Monday, May 21, 2018

Adventures on the Olympic Peninsula

Top of Mt Storm King overlooking Lake Crescent

I have been so busy these past 2 months, I haven’t had time to sit down and write a full blog post. My last post was about snow camping that happened in beginning of March. Since then, I backpacked Ancient Lakes a couple weeks later for our annual spring backpacking trip (I was planning on doing a write up on this, but decided against it. It was our 3rd trek out there, so if you want more info, read my previous 2 blog posts about the area here), and then April kicked off my month of “too many trips planned”.
Don’t get me wrong, each trip was a blast and I loved visiting all the places I went, but traveling takes a toll on your body, especially with the extreme time differences! Within 3 weeks I traveled to Hawaii, Hong Kong, and Idaho. I spent the first week of April in Hawaii celebrating my big 3-0. Then 6 days later I flew to Hong Kong for a week to hang out with my mom for her birthday; and less than 48 hours after I landed from Hong Kong, I jetted to Idaho to celebrate my best friend’s bachelorette. I racked up a lot of air miles, got to spend a lot of quality time with friends & family, and stuffed my face with amazing food! I am still debating if I want to do write ups on Hawaii and Hong Kong, but for now let me share with you my trip to the Olympic Peninsula from the other weekend.
Trip Date: Friday May 11 – Sunday May 13, 2018
Places visited: Lake Crescent, Mt Storm King, Marymere Falls, Forks, and Second Beach out near La Push
Places Camped: Heart O’ the Hills Campground & Second Beach
Miles Hiked: Mt Storm King & Marymere Falls 6 miles R/T, and Second Beach 1.8 miles R/T
Permits needed: an overnight permit is needed to camp at Second Beach $8/night per person. America the Beautiful Park Pass. Heart O' the Hills was $20/night to camp, first come. 
 I originally wanted to backpack Colchuck Lake this weekend. It was the last weekend before the permitting season starts for the Enchantments. But I made a change of plans due to Tizzy being in town, it was her last weekend in Washington, and she had not yet been to Olympic National Park. So I kept my eye on the weather all week, spoke with some friends, and plans started taking shape when we all knew the weather forecast was looking like solid blue sky days out on the peninsula for the weekend.

Friday May 11, 2018
I worked a full day in Bothell before I booked it to Lynnwood to meet Cody & Tizzy, so we could load up the car and catch the Edmonds/Kingston ferry to the peninsula. Plans were to meet our friend Lindsay at the ferry terminal and take the same boat over. Well of course our plans of catching the 5:25 pm ferry didn’t work out due to traffic and the ferry wait time being 90 minutes, and we showed up at 5:00 pm for the ferry. But we eventually caught the 7:00 pm ferry (yes 2 ferries came and went before we were able to get on one), and we got to Heart O’ Hills Campground a little after 9:00 pm. (Note to self: add in ferry wait time into your commute. Here is the link to the Edmonds/Kingston ferry schedule)
We met Sarina at Heart O’ Hills Campground. She had headed out to the peninsula earlier in the day with her sister to hike around and I told her I’d camp with them, so she was nice enough to save us a camp spot! We set up camp, chatted around the campfire, and headed to bed around 11:00 pm that night.

Saturday May 12, 2018
We had an early wakeup call Saturday morning. I originally wanted to hike Mt Storm King for sunrise, but since we got in so late, we didn’t want to get up THAT early. So we settled on waking up around 6:00 am. Cody, Tizzy, Lindsay, and I woke up, packed up camp, and hit the road for the Storm King trailhead. We pulled in a little before 7:30 am to an empty parking lot besides one car. (Note to self: Storm King is not a popular sunrise hike, Kaelee also mentioned to me the mountain faces the wrong way for a good sunrise) Once we started hiking we did pass 2 groups coming down who had started around 6:30 am.

