family road trip part 4: the olympic peninsula
November 13, 2018
If you go on a long enough trip, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find yourself making at least one big mistake or enduring a serious mishap. Ours on this particular journey was the Olympic Peninsula.
It was a miscalculation that ended up costing us several hours and almost caused us to bail on the whole thing entirely. It’s somewhere we’d always longed to go, but could never *quite* make the journey. It isn’t easy to get to, there are limited campgrounds, and we hadn’t planned on going there, so it would have been easy to miss once again. But after Banff & Jasper, Yoho & Glacier, and Whistler & Porteau Cove, we decided to put the extra miles under our belts to finally make it happen. It was definitely a stretch with the baby, but we figured hey—why not?
Unfortunately, our impulsive decision was accompanied by a lack of research, so we headed for Port Angeles, which was a huge mistake. We discovered this when we found ourselves in the parking lot of the visitor center in the arid rain shadow on the northeast side of the peninsula. Whoops.
It was there that we also received the information that the Hoh Rainforest road was closed, leaving only the Lake Quinault Rainforest, wayyyy on the other side of the peninsula. Oh, also we ran out of baby wipes, so: not our best moment.
So we had a decision to make. We could either drive several more hours to camp after an already very long day of driving, and hope and pray we found a site, or we could bail and start heading back to Seattle. We weren’t really sure if we had it in us at first, but Max was being supercool and agreeable, and we figured we’d already made it this far, so we decided to carry onward.
We found a lovely local campground outside of the national park by the shore, which was beautiful and foggy and serene and full of welcoming neighbors. Then, in the morning, we had a good breakfast at a local diner, bought some more baby wipes, and explored the rainforest. It was like nothing we’d ever seen, and was, in a word, fascinating.
Here is the fourth and final leg of our family road trip: the Olympic Peninsula.