Our family adventure this week was exploring part of Olympic National Park. The park is so big that couldn’t do it all in a day trip and that’s okay. We have a reason to go back and explore another day! Last summer we purchased an annual national park pass as a part of our trip to Yellowstone. We’ve used the pass to get into Craters of the Moon, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt. Rainier (multiple times), and now Olympic National Park. Our hope is to make it to North Cascades before our pass expires at the end of the summer. I’m the first to admit that I’ve never been a nature person, but I’ve grown in my outdoor appreciation (thanks in part to my enthusiastic husband and boys). I now think that national parks are pretty neat. I look forward to exploring more in the future!
Our day at Olympic National Park started at Kalaloch Beach. We stopped by the ranger station there so the kids could turn in their Ocean Steward booklets and get their badges. We also picked up the Junior Ranger booklets for ONP so we could turn them in at the next ranger station. We had no clue what to expect at Kalaloch and we were so surprised by the cool rocks and tide pools. Being freshly appointed Ocean Stewards, our kids took looking around the tide pools very seriously. We discovered sea stars, anemones, mussels, acorn barnacles, and seals off shore.
After our time at the beach, we took off towards the Hoh Rainforest. This is where our plans slightly went off course. We didn’t expect the wait to enter the park. The parking lot was full, so the rangers were only letting a vehicle into the park once a vehicle left. Once we made it in, our first stop was the visitor center to get the boys their ONP Junior Ranger Badges. I love the National Parks Junior Ranger program. Our kids have so much fun with it (me too)! We did a hike through the Hall of Mosses. Visiting at another time of year might have been better. I appreciated the dry day in the rainforest, but our recent heat wave made the moss crispy. It wasn’t as lush as I remembered (from my middle school field trip two decades ago). The Hall of Mosses is a kid-friendly hike. My favorite kind of hiking includes limited/no incline and mostly just walking through shaded forest. The Hall of Mosses was right up my ally. Due to attitudes and the late time, we didn’t do the second hike. Again, it’s always good to have a reason to come back.
Our final stop on the way home was Ruby Beach. This beach had interesting rock features in and by the water. It was beautiful! It was a rocky beach with flat stones perfect for skipping. There was a little pond (or creek, I’m not sure) near the beach and our boys (including Jeremy) had fun skipping and throwing rocks. Because we had no beach expectations, the beaches were a highlight of the trip. They were so unique. We love exploring and discovering new places.
The end of our trip was a bit eventful. We had packed lunches, but didn’t have a plan for dinner. Our eating schedule was off. The long, winding drive back home was more than our tummies could handle. I got a touch of carsickness, but both of our boys threw up. After camping laundry at the beginning of the month and beach laundry last weekend, I thought for sure this day trip would mean less laundry upon arrival home. Nope. I was wrong. I got to spend the next day washing clothes, blankets, towels, and car seat covers. Oh well! It was a fun adventure even if it ended dramatically.
We keep checking activities off our summer bucket list. We’ll see where our next adventure takes us!
A few pictures not related to our ONP exploration: