2001: Washington

Olympic National Park



We've left Oregon behind and traveled our longest distance ever in one day, 270 miles hauling the trailer from Astoria, Oregon into Washington state. With an early start and good roads, we made good time despite an extra measure of caution. As Mike pointed out, we've been averaging one accident per state, so beware those border crossings!

Alone at last.

Our destination was Port Angeles, Washington, the closest U.S. connection point to Victoria, B.C. Outside town, nestled up against Olympic National Park, we found a charmingly rustic but strangely deserted camp. For a while we thought we might have checked into the Bates RV Park, but Norman never showed up, and we spent a mostly-quiet week (if you don't count highway noise) with the place practically to ourselves.

We drove an hour to the southwest for an unpleasant and disappointing hike in the Hoh Rain Forest, one of three rainforest pockets in the national park. Disappointing because once you've seen the California redwoods, even the biggest Douglas firs aren't so impressive; and unpleasant because the place was mobbed with jabbering hikers and rowdy families, shattering the tranquility of the forest.

But I shouldn't grouse. We've seen so much beautiful country and tasted ample serenity in many majestic forests along the way. Jaded, perhaps? Anyway, the rainforest was interesting because it vividly demonstrates the effects of all that Washington rain.

More gratifying than the rainforest was the discovery of Lake Crescent, just five miles from our park. A 600-foot-deep mountain lake carved by glaciers, it has the clearest, bluest water I've ever seen. We took a short hike in a nearby forest, enjoying the solitude, and we walked alongside the lakeshore marveling at the crystal water. At one viewpoint, the branches of a fallen tree could be seen many feet down.