Out of all the National Parks that I have visited, my favorite so far has been Mount Olympic National Park in the Pacific North West. Crystal clear lake water surrounded by tall evergreen trees all year round, Olympic peninsula is one of a kind. City of Port Angeles borders the Mount Olympic National Park and is right about 3 hours from Seattle which includes both drive and ferry. There are so many scenic spots in this huge park but we were very limited because our visit was just about two days. Nevertheless we still tried to make the most out of our short trip.
Rain forests have never failed to fascinate me and therefore I was inclined towards visiting the Hoh Rain forest by Forks. As we made our way to the rain forest, we drove past Lake Crescent and enjoyed magnificent views of the rainbow while it rained and shined. We did stop by for a couple of beautiful pictures with the backdrop of mountains, rainbow and lake. As we got closer to the rain forest, our roads were covered with huge trees and we wondered if the trees talked and shared with each other just like us. It was such a memorable drive which finally led us to the rain forest area. It started raining heavily as we got ready to hike with our rain jackets and hiking boots.
I did read that rain forests are the most beautiful and green while it’s actually raining and I was lucky to experience it as well. The heavy rain did not stop us from exploring the trails of Hoh. The Hall of Mosses was the first loop we hiked and it appeared to be a rain forest right out of a fairy-tale jungle. The giant trees covered with Mosses reminded me of the jungles in the story of Rapunzel when she first stepped out of her castle. I also for a moment felt like stepping into the upside down world of stranger things. It really looked animated and lush. As we made our way through the trails we appreciated the fall colors of the forest. It was a perfectly rainy fall afternoon. As we made our way back getting lost through the trails looking for Salmon fishes in the river, we were ready to go spend a night at out farm house at the Acardia Inn.
We stayed at the Llama room at the Acardia Inn and I was beyond excited to wake up early in the morning to explore the farm house Airbnb. Early in the morning, we enjoyed the fresh organic eggs from the farm for breakfast. Our Airbnb owner Gail had about 70 pets in total in her farmhouse including 2 Llamas, 3 horses, 5 dogs, 10 sheep, 20 goats and 30 hens. The sheep shelter was right next to our room and we really enjoyed feeding them the pallet food provided to us by Gail. I also did a farm house tour with her in the morning where she showed around the barn where she fed horses, goats and chickens. It was such a lovely sight and it was great to learn so much from Gail about the WOOF program where visitors from all over the world come to help her with her farm and barn work. I wish I could experience that someday too. Gail was so generous that she also gave away 2 dozen of eggs from her farm for us to take home.
As we checked out of our extraordinary Airbnb, we made our way to the lake trail of the Olympic Peninsula. As the roads were closed due to floods from heavy rainfall, we just hiked a short trail with gorgeous water views alongside the lust green forests. Running out of time we returned back from half way along the trail towards the lake, nevertheless I really enjoyed the precarious trails while it started to drizzle. It felt great to be so close to Mother Nature and I really cherished my short visit to the Olympic National Park. It was much more beautiful that what I had imagined and it caught me by surprise. I will definitely return back to enjoy the parts of the park that I missed this time.
Which is your favorite National Park? Please share, I would love to read!
Every time I go to Seattle to visit my Aunt, it seems like a new adventure each time. This time round the reason for the visit was my mom and aunt’s reunion. Our trip was short but yet such a fulfilling family reunion. All we did was enjoy homemade delicacies, chit chat and shop. Although I was born and brought up in India, Seattle has been my home away from home because of my lovely aunt and adorable uncle. Their love is unconditional and I am lucky to have them in my life.
One of the days of our visit, we decided to go hike the rattle snake ridge which is about 45 mins away from where my Aunt lives. Weather being nice, there were lots of people around the lake kayaking along the shores, camping by the water and swimming in the lake. As we sat down by the lake, clicked a few pictures and enjoyed the fresh fruits and nuts by the lake. We started to get ready for our uphill hike to the Rattle Snake ledge which was a 2 mile uphill hike with an elevation gain of 1000 feet.
