Day 30: Olympic National Park

I stirred at one point during the night and thought to myself, “Gosh, I love Kimpton beds.” My eyes blinked open, to realized I was in a tent, cozy in a sleeping bag, my head resting on a pillow I had to blow up last night. I rolled over with a smile on my heart, and finished the night’s sleep. Somehow, along this multi-year journey, I’ve added another identity. I am a camper.

I slept so well that I didn’t wake until I heard Zoe, my tent buddy, screech, “A sluuuuuuug!!!!!!” On the door of our tent was a six inch black, slimy, gooey, slug, just inching its way upward. I squealed, wished I was in a Kimpton, and yelled for Ellie to come and take care of it. I may be a camper now, but I’m sure not crazy. It was after 8:00 and the sun was peeking through the heavy clouds that must constantly sit atop the hills. Our tents were damp with dew, so we let them dry in the sun as we ate a leisurely breakfast by the river. The day ahead of us involved a 6.5 mile hike to the car, a short drive, a meal somewhere, and a couple mile hike to the beach to backpack again. Knowing there was a lot ahead of us, we packed up and headed out.

The hike out was quick and I remained in awe of the rainforest that surrounded us. I’ll say it again, this is a magical place. It’s just so thick with every shade of green and life is everywhere. Most notably it is in the countless giant slugs.

The hike ended, but the adventure continued. We drove a bit to get our only real meal of the couple of days were here. We savored every bite if burger, every sip of beer, and every square of toilet paper. We repacked our bags in the parking lot and made it to the next trail head.

The hike this afternoon was short, somewhere between 1.5 miles and 2. We have all grown accustomed to the heavy weight and hiking with the packs didn’t cause any moans or groans. The landscape was the same lush rainforest, but with much thinner trees. At one point there weren’t more trees beyond all the ones we could see, but rather a simple blue background. The sounds of crashing waves grew louder as we finished the switchbacks. Then, almost suddenly, the ocean filled the whole horizon.

The sandy shore is the campground tonight. The trees are all pieces of driftwood. The creatures are little sand spiders. (And, supposedly racoons.) The sounds are simply the waves crashing. Over and over. I’ve spent money to get these sounds on Calm app. The air has a chill and a salty taste. The girls are happy, leaping in the sand, letting waves splash onto their ankles, making goofy Boomerangs that can’t be replicated at home.

This park is amazing and I’m glad we got to experience two completely different parts of it today.

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