6-8 months out so that gives me plenty of time to plan. Do you enjoy the planning ? I love it. Going through travel sites; reading blogs from other travelers; looking for local websites; and then organizing all those notes and dreams and schemes into a little travel journal that we will take with us. Anyway, while I’m planning that you can read about a trip we took 8 years ago. We had Ruby the Roadtrek at that time and this was one of the trips we made the same year we bought her. Enjoy!

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference”-Robert Frost

When we left Quileute Sunday morning our biggest decision was whether or not to take the same route back to Seattle or take the long the road less traveled, heading south to Aberdeen. We knew it would add another 100 miles onto the trip home, but we were in no hurry to return, so we headed south. And we were so glad we did. As we headed to Rialto Beach for a quick beach stop we came up the crest of the hill and they valley blanketed in fog lay before us. It was just the kind of moment you hope for when traveling -J didn’t even have to ask if he should stop for some shots-he stopped Ruby in the middle of the road and I quickly jumped out . Thank goodness it was so early in the morning and no one was following behind us. When you travel a lot of smaller back roads you get really good at jumping in and out of your rig to take advantage of the incredible scenery.

Fog lifting on the Sol Duc River

As we approached Forks we saw the turn off to Mora and Rialto Beach, another side route that took us over the Sol Duc River-one of J’s favorite fly fishing spots. I could see him chomping at the bit to be out there trying for that elusive Salmon. That’s another trip and another story.

Sol Duc Sunrise Reflection

We came up to the second bridge ,here the Sol Duc slows a little in a wide bend-and then joins up with the ocean. At that bend , the river was so smooth and with the deep blue sky it made for some wonderful photo opportunities. And I took advantage of them-with J stopping mid span on the bridge, I quickly jumped out and snapped away. The only disadvantage to small country roads-no road shoulders-so you adapt

Gorgeous drive to Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach, just north of First Beach
A family of Inuksuks on Rialto Beach
Wild surf at Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach is just as wild as her southern neighbor-First Beach. But at Rialto you don’t have as much safe distance between you and the surf-gets the adrenalin pumping when you are trying to take photographs and not get pulled into the surf. Because the tide was in we couldn’t do much beach walking but did a lot of log climbing for better views !

From Rialto Beach we headed south along Highway 101 towards Aberdeen. We had never been this far north on Highway 101 so around every bend was a new surprise. Our next beach stop was at Ruby Beach-so pretty with her sea stacks and flat open beach.

Ruby Beach

The day was made for driving, steam from the fog coming up from the road; grass still frosted over where the sun hadn’t reached it yet; the sun high enough to warm us but not blind us from the beauty that surrounded us and the best part-hardly anyone else on the road with us. Next time we head over this way we want to go to Lake Quinault and Willaby Creek Campground.( Willaby is the only one open all season). There is a 30 mile Rain forest Loop Drive and according to the information it ” takes you around Lake Quinault on the south side of Olympic National Park.” This loop is a very scenic drive so be sure to bring your camera. Keep an eye out for Roosevelt Elk, Black Tail Deer, Cougars, Bald Eagles, Bobcats, and even Black Bears

The morning sun just outside of Kalaloch

We’ve stayed at one of the rustic cabins at Kalaloch Lodge, many moons ago and that was the farthest north we ever made it on Highway 101-until this trip today. The approach into the area of Kalaloch was stunning and felt very spiritual. A canopy of Sitka Spruce, Hemlock, Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar trees lined the road and the sun’s ray shone through, it looked like Nature’s cathedral-so beautiful.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost