Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.


The Hills Are Alive

(With the Sound of Music)

The only remotely acceptable excuse for the lateness of this blog post (which is still a Tuesday post by Pacific Time Zone calculations) is that last night was the culmination of a week-long fantastic adventure. And as anyone who has been on an adventure knows, there's the requisite sickness, fatigue, and general catching-up which follows the next day. Since I wanted to relay every detail of this adventure to you, I've been working on this post off and on all day and now bring you our family vacation to the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

 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.

This is a vintage postcard illustrating the peninsula. That empty space in the middle? Federally protected wilderness, accessible only by hiking the intimidating Olympic Mountain Range.

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!

 Our first full day--Tuesday--we trekked up to Hurricane Ridge to enjoy the beautiful scenery and what one ranger described as June-like conditions because of the unseasonably cool and wet weather.

 Papa, Micah and Jonah posed in front of the Olympic Mountains.

 Susanna and Mama take their turn!

 Seven of us set out for a six to seven mile hike down Hurricane Ridge and ending at our campsite on the Elwha River. That's me in back, Lauren, Melanie, Susanna, Micah, and Jonah in front.

 While we hiked, Mama drove into Port Angeles, and--judging by her memory card--found some excellent opportunities for pictures!

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.

Jonah betook himself like a man, despite his nine years, and set the pace for our last mile: he was in a hurry to get back to camp!

 Mama saw to it that we ate well on the trip; dutch oven cheesy potato casserole was our dinner after the hike, and we had hot breakfast every morning! S'mores, roasted corn on the cob, hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, and more all figured into our diet at some point or another!

 Dutch Blitz was the game of choice for late-night, lantern-lit tournaments!

 Deer, elk, squirrels, birds, and sea otters were some of the many wildlife we spotted on the trip. Isn't Jonah's expression priceless?

 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.

 Day three was our trip to the true rain forest of the park--the Hoh Rain forest. We ate huckleberries and apple-hearts from the path (yes, we had permission from the rangers) like true natives while the Russians, Japanese, English, and the like (so many nationalities!) stared at us, as if they were waiting for us to keel over from ingesting foliage and red orbs.

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!


  1. Oh, I loved your post and all of the beautiful photos! One of my favorite family vacations was when we camped at the edge of the Olympic National Forest (back in 1991). I wish I could remember the name of the lake near where we camped. All I remember is that it was very clear so we could see the bottom! We didn't venture as much as you did into the rainforest, but did make some good memories, including walking on the ferry and riding to Victoria to spend the day. That was my first time to leave the U.S. I can't wait for Lauren's post. :)

  2. This was definitely a special time--I can see why you remember your vacation in the ONF with such fond memories! On Friday, Lauren will post pictures from our time on Lake Crescent, which was indeed so clear we could see the bottom. Was that, perchance, the lake you're trying to think of?

  3. Looks like a memorable vacation... everything considered.

  4. I love the Olympic Peninsula! It is one of my most favorite places to go in Washington state!
    Glad you had a great and (mostly) safe time--ew, bee stings:(

  5. What gorgeous scenery!! Exactly what Canon model took those beautiful photos? I've been thinking about buying a good camera (that's not TOO expensive) for a while now, but there's so many different kinds to choose from!

    Also, I found your blog about a month ago, and have been reading through almost all of the posts since 2009. I just decided to post my first comment today. :) I was delighted to find a blog from Godly young ladies who are dedicated to the Lord and let their light shine! Thanks for encouraging me and brightening up my days with your blog!

  6. Thanks Jonathan!

    Aimee--I may have to agree with your preference for the Olympic Peninsula. It's so unique, isn't it?

    Rebekah--Melanie's new camera is a Canon Rebel T3, and she's really enjoying it--it seems like a nice compromise for those who want a good camera but don't want to pay the professional bucks. Mama has had her Canon for several years now, and did go for a professional-quality: a Canon Rebel xsi. Check out Consumer Reports while you're searching!

    And thank you so much for reading--we have posted 275 posts since we began, so you have been a busy lady! Thank you also for commenting and introducing yourself. Your personal comments take this blogging gig from a technical, computerized exercise into a personal interaction. I'm excited to get to know you!

  7. Looks like you had a lovely trip, dears!! Thank you for supplying all the pictures ;)

  8. Yes, Mikaela, you are right - it was Crescent Lake we stayed at! When Lauren mentioned it in her post, I knew that was it. : )

  9. Yes, indeed we did, Raquel. It was my pleasure!

    Ruthie--that's fantastic! It was so gorgeous and crystal-clear; I wish we could have spent more time on the lake. How fun that we went to the same place!


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