Weekend in Olympic National Park

After nearly an entire year, I finally went hiking. I wish I could say that there was a good reason for not making the outdoors a priority, unfortunately I just let the time get away from me. My dad and I have been wanting to go camping for a while, so we took a long weekend and drove out to Olympic National Park to do some day hiking. I booked a small camper on Airbnb in Forks, WA (although I didn’t realize just how small it would be!) and planned to hit Mount Storm King and Sol Duc Falls/Deer Lake.

Mount Storm King

We chose Mount Storm King for the sweeping views and because the trailhead doesn’t require a Northwest Forest Pass – the parking lot actually requires no pass at all, which seemed to be quite the rarity. We left Forks and arrived at the Storm King Ranger Station around 9:30am. The lot was mostly full, but we were lucky enough to grab a spot as someone was leaving. This area provides a trailhead bathroom and there is a visitor center showing the day’s weather and trail conditions.

The first section of the trail is wide and largely flat, taking you through a tunnel and on to the signs for Marymere Falls. We figured we’d see how we felt after Mount Storm King and then consider going back and adding on the additional couple miles afterward. Oh, how unprepared we were!

After the turnoff at the sign pointing us up to Mount Storm King, the incline becomes much more pronounced and feels pretty similar to Mailbox Old Trail despite the numerous switchbacks. We took lots of breaks to catch our breaths – did I mention I hadn’t been on a hike since last October?! – and were unendingly grateful for the cool weather and shade the trees provided.

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Owyhigh Lakes

Another quarantine hike! I picked Owyhigh Lakes because it’s been too long since I’ve done much cardio, and this 7 mile round-trip hike seemed like it would be a great payoff for the relatively easy grade. There are two main access points to the lakes – the north trailhead on White River Road and the south trailhead on State Route 123. We left from Bellevue at 6:20 am and while it should have taken about an hour and a half to get to the parking lot, we got turned around and ended up at the south trailhead. Since we didn’t want to extend our hike in mileage or elevation gain, we made the 20-minute drive north to the White River Road lot instead. When we parked around 8:30am, there were already at least 7-8 cars. As a note, this particular lot does require a Mount Rainier National Park Pass (or an America the Beautiful Pass), and you have to show your pass and identification at the entrance if you decide to use this starting point.

From the marked trailhead, you’re immediately immersed in dense PNW forest, with lots of green but few wildflowers or mountain views – I think this might be why the trail tends to be lightly trafficked. The trail Continue reading

Burroughs Mountain

With the weather being so nice for the last week, I decided that Saturday would be a great day for a hike. I was initially planning on doing a solo hike up in the North Cascades–I’ve been wanting to do Cascade Pass for ages–but, of course, there was nothing but light rain and fog when I got up at 5:30am on Saturday. Not wanting to drive 6 hour round trip for a hike without company or a view, I shifted my plans and drove down to Mount Rainier National Park instead. Pro tip: If you’re as bad at directions as I am, download an offline map of your hiking area prior to leaving. I was so glad I had done so for Burroughs Mountain because I got lost, ended up in a campground 20 minutes away from the Sunrise parking lot, and had to backtrack. Luckily, I had left early enough that I ended up at the lot by 8:15am and it was still nearly empty.

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Chenuis Falls (Mt. Rainier National Park)

My family was in town last weekend, and we ended up going down to Mount Rainier National Park for some much-needed time outdoors. We were initially going to hike up to Tolmie Peak, since that’s one of my absolute favorites in the park, but I didn’t plan ahead and we discovered that the last 5 or so miles up to the trailhead are closed off until June 28. The nice ranger at the turnaround point estimated that we could make it to Tolmie Peak and back to the parking lot in about 8 hours, but none of us were quite up to that challenge at 1:00pm in the afternoon. Instead, he gave us a map of the area and pointed us toward the Carbon River Ranger Station, where they suggested the 8-mile out-and-back hike to Chenuis Falls. We arrived at the trailhead around 1:30pm, and while there were a decent number of cars already parked, we saw plenty of open spots left as well. The bathroom there is standard, but clean enough. Don’t forget your parking pass (you can either use an America the Beautiful pass or the Rainier-specific one)! 

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Mount Rainier National Park

TLDR: Hiked with my parents, had questionable weather, mom attacked by a dog, made the weekend fun anyway.

This weekend, my dad and I decided to meet up in Ashford and do a few hikes near Mount Rainier National Park. We ended up convincing my mom to join too, and we rented a very cute Airbnb about ten minutes away from the Paradise side entrance. The plan was to hike High Rock and either Comet Falls or Pinnacle Saddle on Saturday, then drive through Mount Rainier National Park on Sunday and stop at various viewpoints on the way to and from Paradise Inn. Of course, things don’t always (ever?) go the way you plan.

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