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14 Hours in Olympic National Park

The first micro-adventure of the year finally came on a sunny mid-January day, and you would be hard pressed to find two people more determined to make the most of our day off.

By: Katherine Haveman + Save to a List

We left Edmonds at 5am with high spirits as we drove south to our first stop of the day, High Steel Bridge. Two and a half hours of driving brought us outside of Shelton as we veered onto a forest road just as the first breaking of pre-dawn light graced our presence. Up we climbed among the logging roads until we stepped out into the chilly morning air for our first look at Vance Creek.

Instantly, a rare flash of vertigo strikes us, as we peer through the dim to see the creek crashing through the gorge dozens of feet below us. The feeling ebbs as the sky lightens and we explore the area with due caution. 

It didn’t take long before our fingers and toes were numb with cold and we climbed back into the car, only to be enticed out by the rising sun moments later. 

Next stop was Mt. Storm King, but we had a long way to go before reaching our destination. Cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway we stopped at what seemed to be every dock, pier, park, and little ocean town that showed itself through the windshield. Each time, a heavy fog blanketed the Sound, and I wished desperately for a thermos of hot chocolate that would have completed the heavy morning scene. 

We stopped at Farm’s Reach Cafe, a lucky find not too far out of the way, and this cute cafe was definitely the missing piece to the road trip experience. I’m no food photographer, but if I were, I would find a way to express with pictures how amazing the food was, because words just aren’t cutting it. 

Eventually we make it to Olympic National Park and we scurry up to the summit of Mt. Storm King. We were stunned at how little snow blanketed the trail, after all, I’m used to Mt. Baker being under more than 100 inches of snow at this very moment, but luckily for us, the views didn’t need a snowy dusting to complete them. 

After a refreshing hike we made our way to Marymere Falls to see some beautiful ice formations. This was great and all, but we’d taken our share of spills on the icy path and were starting to feel the weight of the day drag our enthusiasm back to Earth. 

We had still planned on another hour drive to Rialto Beach for sunset, but we could tell, in this race against the sun, there is no way we would win. Instead, we considered the day thoroughly seized, and took the Kingston Ferry back to Edmonds, clocking in at 8pm.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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