On the day of our hike through a portion of the Hoh Rainforest trail, we woke up early and quickly packed up camp. The evening before, while making our first hot meal in days, we were visited by a buck who was interested in his own leafy dinner. While he was unfazed by us, we were mesmerized by him and how close he got to us. Deer are common here and so are elk; when we woke up the next morning, we had hopes we might see one, but sadly no such luck.
When we arrived at the trailhead, there was no one around; the parking lots were vacant, the area around the ranger station empty, and the only sounds were our feet on the soft ground and birds overhead.
Every now and then, as we made our way through the twists and turns of the trail, the faint murmur of flowing water could be heard off to the right. As we followed one of the walk-in camp site trails that splits from the main path, we found the winding river amongst rolling tree-covered ridges and hills. In the distance, we could see Mount Olympus peeking between two of the mountains.
Although we were in the rainforest, which can get up to 14 feet of rain per year, the weather was spectacular. Sun splayed through the layers of branches and vines to illuminate unreachable points above us as well as on the path before us. Dark shadows mixed and blended with the bright patches of yellow and green. This apposed lighting combined with the solitude and silence gave the forest a haunting yet magical feel.
Several miles in, we had passed waterfalls, vibrant candycorn-colored mushrooms, interlocked trees, and had stopped for a snack at Tom Creek where we discovered deer tracks as we took pictures and listened to the sound of Nature all around us.
This was the part of our trip where I felt the most small but also the most at peace; tucked between tree-tipped mountains along a thick, grey river. We were nestled between the chest and arm of Nature, taking in the melodic symphony of the soothing river, the soft breath of breeze through leaves, and the sprightly choir of chirping birds. I felt so at home.
My trip to the Olympics was a success. I was outside for days straight and was able to experience and appreciate Nature as I’d hoped; this was the main purpose of the Adventure. What made it phenomenal was the company, the cooperating weather, the photos I walked away with, and most of all the wonderful memories I will keep with me.
I can’t wait for my next road trip. I hope the next will be even a fraction of as incredible as this one was.