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Four Epic Sites at Olympic National Park Worth Visiting

Four Epic Sites at Olympic National Park Worth Visiting

So many adventures, so little time to write.  This summer has been full of sites and bucketlist items, it’s hard to blog about everything, but I do photojournal and put it on social media.  But I did want to tell of my adventures at Olympic National Park in Washington.  Here’s also a video set to the music of Within Temptation, a band from Holland.

First I had to drive for hours, camping on the outskirts on the way in redneck country with many “Ill Eagle” fireworks stands near the Fourth of July.  The drive itself was nice and had views of Hood Canal.  Much of the area is private, but there are a few places to beach explore by the highway if you look enough.  But the main attractions are in the park itself.  Up US-101 to Port Angeles, and then on into the park!

Hikers on Hurricane RidgeHurricane Ridge

Usually you hear about the forest you hear about Olympic National Park, but I will definitely say this was the highlight of the trip and worth a trip in itself to see this view.

This is one of the most accessible alpine sites around, and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

If hiking uphill is difficult, you can drive to the visitor center for epic mountain views.  Just about anyone can be a photographer here.  Just point your phone and click and get beautiful mountain photos.

Hurricane Ridge view

But I will say the hike is fairly moderate for a mountain hike and is worth it for the alpine views.  The summer weather was so hospitable that day I could more accurately call this place “Nice Breeze Ridge.”  I even got to see deer, which seem used to people by now and willingly posed for my photos.

https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-hurricane-ridge.htm

sol-duc-falls2Sol Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls has been on my bucketlist for years after seeing it in a nature photography book.  It didn’t disappoint.  The evening lighting was just right and you could walk around all over catching the falls from different angles.  Go check it out and snap a few photos.

https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-the-sol-duc-valley.htm

Rialto Beach in the morningRialto Beach

Unfortunately being Fourth of July weekend, the camps and hotels were booked solid. So after driving all over the place around looking for somewhere to crash for the night, I ended up having a cop help me find a small park near the beach to sleep in my car.

To stretch my legs I hung out at Rialto, ate breakfast and snapped a few sunrise photos.  The place reminds me a lot of Cannon Beach near Portland back home.  I’d seen this before when backpacking the coast a few years ago, and it’s still beautiful to visit.

You can access this beach by driving up 101 on the West side by the coast or from the North over the park from the East side.  Don’t forget to grab a vampire burger or coffee at Sully’s, a Twilight themed cafe near Forks, Washington where the films took place.  After all this wilderness, some dive-food and wi-fi can really hit the spot.  Cool people there too.

https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/rialto-beach.htm

Hoh Rainforest

Here you’ll see the weirdest trees covered in moss, or “old man’s beard” as I’ve heard it called.  It’s beautiful and I’d definitely recommend the Hall of Mosses trail to see the moss in all its splendor.

Hoh Rainforest

Mick Dodge and Josh Taylor

This is also where Mick Dodge, the National Geographic reality show celebrity, hangs out.  When I met him and asked for a photo with him, he said the rules were you had to take off your shoes like him.

He was easier to find than the show makes him to be.  He helps attract tourists like me, as his show helped to familiarize myself with the Hohs.

https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-the-hoh.htm

Also don’t forget the Ancient Groves trail on the North Side, which is where normal forest and rainforest meet, giving some interesting trees and scenery.

To visit all these places be prepared to spend quite a few hours of driving.  Well worth the time and gas though.  I’d also recommend going on weekdays and not-so-crowded days.

So if you’re in the Northwest and looking for something to do, go check out the Olympics sometime.  What kind of adventures have you been having lately?  Let share adventures photos on Instagram and Twitter.  Happy adventuring.

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Central Oregon-Part One-Crater Lake

Central Oregon-Part One-Crater Lake

crater-lake-foggy

So here I am sitting in my tent by Crooked River, eating my attempt at Pasta-Roni over an open fire. I’m writing on my laptop as my old Paperwhite Kindle lights up the tent.  How’s it taste? Well, like Pasta-roni over an open fire. There’s bits of sausage in there too, which makes it well…edible camp food. It’s warm, perhaps a bit of comfort food after a day of rain. At least it’s not another Cliff bar, right?

Fumbling around trying to eat and cook in the dark is a pain. Word of advice. Whether carcamping, or backpacking it, always bring a headlamp.

josh-taylor-in-tent-with-computerThis trip is full of twists and turns, but everything seems to go well. Cancelled my trip to Arizona as the Grand Canyon, Sedona and the other cool places were having thunderstorms. So hey, I thought I might as well see a natural wonder right here in Oregon-Crater Lake. The site was pretty much how I’d expected it, but like a lot of epic sites, the photographs don’t do it justice. You just have to be there.

You have to experience it, driving by the cliffs focusing on the turns for dear life. To get out of the car, feel the wind on your face.  Then wondering what it looks like up by the rail, then once walking up, seeing it in awe for the first time.  Yes, Wizard Island, just like the photos, but the crater is huge.

To get to Crater Lake, you take Highway 97 and then Route 62 to Crater Lake.  I took I-5 from the North, then took Or-58 near Eugene, which goes to 97.  There are no campgrounds open in the fall, but you can camp by Diamond Lake nearby. If you want to backpack, you’ll need a permit.

wizard-island-trees-sapia

Start Hanging with Inspiring People

On the way to camp I picked up a couple through-hikers. Two girls in late 20s or 30s had to get back to the trail from the ranger station and hitched a ride with me. They hiked the Pacific Crest Trail all the way from Stevenson, Washington. They’d just about hiked all the way through the Oregon PCT to the California border, and then they were going back home to the Midwest.  After they thanked me profusely, I thanked them in turn for inspiring me. Because it’s true, they did far more for me than I ever did by helping them a bit.

pacific-crest-crater-lake - Copy

What was it about these girls that changed me? Walk in the Woods and Wild are great stories. But meeting those who actually did it inspired me with reality. There was LIFE to them, and the fact that I got to be a small part of that story by giving them a ride made it even better.

To think, the whole world is at your fingertips. Creating your own story is what inspired the brand name of Outback Tales.

It’s not about how grand it is compared to others. You don’t have to climb Everest. Your story could be just going somewhere you haven’t gone or taking a step in your career you’re afraid of taking.

What stories can you share?  What new stories lay ahead?  Follow me on Twitter or Instagram, I’d love to hear yours!

Next stop: Central Oregon Desert and Three Sisters Wilderness.

 

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