Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Olympic National Park, WA

 

Beautiful Ruby Beach.

P1110173

Our group managed to be up and ready and headed out of the casino parking lot by nine on Monday. We only had a 70 mile drive, but we wanted to arrive at South Beach Campground in Olympic National Park early enough to be sure we all got sites. I was a little stressed traveling with  four RVs wondering whether there would be room for all of us, since we had no plan B. As it turned out there were quite a few sites available when we arrived just after 10:30, and several people were still packing up to go. We all picked a suitable spot for the best views of the fog and filled out our tickets. $10/night, or $5 for those of us with the Senior Pass. There are flush toilets and trash dumpsters but no drinking water or dump. Those can be found about three miles up the road at Kalaloch Campground (reservations only).

This was taken later when the fog burned off. Sites are sort of scattered and hard to delineate, so people just seem to park any which way. Of course all the prime ocean front sites were taken, but we had a partial view.

P1110133

In the afternoon Jim and I drove 30 miles south to Lake Quinault to hike in the Quinault Rainforest and drive the loop around the lake. How refreshing to see a natural glacier-carved lake instead of one created by a man-made dam. Our trail took us past the Lake Quinault Lodge, which was like stepping back in time. They were even playing croquet on the lawn.

P1110112

P1110113

The trail also went through the rain forest along a creek, very green, dark, and mossy. Although this area receives 120 inches of rain per year we managed to come on a clear dry day.

Olympic National Park, South Beach Campground

On our way back to the car we saw this interesting couple and their cat.

P1110114

Along the scenic loop drive we spotted a couple cars pulled off the road and people holding their tablet computers up to take pictures. We thought there must be deer or some other wildlife, but as we passed I spotted this huge waterfall set back off the road and barely visible. Of course I made Jim screech to a halt and park. I’m so glad we didn’t miss this, although it wasn’t mentioned in the brochure we had. I did find the name on the map, Merriman Falls, 40’ high and quite picturesque.

P1110118

P1110119

P1110124

This morning at 8 there was a ranger walk to the tide pools at Ruby Beach, 10 miles north. Jim and Kim didn’t make it, opting to sleep in to get their beauty rest, but Chuck, Carla, Debbie and I, and 50 or so of our closest friends, had the pleasure of getting to see this gorgeous beach on a rare clear morning.

We knew it would be good when we got this glimpse from the trail to the beach.

P1110138

Our group, heading out to the rocks.

P1110142

I lagged behind taking photos.

P1110141

The deactivated Destruction Island Lighthouse is visible about 3.5 miles away.

P1110147

P1110148

As we approached the rocks the ranger pointed out a bald eagle. He flew off as we got closer.

P1110150P1110154

We learned a lot of interesting facts about the sea creatures that get exposed during low tides.

A wall of sea stars.

P1110158

Anemones.

P1110162

It really was a glorious morning on the beach.

P1110167

By the time we got back the fog had rolled in, but we went for a walk anyway.

Someone built this elaborate hut out of driftwood.

P1110177

After the walk we spotted an RV leaving one of the prime sites by the water. Jim quickly drove the car over to hold it, and we moved the Lazy Daze to its new home for a couple days.

Now if only the fog would go away so we could actually see the Pacific out there.

P1110188

Ah, now that’s better.

DSCN0354

15 comments:

  1. Those early morning photos are just beautiful...worth setting an alarm. That is some leveling job you've got going there...hope Elvis keeps calm. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. How nice to finally see the sun (in your photos)!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks like prime real estate there! The clear glass water is beautiful on the morning beach walk. Even shared with your fifty friends, the hike looked wonderful :-).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice to see you're getting some clear, sunny days out there. We had mostly fog with just a few clearings. It sure is pretty when it clears up!
    Nina and Paul (wheelingit)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great beach photos, Gayle! Looks like you guys have a great spot!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow what a campsite! Is there a water take on? Or how did you manage that and the dumpsite thing? I love Olympic National Park, any hike any where. Your pictures are gorgeous of the hike, the waterfall and your morning at the beach. Great eagle catches. I've always wanted to spend a night or two or three or....... at Lake Quinault Lodge. Croquet on the lawn, love it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a gorgeous area. I would loveto hike through a rainforest.

    Your hike on Ruby Beach reminds me of our hike to Haystack Rock in Oregon. The sea life was amazing to see. You two got some awesome photos. Great job.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Beautiful pictures of the beach, especially the first view of Ruby Beach. Excellent score on the water front site. All you need now is an off shore flow.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's a national park we have never visited. Hope we make there some day. It is beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh my it is beautiful over there! We'll be heading for Hoquiam after we leave Sequim and will be near enough to Quinault Lake that we'll head up there for some hiking...looks wonderful! Looks like you got a perfect glassy morning on the beach! Nice spot!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Boy, you couldn't have asked for nicer weather along the coast for your hike and ranger walk. The stillness is gorgeous. Hope cool that the fog lifted around the lighthouse. Enjoy that beautiful Pacific view. Hope the fog participates:)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Glad you got some spots at South Beach. We loved our time there!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sure hope it's this nice when we get there! Beautiful photos from your walk to Ruby Back.

    ReplyDelete
  14. How beautiful, looks like a fine place to walk all day...and then again the next day.

    ReplyDelete