Monday June 11 2018. I awoke to something rarely seen and spoken about in hushed tones in Washington…….the sun! My tent positively glowed as my eyes opened in Bogachiel State Park. This was a first and I got up to enjoy every bit of it. I had a quick breakfast and broke camp. I also saw a blue jay one of my favourite birds and colours. I could tell already this would be a good day.
I got started at about 8:30 AM, much better than my previous performances. The cycling, and I, felt good.
I would pass through 2 separate Native American Reservations- The Hoh and The Quinalt. I did not realize when I got to the coast that I would also pass through one of the Olympic National Parks. Many of these circumvent the Olympic Peninsula allowing the public to recreate in beautiful, protected areas.
I climbed up from Bogachiel River for awhile and then passed through pleasant-enough forest-lined roads. I also passed by the road to the Hoh Rainforest. I was disappointed I could not visit there as it would have been a definite highlight. It was just too far there and back considering the distance I had to travel today.
Perhaps it was the last few challenging days and ever present rain, but, when I cleared the forested area entering the Olympic National Park and saw the coastline of the Pacific Ocean I could have wept. It was so vibrant and beautiful. It was sunny and I felt great! This is what I had dreamed of when I got the idea to travel the Olympic Peninsula so many years ago.
I stopped at Ruby Beach and walked on the sand, listening to the squeal of thrilled children, the call of seabirds and the rhythmical crashing of waves. I was at peace. My mind was clear and my spirit soaring. I achieved the state I always hope to when I undertake these adventures. I lost track of how much time I spent there taking photos and just……being.
When I finally moved on I discovered another beautiful beach called Beach 4. I had the same experience and drank it in. I soon came to realize there were 8 beaches along this Olympic National Park. I would not be able to visit them all or I would camping on one of them tonight!
Halfway through the Olympic National Park I realized I was quite hungry and suddenly a lodge with a proper restaurant appeared. I really should have bought a lottery ticket today! I stopped in and the service and food were superb. I continued my scholarly research on the ales of the Pacific Northwest and even had an ice cream. There was also a well stocked store to pick up more food supplies. Everything I needed was here.
Realizing the day was slipping away, I rode through the remainder of the Olympic National Park and was saddened by my exit of it. However, the front view from my bike was not a bad thing.
I returned to forested, inland road and peddled away happily with the memories I had just made. I was again taken aback when I got my views of Quinault Lake surrounded by forest only briefly allowing views. I got to Amanda Park but my final destination was a few miles past this very small village. I turned left off the highway and was immediately enveloped by green. Temperate Rainforest! It smelled wonderful. About 3 miles in I pulled into Willaby Campground my destination for the night. It was easily the most beautiful campground I had ever been in. Secluded sites with plenty of space and within old growth forest as it slopes toward and affording views of Quinault Lake. My campsite had an overlook with a log overlooking the lake. A perfect spot to enjoy some tea (Evelyn would be proud) contemplating life.
I made another freeze-dried meal and this one was very palatable. Three bean chilli.after dinner I had time to complete an adjacent Rainforest educational loop hike. This place had it all. The hike was gorgeous and inspired a few photos.
I finally went down to the beach in the campground as the last of the light provided some colour to the sky. I took a few photos and drank in the last of what had truly been…..a gift. Life does have it’s challenges and I certainly experienced a few over the past few days. I did start to wonder if this trip really would be worth the effort and not just a big mistake. No….just one perfect day…..a gift…..restored my faith in this trip and in myself. I consider myself blessed.
All good things, however, must come to an end. I was smiling broadly as I zipped the tent closed that night.