At first I was a little nervous as I started to get short of breath walking uphill. But walking at my own pace and taking stops where ever I needed to rebound, helped me get up to the top. As we walked through the hill cut sides surrounded by tall trees, the path seemed more and more challenging. Our motivation for the hike was the glorious view of the turquoise blue Rattle Snake Lake from the top of the ledge. As we kept going up and up, we would ask the other hikers who made their way down about how much more we had to climb and at last I was very happy to hear that we were almost there.
After reaching the top, I really forgot all about how tired I was and got immersed into the crystal blue color of the lake surrounded by the gorgeous mountains. The boats in the river appeared really tiny from far above the sea level. We sat by the edge of the rocks for quite some time and enjoyed our picture break from all the hiking uphill. After enjoying to the fullest, we walked back down which was relatively very easy compared to climbing up. It took as about 2 hours both ways, probably just half hour downhill and the rest of it up hill.
As we reached down by the lake, we bundled up together for family pictures and absolutely loved the day. We tried to capture each and every moment of us all being together. I did learn a lesson contemplating how at times the path might get tedious but the results make it all worthwhile. So instead of giving up, we should just keep going at our own pace working hard, one day we will definitely be able to reach to our destination and it will be all worth it that day. Sometimes travel teaches us surprise lessons!
By now you all know how much I love hiking and being out in the nature trails. I thoroughly enjoyed trekking the El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico which is the only tropical rain forest in the United States. The jungle is located few meters above the sea level so we had to drive through winding roads to reach one of the parking spots to catch the trail. We also stopped to enjoy delicious coconut water on our way up to the forest. We decided to take the La Mina trail which took us to the La Mina falls. It was a challenging trail and although it was just a mile each way, the uphill walk made it seem longer.
It was totally worth it when we reached the gorgeous La Mina waterfall. The tourists enjoyed taking a dip in the icy cold water while the warm weather around kept them comfortable. I couldn’t resist myself from getting into the water and enjoyed the dip amidst the slippery rocks. After our hike, we quenched our thirst with the refreshing lemonade right where we started our hike.
On our way back we stopped at the magnificent Luquillo beach which was about 20 minutes of drive from the forest. The beach was beautiful with the rain forest in the back drop. The beautiful tall coconut trees made the beach all the more beautiful. I watched the kids enjoy digging sand in the beach while sipping on my mouth-watering virgin Pinacolada. After a short walk along the beach we ended up having the most delicious italian dinner at Pasta y Pueblo which was a little restaurant by the beach. They were giving away free Margaritas on the occasion of Valentines Day and the their pesto pasta was one of the best I have ever had. Their menu was limited yet delicious. The day ended on a very sweet note when we munched on the chocolate cake on the house 🙂
Things to do:
Hiking the Rain Forest
Swimming in the beach
Take a dip in the waterfall
Places to eat:
Pasta y Pueblo( Italian)
After the day of camping at the Winding River Resort, we headed towards the Rocky Mountain National Park to explore the winding trails that led to breathtaking waterfalls, lakes and rivers. We started with the Adams Falls trail which was short steep uphill trail. We were very lucky to spot a Moose on our short way up the hilly terrain. The locals there told us that Moose is a really aggressive animal and very protective as a mother so all of us were very careful while watching the Moose enjoy in its natural habitat. We finally reached the Adam Falls which was beautiful and all worth the uphill hike.
After our hike, we relaxed and lounged by the magnificent Grand Lake which is the largest lake in Colorado at an elevation of 8000 feet. We geared up for our next trail after relishing the delicious Mexican lunch at the Grand Lake Downtown. Our next trail was full of wild yellow/white flowers and huge lush pine trees which led to the massive Colorado River flowing under the bridges. The weather was sunny and I enjoyed this trail the most.
We ended our day driving ten miles through the Rocky Mountains surrounded by alpine meadows, forests and creeks. By the end of the day we spotted about six Moose, ten Elks and so many deer and horses grazing grass in the lush meadows. It was so amazing to see the wildlife in the national park and not tied up in zoos. However one thing that we missed was the Mountain View from the Trail Ridge road which leads to the highest peaks of Rocky Mountain National park. It was closed due to the recent snow storm in Colorado and we had to make our way back after reaching up there. Have you recently hiked National Park. Which one is your favorite? I would love to know!