The landscape of the Pacific Northwest is immense, rugged, and powerful. Thundering tides jar and sculpt the rocky coast, massive snowy peaks thrust upwards to the heavens, and everything in between is shrouded under the canopy of some of the world’s largest trees. Our first introduction to this breathtaking ecosystem (three separate ecosystems to be more accurate) was Olympic National Park. A scenic three hours drive from Seattle, the visitor center in Port Angeles can get you all set up with permits, advice, and current conditions.
The first leg of our backpack would begin in the coastal region entering at the Three Mile Beach trailhead. From there you can stroll the windswept beaches, Discover sea life in the tide pools, and gaze at the impossible looking sea stacks scattering the coastline all while camping under the massive pines stretching nearly to the shore.
The second portion of our trip within the park took us to the Hoh Rainforest where wet air from the tumultuous Pacific below dumps 12 to 14 feet of precipitation yearly. Trekking two days out and back from the Hoh trailhead we walked in awe under the giant moss covered hemlocks and encountered an array of wildlife. As it was still spring, the third of the park’s ecosystems comprised of alpine forest and meadow was largely inaccessible by foot, though a drive up to Hurricane Ridge provided a glimpse.