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Olympic National Park

When you look at a map of the United States paying particular attention to the state of Washington you will spot a piece of the land mass sticking North and West out into the Pacific Ocean and wrapping around Vancouver Island. Central to this butt of land is Olympic National Park. Preserving a pristine eco-system of high glacier capped peaks, glacier cut valleys, rain forests, and regular forests the park is one of the few in our country that is pretty much off limits to the majority of people. There are no roads across or through the park with only the 101 highway circling and a few roads jabbing into the outskirts.

Our first excursion into the park came in the form of a drive up Hurricane Ridge. The 17 mile road climbs steadily from sea level to 5600ft. At the top there are hiking trails and dramatic views of the interior park mountains. Stopping at a picnic area we were greeted by some un-afraid deer as we enjoyed the view.

Our second excursion into the park came after a 100 mile drive along the north end, through the town of Forks (living current fame as the home of the characters in the popular Twilight novels), and then down the western edge of the park to an area called the Hoh Rainforest. Because of its western facing setup and location along the Pacific Jet Stream this area averages 14 feet (yes feet) of rainfall each year.

Termed a “temperate rainforest” the environ allows for trees that normally only grow to 100 feet in height to reach 300 plus feet and massive trunk dimensions. Everything is then covered with moss, algae, and miscellaneous greenery creating a landscape of rich greens and thick forests.

With only two days of exploration we did not even scratch the tip of what is available at this park.

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