We had to stop at the Port Angeles visitor center for backcountry camping permits for Olympic National Park, and we chose a spot I heard great things about that was along the Pacific Ocean coast. It was called Rialto Beach. We also rented a bear canister, because they are required for most of the camping areas. We took our time getting there, enjoying sites we passed along the way in the park. There was a scenic drive called Hurricane Ridge that was absolutely gorgeous and overlooked the mountains. We could even see Canada from an overlook!
After that, we drove on highway 101 past Lake Crescent, which was a gorgeous drive. We stopped at a picnic area along it and ate tuna and avocado sandwiches we made, and two ducks really wanted to help us eat them. We were a bit pressed for time since we got a late start, so we continued after that to Rialto Beach. We passed a sign that said it was the most Northwestern point in America, so this is definitely the most NW we have ever been.
When we got to Rialto, it dropped about 14 degrees and was no longer a sunny day. The haze was thick, and the wind was strong. It was absolutely amazing. There were whole, huge trees all along the beach that apparently were just driftwood that ended up there. The sand was black, and mostly little pebbles (or big stones, depending on which part you walked along). We organized our packs, and began our walk 1.5 miles to the backcountry campsite “Hole in the Wall.” We didn’t really know what we were looking for, but just knew we had to walk along the shore to get there. The stone peaks jutting out of the water were just incredible looking, and the fog really gave the place an eerie feeling.
It was a fun and challenging walk, being that the ground was sand or stone, or you had to jump up and down over trees along the path. We even got to the Hole in the Wall (a cutout in the stone that was accessible at low tide) and went past it, unknowing we could’ve camped much closer than we were. We turned back and found a nice little spot with the flattest ground we could locate. We set up the tent and made dinner, then sat on the beach and ate as we took in our surroundings. After that, we waited for the sun to set (though we couldn’t see it through the fog) and set out to do some LED hoop pictures. We shot for an hour and a half, and finally went to bed.
The next morning around 10 we hiked back to the car another 1.5 miles and then drove into the town of Forks for some lunch. The town as well as the surrounding area were where they filmed the movie Twilight, so there is a lot of touristy things centered around that. We ate at a Chinese restaurant, and they had cardboard cutouts of the movie stars amongst their Chinese decorations, which was pretty funny. We then drove to the Hoh Rain Forest, and found a spot at one of the campgrounds.
We walked along the river we camped by for a bit, but I was very tired, so I set up my hammock for a mid-day nap and Grant read on the Kindle. When I woke up, we took the Pendleton to a grassy spot in the sun but kept hearing thunder rolling towards us and saw darkness in the distance, so we decided to get our belongings organized in case it rained all night and we had to set up while wet. It began to rain eventually, but we were on a walk in our raincoats and considered it really pleasant. It was still sunny and warm enough for it to be refreshing. The rain forest is awe-inspiring, with lots of moss on tree branches and ferns coating the ground. We took some LED hoop photos amongst the mossy trees, and we are really proud of the work we’ve been doing. It isn’t easy to keep up with and not always what we would like to be doing once it gets dark, but we are determined to make the photo series a success.