S: Olympic National Park, May 2012
FC: Olympic National Park May, 2012 | OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, WASHINGTON, USA is on one of the most beautiful national parks in the USA. It has snow capped mountains, temperate rain forests, lakes and rivers, and a coast. The weather is rainy most of the year owing to which the place is amazingly green. It is quite remote and probably because of that it is very less visited.
1: We took a morning flight from San Jose, CA to Seattle, WA and were in Seattle before noon. Unlike our Hawaii trip, we took Jishu's car seat with us. Most airlines allow carrying a car seat for free. | After a quick lunch, we went to the Pike's Place Market. | Day 1
2: We bought some fruits for the trip from Pike's Place Market. As you can see, Jishu tried his luck in selling some fruits.
4: The famous fishmonger at Pike Place Market. Once a customer buys a fish, the sellers at the bottom throw the fish to their assistants at the top. This throwing creates a lot of oohs and aahs among the bystanders!
6: We then went to the Space Needle, one of Seattle's most famous attractions. It was a Sunday and there was quite a crowd.
7: It was beautiful weather and there was live music going on. We did not actually go to the top of the needle but instead spent time at the festival and the Chihuly garden. The green tree in the right picture is a Chihuly glass creation!
8: Deepanwita had always had a fascination for Chihuly glass art and a new gallery had just opened up. So we grabbed the opportunity to see it even though we were getting late for our trip on to Olympic NP.
13: It is simply amazing that glass can be made to look so beautiful
14: From Space Needle, we reached the ferry terminal. We crossed Puget Sound on the Bainbridge Ferry and reached the Lake Crescent lodge around midnight
15: Day 2 started with a hike at the Hoh Rain Forest. It was drizzling off and on and that actually added to the whole experience. We had rain pants and rain jackets for all of us and they came in very handy. Good rain gear is a must when visiting Olympic National Park. | Day 2
16: Jishu hiked very well. As he has been going on trips since he was 2 years old, I think he has gotten used to hiking reasonable distances
18: One of the most fascinating life forms in a rain forest is the moss. Due to the abundance of water, rain forests, even temperate ones, are amazingly green
20: I would love this to be my backyard and as a matter of fact both me and my wife have grown up in somewhat similar greenery :-)
22: From there we went to Ruby beach and the weather there was perfect. We spent a lot of time there
23: Jishu had a lot of fun with the pebbles. Of course the water was too cold to get into. The sunlight was showing off some wonderful colors on the froth left by the waves. We did not see any ruby like pebbles but I guess this was no less than any ruby :-)
24: Day 3 | Day three started off with some nice breakfast at the Lake Crescent lodge and a photoshoot in the backyard of our room
25: Then we headed for the Sol Duc Falls and crossed the Salmon Cascades on our way. This was not Salmon season, so we did not see any but the steps of this cascade are typical of the upstream swim by salmons. There was a hot springs at Sol Duc but we did not go in mainly because we felt that the weather was just too cold for taking off our clothes and sitting in an outdoor pool, no matter how warm the water was :-) Come on, look at what we were wearing!
26: There was so many things to see that we took a long time to hike the less-than-a-mile trail. Since a few trips we have just settled down to doing fewer trails but spending more time at each trail. This also suits kids very well since they tire easily.
27: We had quite a few photo sessions during the hike. The rain drops on cob web was the icing on the cake. I wish I had a week to spend at that trail :-(
31: Sol Duc Falls
34: After grabbing a quick bite at the Sol Duc hot springs, we drove directly to the Madison Falls at the Elwha Valley. Jishu took a quick nap during the ride and once we reached there was up for the task but since he was groggy, he did not want to walk and had to hitch a ride on papa :-)
36: Since sunset is pretty late (around 9:30pm), we still had some time before it started to get dark. We spent the rest of the day walking the "Moments in Time" trail right next to the Lake Crescent Lodge. The duck in the picture was chasing us for a long time cause we had given it just one bite from an energy bar (it wanted more :-))
37: We finished the day with some very good dinner at the lodge restaurant. We had most of our meals at the lodge restaurant since it was very convenient and the food was very good.
38: The next day, I woke up early morning to shoot some photos around the lodge area. The kayaks can be rented for a ride in the lake (we were not adventurous enough though :-)) | Day 4
39: We went for our final long hike to Marymere Falls, which is very close to the Lake Crescent Lodge. That area has multiple trails but we took the one directly to the falls.
40: Along the hike Jishu found out how small he really is
42: Finally, we reached Marymere Falls. The hike was relatively easy with some stairs at the very end.
44: The ferns along the trail looked very pretty. Since this is a rain forest, there is no shortage of ferns, mosses, and vegetation in general.
45: It was already our fourth day and Jishu was getting tired. We drove up to Hurricane Ridge but it was very gloomy and windy and cold and there was snow all around. We took turns to go inside the visitor center while Jishu slept peacefully in the car
46: Since we had no more hikes planned for the next and final day, we spent some time at fireplace inside the lodge. As you can imagine, it was very cozy after a hiking around the entire day.
47: We spent the final morning shooting some pictures around the lodge. | Final Day
48: This lodge was built in 1916 and is one of the oldest buildings in the park
53: We stayed at the Pyramid rooms.
57: It was time to go back. We had to catch the ferry back to Seattle. We actually missed one ferry by 5 minutes.
58: As we bid adieu to this beautiful place, this flower was reciprocating our Namaste :-)
59: We had packed some lunch and had it on the ferry back to Seattle. We were a little rushed but we were never in any real danger of missing our flight :-) So long every body. Another wonderful trip has come to an end. If you get some time, do visit the Olympic National Park. It is a hidden gem