I am not going to say that Olympic National Park is not a beautiful place because it is. So at the risk of sounding like a travel snob, I will say this….. We have seen better. Olympic is a very diverse place mostly as a result of its size. This is a very big park. We pretty much drove around the circumference of the park, which took about 8 hours. And you have to drive around the circumference of the park because there are no roads within the park that connect one area to the next. Getting around this park takes a lot of driving and a lot of time. For me the effort to reward math was not adding up. The main attraction for us was going to The Hoh rainforest which is a temperate rain forest, filled with old growth, pines, firs, and maples.
I will say it again. It was beautiful, however it was lacking something and we all new what it was. It was the smell. No it did not smell bad. It smelled like one would expect a lush forest to smell like. However we have been to Redwoods National Park and seen giants stands of sequoias in Santa Cruz and in other coastal spots that blow this forest away and the main reason is the smell. It is hard to describe the smell of a stand of redwood or sequoia trees, but it is pretty awesome. The Hoh rain forest lacked that. One of our other stops in the park was to Hurricane Ridge. At 6500 feet in elevation we were not very high up, but the perspective made it feel more like 12,000 feet. We were literally in the clouds. We were able to snap a few quick pics before being totaled enveloped in the passing clouds that were so thick you could taste them on your tongue. It was a pretty unique experience. We also visited the Pacific shoreline areas from Ruby Beach to Kalosh. Again, here comes another travel snob remark, but we have seen better. The rocky and wild extremes of the coast in Oregon and places like Big Sur were much more inspiring. I will fully admit that we took in a tiny slice of this park and I am sure this there is more to be seen. It is a great place to get a taste of several different biospheres and totally different geology all in one place. It’s just that we have had a taste of all of these aspects and there are better samplings to be had elsewhere. Albeit not in one park. Damn. I really feel like an over privileged first world white snob. I am sorry. Just trying to keep it all honest.