A Long, Perfect Day in Olympic National Park

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Hurricane Ridge. 

We wake up bright and early to leave Portland for Olympic National Park in Washington, but on the way we stop at Coava, where a friend works, for some great coffee. I order the honey latte, which has a delicious honey that is thinned out with water so it isn’t too rugged. I drink the coffee and wake up as I get on the highway.

On the way, we realize the best entrance to the park is the main entrance at Port Angeles, where I recommend anybody coming to Olympic should start their stay. Here you can take the drive up to Hurricane Ridge during the summer, which provides a glorious panorama view of the surrounding mountains. The rolling gold hills, the green trees, and the snow-capped mountains are breathtaking.

After taking in the view, we’re off to Lake Crescent. There isn’t much time for us, but if you do have the time I definitely recommend finding one of the loop trails around the area to find some solitude and take in the scenery of the Ridge.

We get stopped in some construction, but the drive isn’t very far away. We greet the lake and, though we plan on renting kayaks, the wind is too fierce for us novices. We opt instead to take the short hike through the beautifully moss-covered forest to Marymere Falls. It is a beautiful, green little hike that gets steep towards the end, with a nice view of the a modest yet endearing falls.

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Lake Crescent.

Once we’re back, it’s time for the Hoh Rain Forest. The drive isn’t as short as the route from Hurricane Ridge to Crescent Lake, but it’s really pretty. A thick blanket of fog descends upon the rain forest on each side of the straight road. It’s not nearly as winding or steep, so if it isn’t raining, open it up, crank the music, and enjoy the view.

Once you drive into Hoh, the canopy and thick fog cover the forest and it’s humid as hell. It’s not very hot on this summer today, so we are thankful for that. Driving on the only road through the rain forest, we simply wait for the first sign for hiking and turn in.

Down the road, there’s camping I’ll definitely come to indulge in another time, and a network of hiking trails that provides enticing opportunities ranging from the easy, always beautiful walks, to a long loop getting lost in the forest. We have to drive three hours to our hotel in Olympia, so we take the short Hall of Mosses and take it slow, immersing ourselves in the breathing forest containing all the many shades of green visible to the human eye.

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Trail to Marymere Falls.

The only disturbance is other groups of tourists and loud children. Still, we enjoy the hike immensely. It is out-of-this-world, and though hikers are scaring the wildlife away, I can feel their presence and the life of the foliage.

We leave when it’s about to get dark, and we’re looking for a place to eat. Make sure you plan accordingly because there isn’t much around at all, and the places that are around close early. We drive for two hours on our route and get to a Denny’s in Aberdeen, perhaps simply because we want to see where Kurt Cobain was born and grew up.

It is a dark, sleepy drive, but we knew we wanted to spend enough time in the park because we only had one day. Though we got to the Governor Hotel at 2:30AM, we sleep easy knowing the bulk of our busy road-trip is behind us.

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Hoh Rain Forest.

Thyme, Dave, and I are tired but happy in the morning. Looking for a place to eat, we decide on the hip yet comforting Darby’s Cafe, where we find out that douche-bag with diner show and frosted tips came to gorge his face.

It is worthy of face-gorging. We all get home-style comfort, biscuits and gravy, chicken-fried steak, and hash browns. We all get coffee, but we all don’t care for it. We drink plenty of water because the hot sauce selection is huge. As a hot sauce connoisseur, that was the best part of Darby’s for me.

The diner is connected to Three Magnets Brewing, so before we go we buy a few pints in bottles for the hotel later. One imperial red ale and one stout, we enjoy the delicious beers after the long drive headed home. It is a bittersweet, hoppy end to our flawless trip.


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