From Sea to Shining Sea: Olympic National Park

Marmot Pass in Olympic National Park

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve made it.  10 parks and some 7,000 miles later, we have reached our final destination- Olympic National Park.  The journey has been long; it has spanned high mountains, low valleys, meadows, and rivers.  But we’re finally here.  I hope you’ve had as good a time as I have but for now, let’s just make this last stop a worthwhile one.  Washington State- Olympic National Park- here we come.

Poised on the crest of the Pacific Coast, 3,000 miles away from the mountain in Acadia we first saw the sunset, Olympic National Park has a rich history that encompasses thousands of years.  The area has been home to ancient natives, Indian tribes, and homesteaders of the 1800’s.  When you visit, it is no surprise that people would want to call it home.  This Pacific coast might not have the glamour of beaches in LA, but it still has the serenity we have come to expect from America’s national parks.

The diverse environment of the Olympic National Park is not only protected by the National Park service but has also been declared by the United Nations as an international biosphere reserve.  This might be because there are few places in the world that features so many interactions of environments.  The Olympic peninsula is home to rugged coast lines, sub-alpine forests and meadows, and temperate forests surrounded by a range of mountains.  Along the coast there are outcroppings of rocks called “sea stacks,” which are home to trees, birds, and many kinds of animals.

Beaches at Olympic National Park

To take a nice break from our weeks of volcanic adventures, some sea and sand might be a welcome relief.  The gorgeous beaches of Olympic National Park are free of the crowds common in other beach areas, so we will really get a sense of the natural beach environment.  Go ahead and beachcomb!  Find something cool and enjoy the glories of the Pacific.

And then, it’s time to look through the many types of forests.  It may be hard to believe, but Olympic National Forest is actually home to a rare temperate rainforest.  Due to the amount of rain the area receives yearly, the Hoh Rainforest has developed into a diverse environment open for exploration to visitors.  It may not be the Amazon, but it will certainly an adventure you never thought you’d have in the northwestern United States.

For the final conclusion to our epic journey, the best ending may be in driving up to Hurricane Ridge.  The drive up here summits the mountain range and culminates in a stunning view of the surrounding area- looking out on the Pacific Ocean, the beaches, and the beautiful mountains.  Take it all in guys.

And with that, we can pack up our bag, take off those worn out hiking boots and call it a day.  I’m sure our plane with take off in a few hours and we’ll head home.  But for now, think about how far we’ve come.  10 national parks.  10 weeks.  We’ve traveled over 7,000 miles and seen some pretty remarkable things.  Thanks everyone for coming along with me.  It was certainly the adventure of a lifetime.

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A Map of our Journey

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