The hike up Mt Storm King is steep the entire way. There didn’t seem to be any flat spots! It’s 2065 ft of gain in 2.35 miles. Once you are near the end of the hike, you come across a sign that reads “End of maintained trail”. From there it becomes more of a ridge hike with drop-offs. Then you get to the rope parts. There’s some sketchy ropes tied to trees that you can hold on too to get yourself up. They are so sketchy looking, but also very helpful. Tizzy, Lindsay, and I made it slowly up the roped route, and made it to the top of Storm King! Did we question ourselves on the way up? Yes, yes we did. Were the views worth it? Yes, yes they were. We had the summit to ourselves for a good 40 minutes before others started showing up. We took a ton of photos, ate some snacks, and headed back down.
Marymere Falls actually starts at the same trailhead as Storm King. So after Storm King, we veered left of the trail and hiked to see Marymere Falls (about 10 min from the Storm King junction). The fall was bigger than expected! After we finished, we hit the road for Forks, WA. Once at Forks we grabbed some great Mexican food at a hole-in-the-wall spot before we hit the coast. It was called Taqueria Santa Ana, you should definitely check them out if you’re in the area!
Mt Storm King hike starts here
Lake Crescent peaking out through the trees
One of the sets of ropes leading to the top! Go Lindsay Go!
Lindsay on top of the last section to the viewpoint of Storm King
Almost there
Marymere Falls

Second Beach 
We got to the Second Beach parking lot in the early afternoon. The lot was full, so we parked in the overflow lot, which had plenty of space. (FYI: the sign is knocked over for the overflow lot, it’s the grass field you first pass before you get to the Second Beach lot) We loaded up our packs and hit the trail. Per WTA, the hike down to the beach is 2 miles, but it felt way shorter than that, more like less than a mile one way. It took us maybe 20 minutes, before we saw the beach. As we headed out, I took some advice from an IG follower, and we collected some branches and wood on our hike out to use to start our fire for the night. Fires are allowed on Second Beach and you can forage and use driftwood to burn. Only downside is driftwood tends to be really smoky and wet, but it works for a fire nonetheless. I think the hardest part of this hike was climbing over the giant driftwood trunks once you hit the sand and the ocean. But it's a short struggle and then you're there with the endless ocean in front of you! 
We went left and set up camp not too far from where we entered. We thought we set ourselves far enough back when high tide hit, but the tide kept us on our toes until midnight that night lol. More about high tide later. After we set up camp, we spent the rest of the day soaking up the sun, walking the beach, taking photos, collecting driftwood for our fire, and just enjoyed the beauty of Mother Nature.

So before we headed out for this trip, I took a screenshot of the tide chart for La Push. Well I should have looked more into Second Beach because high tide hit La Push sooner than Second Beach and we were worried the water was going to hit our tents! We waited till high tide came and went before we headed to bed. High tide btw was almost midnight that Saturday lol. By 10:30 pm the tide had smothered our fire and washed away our pit... So because of this we decided to unstake 2 of 3 of our tents and put them up on the logs just in case the water came up too high. Not to worry though, it never came that high, but tide was definitely inches away. Better safe than sorry!
Massive driftwood
Home for the night
Second Beach 
My trusty ol tent
Making new friends
Bear canister is needed when camping at Second Beach 
Yoga pose at golden hour
Our camp setup
Practicing night photography 
Cody and the night sky 
My best night shot that weekend!

Sunday May 13, 2018
We all woke around 8:00 am, took in the morning views, had some coffee and packed up camp. We hit the road for Seattle around 10:30 am that morning. Traffic was AWFUL going home from the peninsula. Lindsay ended up 45 minutes ahead of the car I was in, due to us stopping for food. But she warned us the Kingston/Edmonds and Bainbridge ferry both were saying they had 2 hour waits... so we decided to drive down and around. Well that took forever and eventually made it back to the Seattle area around 3:30 pm. (Dear state of Washington, who closes down the i5 freeway to one lane, midday on Mother's Day?!)

Overall, it was such a fun and event-packed weekend with amazing weather! Made me fall in love with the Olympics a little more.

Until next time Olympics!
Morning views
Tizzy and her morning coffee
The girls and I packed up and ready to head out!
Goodbye Second Beach!