Although only 7,962 ft. at the summit, Mount Olympus rises steeply from the Pacific Ocean only 12 miles away to the West creating the wettest place in the 48 contiguous states. The Hoh rain forest is so wet with 12 feet of rain a year, and with so little daily sun, every surface is draped with pale. clingy, grey-green moss; it makes for a really creepy landscape!
On the Eastern side of the mountain, a rain shadow allows sunny fields of lavender, golf courses, and retirement communities to expand into the former ranches outside Sequim. Even more fun, these diverse environments are just short ferry rides from Victoria, BC, Canada and Washington’s Puget Sound islands, where you may see orcas from the ferries…
We enjoyed riding parts of the rail/trail conversion, “The Spruce”, 122 miles of easy cycling….except for the leg we picked the first day. When you see no vehicles with bike racks at a trailhead, think again about your chosen bike trail. The only section that is not paved is of course the most beautiful; it runs alongside the aquamarine waters of Lake Crescent, encircled by mountains. Narrow, steep, washed out with streams and mud, and gnarled with roots, it is really more of a hiking and horse trail, definitely too slippery for hybrid tires. We turned around after two miles of frustration, and worried about the two disabled cyclists with wide, three-wheeled, hand pedaled bikes. Fortunately, they had a lot of support volunteers to lift and carry them as needed. They had ridden the whole trail from Port Townsend and suggested we do the prettiest PAVED leg, between Sequim and Port Angeles. Ah….that’s the way to ride!
We had a beautiful campsite overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuca, staying at a former military base providing cool armament sites, surfing, scuba diving, and sunsets….and fresh berry pies! The last time we visited Salt Creek campground here on the Olympic Peninsula was to do our first ever RV sewage dump in September 2012 and our first blog on zippitygoglobal.com. 70,000 miles later, we are really skilled at that sewage dump task!
As California shrivels in its’ 5th year of drought, and Seattle bakes in its’ second summer of record high temperatures, the Olympic Peninsula is so inviting: mild, sunny, and lushly green. However, it is the first summer in almost 40 years of visiting the most far western edge of the continental U.S. that I have seen the Olympic Range devoid of snow, a very disturbing sight.