August 31st – Olympic National Forest

     Time to get back on the road! I am supposed to be going east, toward Idaho, which is the next state on my list. But I heard a lot of great things about the Olympic National Forest, so I decided to take a small (100 mile) detour.

     I left Edmonds this morning and took the ferry across Puget Sound to the Olympic Penninsula. I remember taking a ferry when I was eight years old and being thrilled with the experience. This time it didn’t have the same magic. I was grateful for the ferry and glad that I could get across the water, but it wasn’t quite as special as I remembered. Get on the boat, cross the bay and then you’ll good to go on your way.

     When I did arrive on the other side, I got on highway 101 and drove to Hurricane Ridge. The clouds were out in full force today, so I didn’t get to see too much of the valley below. The mountains were also hazy. The clouds themselves were quite impressive though. I am used to looking at them from below, not above!

     Driving down the mountain was my favorite part. I got to drive through the cloud layer, with huge trees on each side of me. It felt like I was in the J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth!

     Then, while I was still driving through part of the clouds, a deer stopped by to say hello! Well, to be more accurate, I was driving by the deer and it posed politely while I took a picture.

     When I got down the mountain, I started heading west toward the Hoh Rainforest. I had found a free campsite online and was eager to check it out. Along the way, I ran into some road work that kept the road closed for about half an hour near Lake Crescent. I was prepared this time (after my two-hour delay on the drive through Oregon) and spent the time reading.

     I arrived in the Hoh Rainforest around 5 P.M. and I found the campsite I had read about. However,  the two camping spots I could see were both occupied. I figured it was just a bummer and I’d have to go somewhere else. But the river looked incredibly beautiful so I decided to get out anyway and walk alongside it for awhile. Shortly after beginning my walk, I found that there was a third site! So I walked back to my car, pulled out my tent, and setup camp. And here I am, camping on the bank of the Hoh River, for free!


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