Sunday, July 28, 2013

Camping in Olympic National Park

We were busy this summer with the house, doctors appointments and so much more and I wanted to make sure we still had fun and had a vacation so I planned a camping trip for us as John's birthday present. We packed everything up in our small rental and headed to Olympic National Park and Kalaloch Campground for two nights of camping. It was our first camping trip with the kids and they were super excited!

Our GPS got us incredibly turned around as it kept trying to get us to take the ferry when we just wanted to drive around. Finally, when we were right in front of the ferry line (not by choice) we decided to take the ferry route and were so glad we did! The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever and it provided beautiful scenery. The drive ended up being slightly longer but it was much more scenic and well worth it!

We stopped by this lake to make ourselves some PBJ sandwiches and have a quick lunch. So gorgeous!

We then made it to our campground and found our site and set up for the stay. We had a smaller area for our tents surronded by trees and then a little path to the the cooking/eating area. It was perfect for us. The kids loved setting everything up!

Our campground was Kalaloch and it was right on the beach. There are some sites on the cliff side with beach views but they are reserved long in advance. Once we were all set up we decided to venture our and explore the beach. It was beautiful! The beach was covered with driftwood that at high tides you have to be very careful and they recommend not going down. Thankfully we had low tide and instead got to walk and play on the driftwood and had so much fun. It was beautiful!

We then headed back to our campsite and got the fire started and the kids made themselves their dogs followed by s'mores. Graham loved cooking his own food an would constantly try to make more hotdogs even if he wasn't hungry only to cook in the fire. 

After dinner we headed back down to the beach to watch the sunset....

Then we attempted to get everyone to bed. Our plan was one kid and one adult in each tent however Graham was crazy! He was acting all sleepy and ready for bed and then he got in the tent and was wild. He just ran around and bounced from side to side and was insane. Eventually I gave up trying to get him to settle down in our tent and thought if we were all together I would have the backup of John and he would see Peyton falling asleep. It took awhile but we all finally fell asleep!

The next morning after breakfast we headed to the Hoh Rainforest to do a hike there.  It was amazing to see how huge the trees were and also the depiction of how much rain it receives every year. We opted for about a two mile loop hike and the kids loved looking at the informative plaques and finding different tree species and it was really informative. 

The best part of the hike was when we came across the Hoh River. The river's path changes yearly and it was really interesting to see how it has moved. When we came across it's current path it was breathtaking. We stopped to explore and had our lunch here.

My favorite picture of the entire trip!

We finished up our hike and then headed towards Forks, now known as the town written about in the Twilight books, to get ice cream as well as some Twilight souvenirs for a friend and my sister. I was reading about the huge increase in tourism just since the books came out. The movie was never filmed there but it is in the book and there was so much Twilight stuff around! There was a Twilight tour to show you the school, hospital and a couple of other places, tons of souvenirs, the store that apparently Bella worked was pretty wild!

Truck similar to the one Bella drives in the book and movie
After our stop in Forks we drove out to the most Western point of the continuous United States called Cape Flattery. I read it was a breathtaking hike and a little more difficult but easy enough for the kids. It was a long ways out and we had to stop to get a pass to be on the Indian Reservation but it was very much worth it. By the time we got out there it was a little foggy and misty but we went ahead and hiked the 2 miles round trip and the kids did great. Peyton was leader on the way in and Graham on the way out and they rocked the trail. At the end you came across amazing views of the cliffs and ocean.

Apparently on clear, calm days you can see whales but not on that day but it was still very worth the hike. We headed back to our campsite and had dinner and went to bed pretty tired that day. The kids had a hard time falling asleep again but it didn't take as long and they were out. 

We woke up for our last day and packed up everything and then headed out for one last hike in the park. We had the intention of doing a 4 mile one knowing we would be carrying kids more and take our time for lunch in the middle but everyone was tired, and at 1 mile we were all done. So we just turned around, packed it up and drove back to Bellingham. It was still worth the drive and hike as we drove really deep into the park and the scenery was amazing.

Our first camping trip exceeded our expectations and we had so much fun. We loved the time as a family, loved the hikes and exploring and it was wonderful. We look forward to going back to the Olympic National Park and exploring more. As we were driving home we were looking up bigger tents, possible locations for next year and planning our next camping trip. We are so thankful to be in a state that has so many possibilities for camping and look forward to exploring many of them. As of now our plan is to camp on the San Juan Islands next year at Moran State Park. I am already checking weekly to see when it opens up for reservations in July! 

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