It is almost shameful to admit that after seven years in Seattle the Olympic Mountains, that sit across the water from me, still remain a mystery. Over my time here I have heard their call and decided this needed to be rectified. One evening I made my move by suggesting to my husband that we make a New Years trip, invite the grandparents and maybe even get a date night out of it. Slipping a picture of a AirBnB house in front of him with a perfect view of the mountains in a quiet area he was sold.
We hopped a fairy to Kingston via Edmonds and a few minutes later we were waving goodbye to the Cascades and waving hello to the Olympics. My interest in the park lies in its mysteries. Around 35 million years ago the plates collide pushing up the seabed creating the mountain range. Proof of this lies in the fossils of sea life that are found near the summit.
Although our trip was way too short we found some amazing places that no one should miss.
Hurricane Ridge: Since we arrive just around New Years we found that many of the lodges were closing down after January 1s not to open again until April, the hot springs were closed due to something toxic found in the waters, and many roads were under snow. Hurricane Ridge was under 84″ of snow causing many cars to turn around due to lack of chains in their cars. Note to future self: Plan better. It was still worth the trip. The ranger station had a great interactive area for the littles to play in and rangers who could talk your ear off. That is a good thing in so many ways.
We pulled off on a scenic over look to play in the snow (instead of making all the way up to the sledding area) and get some great views without the pain of putting on chains and waiting the hours to get a spot to park.
Port Angeles Fine Art Center: The ranger station pointed us to a unique sculpture garden that was a hour of fun for all of us. Trails leading through a small wooded area lead to discoveries of engaging art around each corner. Now understand that the word engaging meant something a bit different to each of us in my group. Squirt ran through the trails with grandma thrilled to find each new discovery. My husband, Chewbranca, contemplated the what art actually is, Bubba tried to chew every branch that came near him (teething sucks), while my father-in-law lagged behind giggling over the fact that we felt like we were in the Blair Witch Project. Hey to each their own. It was great.
Pricilla’s Cruise in Cafe: We spend hours walking the port towns and eating. One cashier directed us to a cafe where we a musician was playing in the corner next to our table serenading us with his own unique brand of music including his own song “White Rasta, I Can’t Trust You” We found out that he was a cook at another place, Priscilla’s Cruise-In Cafe which has become one of my favorite restaurants worthy of its own spotlight on Diners, Drive ins, and Dives. Let’s just say the pineapple cream cheese omelette with green onions seeps into my dreams at night.
Our time was short, but this trip was more for wetting the whistle then anything else and it worked. A love affair has started and a trip is planned for the summer.
Have you ever been to the Olympic National Park? Any tips for future trips?