Current location: Eureka, California
Miles traveled since last update: 1026+
Max miles traveled in one day on this leg: 280
Total miles traveled: 5300+
Not a lot of distance traveled in this last week, but a lot of great experiences were had!
I left Vancouver early last Sunday morning and after a few hours of driving, a quick ferry ride, and a few more hours of driving, I arrived in Olympic State Park in Washington State. It was a bit sad to leave Canada as there was so much more I had wished I could explore but I definitely had to pick up my pace a bit.
Olympic National Park
Take a look at all of my pictures from Olympic National Park here.
I've spent a short time in the Pacific Northwest but nothing like I was about to do. I arrived at the main info station for the park to inquire about a backcountry camping permit for the next couple nights. Even on a Sunday in the early afternoon the park was already pretty full in terms of campsites but I was able to get a remote site close to an area of the park that a good friend suggested near Lake Ozette. This park like many others I've visited recently are home to many bears. While some parks have bear boxes and other devices at each campsite to store your food and other items, Olympic requires you to use a bear canister. While it is nice they offer these on loan, they add a decent amount of size and weight to your bag. Not usually the biggest deal, but when you're on your own hiking over six miles to a remote site with everything you need for the next three days, it can be cumbersome. Still, it is of course always good to be safe, and this is the way they do things at this park. Also I needed to bring other things like a water filter or risk getting sick from drinking water directly from the river next to where I was camping.
Along with the bear can and the pack, I needed to be mindful of the tide. Part of my hike was on the beach and certain areas could only be crossed at low tide. Not only this, but to get to my site I also needed to ford a river (remember the game Oregon trail?!). Luckily my timing this day was perfect and I got to the river at just about low tide after a few hours hiking. I took off my boots and crossed fairly easily. No supplies or family members were lost like could happen quite often in the game!
I set up camp after a brief encounter with a wasps nest (thank the lord I am not allergic) and was able to catch an awesome sunset before heading to bed. Looking out at the ocean, I realized I was near the very edge of the west side of the continental US. I took a look at the map and confirmed. Pretty cool to be in this spot.
The next two days I had an entire section of the beach almost completely to myself. I watched the pacific tide go in and out several times and was in complete awe of the process. While the mornings were a bit cloudy and perfectly resembled the Seattle weather which many have described, it usually cleared up quite nicely. I spent equal time exploring the beach and relaxing. There is something to be said to be out in an area like this all by yourself. At one point I was walking along the beach, no music present at all, and felt the urge to dance, so I did. I twirled, jumped around and danced like a ballerina as if no one was watching (because no one was near me for miles). There is a lot of power in taking action when you feel the urge to do something, especially when that something is a cue from your body and/or your heart. Spontaneous movement is something I've been exploring lately and is another one of those things I hope to research and speak on more later.
Portland Oregon and Surrounding
I spent the next few days in the Portland Oregon area enjoying some amazing food and visiting with friends, the final night I spent camping at a lake in the Hood River area that was quite the gem. I hiked a trail with my friends who had brought me there to watch the sunset and it was one of the best I've seen so far on my journey. Oregon is quite the place and one I would consider living. Portland is a great city with close access to so many hikes, lakes, and scenes that you just can't get where I am from. Peep all my Oregon pics here.
Redwood National Park
The last few days I've been exploring the Redwood forests and I have to say that this area has been one of the top three stops on my journey. Walking through these forests with hulking trees that are hundreds (and even thousands) of years old is simply breathtaking. I walked extremely slow though these forests, took deep breaths of the fresh air every chance I got, and stood at the bases of the biggest trees in complete awe. It has the feeling of being in the times of the dinosaurs. If you take a look at some of the suggested ages of the largest trees (1500-2000 years old!!!) it almost breaks your brain to realize that these trees were around during the times of the Romans. Take a look at my photo set from the Redwoods area here along with some of my favorites below.
My next stop is the San Francisco Bay Area and figuring out my next moves and take a quick break from nature. There are lots of parks and great places to visit in this region and I need to pick wisely as I can't hit them all. Talk soon and thanks for reading!