A Very Michigan Camping Trip

First off, every entry will not be centered around my trips to National Parks. However, these are the easiest for right now as I have a lot of pictures and they are fresh in my mind. My goal with this blog is to cover a wide variety of topics from food to sports to travel to whatever I feel like.

For Memorial Day Weekend 2015, I was able to do a camping trip with some friends from Michigan. There were five of us in total, but only one still lives in Michigan, with two coming from Portland and two from Sioux Falls, SD. Such is the modern day working professional I guess, go where you can find the best jobs!

I had heard good things from coworkers about Olympic. One coworker even lived in the region for a long time and would visit the park on a weekly basis, so we had some great local knowledge to help us out. While we had limited time, the overall experience was great. We started at Hurricane Ridge, which provided some amazing views in the heart of the park. We even got to experience a storm rolling across the horizon on our hike, and honestly, if we went to Olympic and didn’t get rained on it would have been a disappointment.

(Hurricane Ridge)
We moved campsites every night, which was not ideal, but the campsites could not be secured in advance, so everyday we had our target campsite and then a few fall-back options. In the future, I am definitely finding a good spot and staying put, but I will admit we got a great feel for the entire park.
The second day we hit a trail near the Sol Duc Hotsprings, when we hiked up to Deer Lake. The hike wasn’t long, but the vertical climb was a butt-kicker. It made its all the more satisfying when we made it to the top. We also hit some smaller trails in the area, one followed a river bed and was near an old dam, which had been removed.
(Elwha River)
After that trail we headed toward the coast to hike at Ruby Beach and camped at South Beach Campground. Our goal was Kalaloch Campground, which sits higher up from the water and provides some amazing views, but was full. South Beach was a lot better in my opinion. Its a smaller campground but that meant less people to deal with, so it felt more like camping. It was also easier to get to the beach, and no matter where your site was, you could see the Pacific.
(Ruby Beach)
On the last day we hit the Hoh Rainforest on the southwest side of the park. The hike we did was mainly wooded and flat, but it fed into a lot of other trails. Apparently it was a good place to spot elk, however, we were unlucky the day we were there.
(Hoh Rainforest)
 
All in all I enjoyed Olympic a lot. The rangers and staff were very helpful and the facilities were well maintained. There were small towns just outside the park, which made it nice for getting supplies and even hitting a restaurant every now and then. It was not very crowded either, which always makes for a nice time since you’re not fighting with too many people for space on the trail or in the campgrounds. However, when I return it will either be to do a hiking/camping trip through the park, or, as previously stated, set up camp in one spot and go on day hikes. I highly recommend the park, and while its not in the most accessible place, Its close to Seattle and you can rent gear from REI if you aren’t fortunate enough to drive.

 

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