(With the Sound of Music)
We traveled to the Olympic National Park, which takes up most of that little part of Washington that juts out into the Pacific Ocean (otherwise and more succinctly known as a peninsula) and houses the only rain forest in the contiguous United States, with an average of 12 feet of rain per year (by comparison, the "rainy" city of Seattle only receives 34 inches per year). Being the hardy Washingtonians that we are, we scoffed at the rain forest and planned to camp, rain or no rain. (Honesty check: some people scoffed and some people cried.) We were incredibly blessed, however, because not one drop fell from the sky until our very last day driving home.
One special thing we did around the campfire every night was to pick someone about whom everyone shared an appreciated characteristic. It was great to hear seven different things we loved about the chosen person!
Susanna slept well!
Papa, Micah and Jonah posed in front of the Olympic Mountains.
Susanna and Mama take their turn!
Patches of snow dotted Hurricane Ridge, even though the temperature was in the 70s.We identified wild roses, mountain daisies, tiger lilies, columbine, paintbrush, bachelor buttons and more on our hike. The wildflowers were simply breathtaking! (And Melanie took most of these breathtaking pictures, I might add, with her new Canon camera.)
As the scenery changed from timberline simplicity to lush meadow to sun-dappled forest, we all began to ache from the strain of pounding downward, which is just as strenuous as uphill hiking, but in a different way. As our pace began to lag, however, Jonah had an unfortunate encounter with a beehive which resulted in 28 stings over his body and almost a dozen on Papa as he raced through the swarm of bees to help Jonah.
Dutch Blitz was the game of choice for late-night, lantern-lit tournaments!
Of course, what better thing to do the next day after a grueling hike than to go soak in hot springs? Sol Duc pumps the hot spring water into their pools, and we spent five hours soaking in that 104 degree water. It was blissful.
Then we had to finish the evening with a hike to waterfalls.
I laugh at this picture--Susanna mesmerized by the view, Lauren and I engrossed in conversation, and Micah and Jonah tussling playfully.
Susanna at the falls with the sunlight cooperating beautifully.
That day concluded with a soak in the Hoh River and a pleasant drive back to camp. What fun we had exploring parts of our state we had never visited before! Hopefully you've enjoyed seeing the peninsula through our camera lenses (Papa's...and Mama's...and Melanie's...and mine), because there are still three more days for Lauren to cover on Friday!