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Discovering adventures in the PNW, exploring new sights and enjoying great food are some of our favorite things to do. This June we embarked on a 10-day quest to the northwest corner of the state of Washington. Here are some of the highlights of our epic journey.
One of our goals was to see the rainforest. Yes, a real rainforest. In the Pacific Northwest! This is not the tropical variety but it’s a temperate rainforest, chock full of some the lushest, moss-covered, fern-loaded, leafy, verdant forests.
In the Quinault Valley, we were surrounded by Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Mountain Hemlock, Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar as we regaled in the unspoiled splendor of creeks and waterfalls around almost every corner. The water and air in this part of the world are decidedly some of the most pristine we’ve ever experienced.
Turning toward the mighty Pacific ocean, an unexpected discovery in the Olympic National Park was Ruby Beach. This is not your swimsuit, sun-tanning beach destination. Characterized by its rugged, isolated location and by its many sea stacks, this stretch of coast is also a protected wildlife sanctuary. We arrived at low tide and were delighted with tide pools brimming with anemone, crab and sea stars. This is the perfect beach for you if you like exploring tide pools, sighting wildlife such as birds, otters, and whales, hiking and beachcombing. Ruby Beach is a perfect example of the remote wilderness and incomparable beauty of the PNW.
Another surprise was the Salt Creek Recreation Area located near Port Angeles. This area offered us stunning views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Victoria B.C. We recommend checking out the tide pools at Tongue Point Marine Life Sanctuary. Historic Camp Hayden offers some interesting facts about the area.
Of course, we treated ourselves to some of the distinctive cuisines of the PNW. Both Doogers and Pike Place clam chowders were checked off of our list, as was halibut and Copper River Salmon (the best!). Naturally, we indulged in some local craft brews, we recommend Stumptown Tart Belgian Style Ale.
We’ll wrap up this recap with a most spectacular destination, Hurricane Ridge. The slow, winding drive up to 5,242 feet teased us with glimpses of snow-capped mountain peaks along the way and then at the top opened up to a sweeping panoramic view of Mount Olympus and surrounding peaks. We hiked up to Sunrise Point through the pristine, unspoiled Olympic National Park wilderness.
Thanks for following along on our journey. See you on the trail.
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