It was more than we expected. Much more.
Oregon always held a special place in our heart after our previous Pacific Northwest road trip, so my expectations were subdued for it’s northern neighbour. I’m sorry Washington state, but most of what we knew about you was “it always rained in Seattle.”
However with the 10th anniversary of the first Twilight novel coming up and a long deferred desire to visit the famous town of Forks, we had the motivation and means to make a b-line to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
What we discovered was spellbinding – majestic rainforests, rivers, lakes, beaches and mountains. Nature’s wonderland. Too many times I found myself speechless, staring with mouth gaping, staggered by the magnitude of Olympic National Park.
The only way I could think of encapsulating this experience was a series of photographs which captured the essence of this destination’s divinity.
Oh, and don’t forget… the world’s freakiest beach is here. As voted by me.
1. Rialto Beach
Rialto is a public beach located on the Pacific Ocean, near the mouth of the Quillayute River near La Push. It’s a coastal forest with a spooky tree graveyard littering the shoreline. To top off the eerie ambiance, wafting clouds emanated out of the ocean, like ghosts searching for new hosts. The salty air was thick and calm, no tree dare moved. I could see why it made the perfect backdrop to a fictitious vampire story. A symbolic marriage of death and beauty. This is hands-down the freakiest beach in the world.
2. Salmon Cascades
Now to a more butterfly-and-sunshine theme – happy jumping fish. We had never seen salmon returning home to spawn and this was a remarkable opportunity. Primarily in late September and early October coho from the Pacific enter the Sol Duc River by means of the Quillayute River and leap, with great determination, over the cascades en route to their desired spawning grounds. And then they die. Oh darn. Maybe not so cutsie after all.
3. Ruby Beach
Back on the topic of ghostly beaches, Ruby Beach takes spot #2 for the world’s spookiest beach. On the western outskirts of Olympic National Park, along the Pacific Ocean is a stretch of coastline called Olympic Wilderness. Ruby Beach is situated near the Hoh Indian Reservation, about 27 miles south of Forks. Another otherworldly tree graveyard, covered with large pebbles (don’t try sunbaking) and spectacular spooky scenery. No words necessary.
4. Hurricane Ridge
Deep in Olympic National Park is Hurricane Ridge rising to an elevation of 1,598 m (5,242 feet). It was quite the drive to the top of the mountain, but the views were more than worth it. We took a short hike to the highest lookout and soaked up the vista. Ahhh!
5. Lake Crescent
Situated along the main highway at the northern boundary of Olympic National Park, this vast yet tranquil lake will take your breath away.
6. Marymere Waterfall
A pleasant hike through mossy fern forests with green paths and colossal trees culminated with a 90-foot high waterfall. The enveloping lush, calm forest made us feel like a million miles from civilisation.
That’s a wrap
I think these 30 photos say more than enough. Mere words will only get in the way. I hope you feel inspired to visit this beautiful part of the world to experience it for yourself… if you dare.