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Campsite Photo Trip - Summer 2012

Olympic National Park Part 1

Greg visits Olympic National Park:

I left Ocean City, WA and headed north to Olympic National Park the day after Memorial Day. I turned off the 101 at Quinault Lake and headed east.

There are three small campgrounds on the lake right near the town of Quinault. Although they only total about 50 sites together, they are very popular with the boating and fishing crowd.

Willaby_Sign Falls_Creek_Sign Gatton_Creek_Sign

My favorite of the three is tiny Gatton Creek with only 5 walk-in tent sites. How does this look?


I continued heading east for another 10 miles, entering the Quinault rain forest and Olympic National Park. The road is gravel for the last 5 miles as you enter the "Green Zone".

Quinalt_River_1 Olympic_Sign Quinalt_Creek Quinalt_Road Quinalt_Rainforest

The green is visually overwhelming, almost hurting my eyes. I finally end up at Graves Creek campground in the National Park.


My car almost blends in at one of the campsites.


There are 30 campsites available, mainly for the tenting crowd. The gravel road is barely more than one lane wide and they discourage RV's and trailers.


But don't worry you crazy RV'ers, my campsite for the next 3 nights is at Kalaloch Beach. This is the largest campground in Oly NP at over 170 sites and is the only one that takes reservations. (Summertime Only).

First up, however, is a primitive campground just 3 miles south of of Kalaloch called South Beach. It has no running water, but the sites are on the ocean, not on bluffs like it's neighbor.

South_Beach_Sign South_Beach_View_1

Here is an oceanfront site. If you are self-contained, this is a great place.


And now...


Even though it was a rainy Tuesday, most of the bluff front sites were taken. Except for the one I snagged.


Here is the view from my chair.


Fine, I will get up.


There is a nature trail that goes through some rain forest so I decide to check it out.


The trail leaves the campground and crosses the 101. Yeah, real safe. I imagine in the summer they lose a few campers at this "unmarked" crossing. The photo below shows the view leaving the campground and where the trail continues.


The predominant color theme once again is green.

K_Trail_2 K_Trail_1

Continuing with the safety theme, do you notice the marks in the wood planks in the bridge photo above? I believe they did that to help hikers maintain traction when it is wet.

What ends up happening is that moss finds it to be a perfect place to take root. This makes it even more slippery. Trust me.


Back to the trail.

K_Trail_5 K_Trail_9 K_Trail_10

OK, that's enough, I am getting tired all over again. One of the things you notice is how stuff grows out of other stuff. A big fir tree can fall over and quickly it turns into a host for other plants. It's actually called epiphytes.


Then there was this tree. I can think of a rude name for it, but how about if I call it the "Walnuts in Socks" tree.


Alrighty then. I left Kalaloch on Thursday with several campgrounds to visit on the way. Since it is still raining, how about we visit another rain forest. It just seems fitting to do so.

But first I stopped at Hoh-Oxbow, a small campground right on the Hoh River.

Hoh_Oxbow_Sign Hoh_Oxbow_005

Very nice. I continued on to Hoh.

Hoh_Road_2 Hoh_Sign_1

Mild winters, cool summers and up to 12 feet of annual precipitation produce the giant conifers that dominate this rain forest, one of the most spectacular examples of temperate rain forest in the world.


The campground has 89 sites. Most of them are large and there are some great ones the Hoh River.

Hoh_View_2 Hoh_065

I want to hike some of the trails they have here, but I still have three more campgrounds to visit. I spotted this on the way and it made me hungry for tacos. I also got a dirty look.


Ever onward.

Bogachiel_Sign Bogachiel_View Bogachiel_001

Bogachiel is a State Park just south of Forks, WA. Relatively small at 42 sites, it has a nice location along, oddly enough, the Bogachiel River.

Ahh, Forks. This is the main setting for those vampire/werewolf movies called Twilight something. The town has embraced this and there are posters and such all over the place. I stopped in at the visitor center and was told that in the last few years over 150,000 people have stopped in to get location maps and sign the guestbook.

I stopped next at Mora, another Oly NP campground. It is about 8 miles west of Forks and the road there is rife with Twilight stuff. I think one of the vampires stole the sign because all I could find was the one at the ranger station.


Olympic National Park protects one of the longest stretches of wilderness coast in the lower 48 states. Sea lions, seals, otters, whales, sea birds, vampires, werewolves, and eagles are at home in this landscape of towering headlands and sea stacks.

A treacherous shoreline and rough seas likely helped preserve the coast. Added protection came in 1988, when congress designated much of the park the "Olympic Wilderness." The unbroken coast stretching between fishing villages of local tribes appears as it must have when their ancestors paddled cedar canoes past rocky coves, islands and beaches.

There are 94 campsites here and the beach is a popular place to visit. Just bring your sun screen and your wooden stakes and silver bullets.

Next up, Sol Duc.


There are 79 campsites here, as well as a resort, restaurant, and some hot springs. This makes it crowded in the summer. The sites are nice and big and the locals were having fun when I walked through.

Sol_Duc_044 Sol_Duc_Deer_2

My campsite for the next three nights was Fairholme in Oly NP. It seems that you can spell it both with and without the "e" on the end.


Lake Crescent, a cold, clear, glacially-carved lake, owes its existence to ice. Its azure depths, which plummet to 624 feet, were gouged by huge ice sheets thousands of years ago. As the ice retreated, it left behind a steep valley that filled with the clear blue waters of Lake Crescent.

That campground has over 80 sites. The walk-in sites are the only ones directly on the water, but you can find some with a nice view like I did. Here is how you set up a wet tent. I did the screen house first so it could dry as well.

Stake out the tent footprint so it can dry and not blow away. Drape the fly over your vehicle so it can dry also.


The foot print is on the right, kinda hard to see. While I was doing this, a duck flew over and landed. She quacked at me and then walked all over the footprint, leaving wet duck tracks.

Anyway, you next erect the tent and let it dry for a while.


Finally, you can put the fly on the tent. And then the rain starts again...


This is my bedroom.


It is surprisingly very comfortable, more so than a lot of "normal" beds.

Here is the view from my campsite. You can see a walk-in site below.


Flies liked to use my screen house to get out of the rain. At times there must have been almost 50 of them buzzing around. It got on my nerves as I tried to read a book.


Finally, as I was packing up here on Sunday, who should fly back again but the duck. She gave me a hard look, turned and shook her tail feathers at me, pooped, and flew off. I have that kind of effect on wildlife.

Duck_4 Duck_3

To be continued...

Regards, Park Ranger


Kalaloch (pronounced claylock) is one of the most beautiful coastal campgrounds I have ever been to Lisa. I wanted to visit the coastal campgrounds in the off season because, as you correctly stated, you cannot get near them without a reservation months in advance. But, South Beach is an option just down the road, doesn't take reservations, and campers there are allowed to use the facilities at Kalaloch. Hope you enjoy my pictures because there is a LOT more to come this year.
Our family has camped at Kalaloch the last two summers. The pictures don't really do it justice. It is a beautiful area. There is so much to see and do. But you do have to make reservations WAY in advance if you want to camp there between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I had to book in February for our 4 night stay in August. Before Memorial Day and after Labor Day it is first come first serve......
Love your photos...lovely campground can't wait to visit it some day thanks for sharing!

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