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Tag: Olympic Peninsula

One Day in Sequim

We happened to be in the Olympic Peninsula for my birthday and I wanted to spend it exploring the area outside of Olympic National Park. Sequim (pronounced Squim) is about half an hour’s drive from where we were staying in Port Angeles and it is famous for growing lavender. With the sprawling lavender fields, Sequim is known as the Provence of the United States.

We decided to check out B&B Lavender Farm, Sequim’s largest lavender farm. We got a tour of the farm where they taught us about the different varieties of lavender that they sell. The biggest takeaway for me is that French Lavender is the more fragrant but it’s not good to cook with. English lavender has a better, less-soapy flavor. Our tour guide explained that there is so much moisture in the air on the Olympic Peninsula that after the first two years, they don’t have to water their lavender plants. They showed us the process of how they dry the lavender and remove the stems. They also showed us how they distill their essential oils. I bought so many things in their gift shop! Everyone got lavender souvenirs! It was a wonderful experience and I highly recommend a visit to the B&B Lavender Farm if you are in Sequim. They have an online store if you would like to experience their wonderful lavender products.

After getting our fill of lavender, we headed to downtown Sequim for a wine tasting at Wind Rose Cellars. Wind Rose Cellars focuses on Italian-style wines grown in the Pacific Northwest. Everything we tried there was delicious, but we went home with a bottle of Hunter’s Red.

Dungeness Spit

From there we took a little walk at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge in Sequim. If you walk the whole thing, the Dungeness Spit Trail is 10.2 miles. We just walked a little bit of it to take in the scenery. The trail is very flat but it is sandy so it’s not a totally easy hike.

John Wayne Marina

We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at the John Wayne Marina. You can’t go wrong with the view from the Dockside Grill (above)! All-in-all, it was a wonderful day exploring a new place and learning something new!

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by next week as I recap our day trip to Mt. Rainier National Park! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Sequim Pin

Wordless Wednesday: Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

Olympic National Park: The Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest may be the most iconic ecosystem in Olympic National Park. The otherworldly green landscape has been named a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The forest is made up mostly of Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock trees which can grow over 300 feet tall and six feet in diameter. I haven’t seen California’s giant sequoias or redwoods yet, so the trees in the Pacific Northwest were very impressive to me.

Spruce Nature TrailThe term rainforest is very fitting here as this area of the park gets an average of 140 inches of rain each year. The almost constant mist in the rainforest accounts for another 30 inches of rain that allows the moss to thrive in clumps hanging off the giant trees.

There are three trails to explore in the Hoh Rainforest area: the popular .8-mile Hall of Mosses Trail, the 1.2-mile-long Spruce Nature Trail, and the 18.5-mile Hoh River Trail. We decided to start with the Spruce Nature Trail and we barely saw other people on this trail. Next, we did the Hall of Mosses Trail which was undoubtedly the more impressively scenic trail, but there were also a lot more people. Altogether, the two trails were only two miles of hiking for the day and I am glad we did both of them.

If you are planning on visiting the Hoh Rainforest, definitely make sure to bring waterproof hiking boots and a good rain jacket. I bought my boots for Alaska, but I really needed the waterproofing for exploring Olympic! You can see the puddles on the trail in the picture on the left.

Thanks for stopping by! Next week I will share about our time exploring Olympic Peninsula outside of the National Park. To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Wordless Wednesday: Driftwood

Log Across Ellen Creek

Olympic National Park: Exploring Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent  The Lake Crescent Section of Olympic National Park is only 18 miles from Port Crescent so it was closest part of the park to where we were staying. So, of course it was our first stop on our exploration of the park.  One of the things on my must-do list for Olympic was the rent a kayak and paddle Lake Crescent. Unfortunately, the weather never cooperated. Each time we stopped by the lake, it was windy and the waves resembled those we saw at the ocean (below). As I always say, I guess I have a reason to return to Olympic National Park, right?

Waves at Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent is home to the beautiful Lake Crescent Lodge. The Lodge was built in 1915 in an arts and crafts, bungalow design. There is a restaurant in the lodge and I wished we had made reservations. It looked like a beautiful place to have a meal! Although built around the same time period, it is vastly different from Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn. Built from local timber, the Lake Crescent Lodge feels much homier and welcoming. Original guests at the lodge arrived by ferry from across the lake as the Olympic Highway that goes right by the lodge didn’t open until 1922.

Moments in Time Trail

From Crescent Lake, we hiked the half-mile Moments in Time Trail. The trail is a very easy hike through a Washington forest. The lichen hanging off the trees gave the area a real rainforest feel.

I really enjoyed our time in the Lake Crescent Area. I just wish the weather had cooperated and we could’ve gotten out on the water. If I return to Olympic, I would like to stay at the Lake Crescent Lodge! After our time exploring the Lake Crescent Area we got back in the car and headed for the coast and Rialto Beach. Be sure to check back next week to read all about it!

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Lake Crescent Pinterest Graphic

Olympic National Park Overview

Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach

Disembarkation from Serenade of the Seas was the complete opposite of embarkation. We were off the ship in ten minutes! To be on the safe side, we booked our Quick Shuttle for 10:00 which would have left us standing in the port for two hours. Luckily, they were able to squeeze us onto the 8:00 shuttle. Where our Greyhound experience was less than comfortable, Quick Shuttle was wonderful! The seats were more comfortable and there were fewer stops. If you ever need to get from Vancouver to Seattle (or Vice Versa) I highly recommend Quick Shuttle! They were more expensive than Greyhound, but it is absolutely worth it!

We had Quick Shuttle drop us off at the Bellingham Airport which made the fare cheaper and the ride faster than going all the way to Seattle. This may sound strange, but we discovered it was significantly cheaper for a one-way rental from Bellingham to Seattle than the round-trip from Seattle. It’s things like this that a lot of people wouldn’t think of that allow us to save money when we travel. The rental car was cheaper, our bus rate was less, and it was quicker to not have to stop at all the stops along the way.

Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

For the Washington part of the trip, we stayed at an AirBNB in Port Angeles. Port Angeles is a good base camp for exploring Olympic National Park because the park is spread out throughout the Olympic Peninsula and Port Angeles is centrally located. There are not many places to choose from lodging-wise in Port Angeles, so we ended up this studio apartment in the middle of a ranch home. It was fine but was not ideal for my husband to be working on eastern time. There were some mornings he had his 5 am (8 am eastern) meetings in his car so as to not bother the neighbors.

Olympic National Park is divided into three diverse ecosystems: beach, mountains, and temperate rainforests. Since we had a short time to explore the park (only four afternoons/evenings) we got to explore Rialto Beach, Lake Crescent, Hurricane Ridge, and Hoh Rainforest. There is much more to see in the park, but I feel like we got to see the highlights.

One thing that we learned on this trip is that Washington weather is hard to predict and the weather can vary around the park. For example, it was sunny and warm at our AirBNB but when we got to Hurricane Ridge we hit a wall of fog. When we got home some friends who used to live in the Pacific Northwest told us that you have to go after the 4th of July if you want to actually get to see the area and not just fog. Like I say with most places we visit, I guess we will have to go back another time, later in the year!

Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge in the fog

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week as I share about our experience at Lake Crescent! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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