Washington State Vacation: May 2015

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Thursday, May 18 - Sol Duc Falls, Marymere Falls, Marion Falls, Hurricane Ridge

After our wake-up tray and French toast breakfast for Neil and a half order of waffles for Ginger (Maya and Jax got the other half at some point), our points of interest were three waterfalls. On on way to Sol Duc Falls, we passed the hot springs, which turned out to be commercial swimming pools in a cabin style resort which were fed by said springs. Since admission was about $13 per person, we pressed on. We arrived at the parking lot and hiked the .8 mile one-way trail up to the three-way-split Sol Duc falls. The area also featured a small brook/meandering water feature with beautiful moss covered rocks.

Photos of the morning (4 images) Photos of Sol Duc Falls (24 images)

Our next stop was Marymere falls, 1 mile from the Storm King Ranger Station, just South of the middle of lake Crescent at Barnes Point. The falls are accessible via a .9 mile one-way trail. The first part of the trail is quite simple and level, but once you start the ascent to view the falls themselves, it takes quite a bit of effort due to the quick elevation changes. As usual, the falls are worth the effort.

Photos of Marymere Falls (20 images)

Onward then to Madison Falls, off a road which used to be named Elwha Road but now Olympic Hot Springs Road. This waterfall is easily accessible to all, and in fact advertises that wheelchairs can even make it to the falls. From the falls viewing deck, Neil saw a "path" shoot up to the right. Noting the "path" was nearly vertical and would require hands-and-knees crawling and the use of exposed roots to ascend, Ginger took a pass, but Neil climbed up what must have been 200 feet, which provided a view through the trees of another falls, plus a view across the valley from a rock outcropping.

Photos of Madison Falls (6 images)

On our way back to we stopped in Port Angeles at the Common Grounds cafe again because it was so good the first time. Ginger got a salad for lunch, and Neil got an afternoon latte. The two ladies who work there remembered us from the previous Friday when we stopped there. The entire staff there are super nice, the food is very good, and the coffee is definitely up to Neil's specs. While Ginger enjoyed her delicious wedge salad, Neil called AT&T to find out about replacing his wrecked-out phone.

Photos of Common Grounds in Port Angeles (3 images)

For what turned out to be our grand finale, we had time to check out something we hadn't planned on seeing but which turned out to be simply spectacular. On an extra print out, we noted a place called Hurricane Ridge. Reaching the ridge called for driving quite a ways up a mountain. Some of the road up likely would not accomodate two vehicles side by side, and there was no railing along the incredibly steep drop off the edge. It was then that Ginger decided Neil would be driving back down.

It began to sprinkle and the area started to fog up, but Neil pressed Ginger to go ahead and begin walking on the rail. On the way to the ridge itself we saw several deer, almost within petting distance, though we refained, as well as two marmots, one of which seemd to be doing home renovations as he tossed mud out behind himself from his burrow. Hurricane Ridge offered what is likely the most breathtaking view of any trip we have taken. The clouds cleared out near which allowed for spectacular vies of the snow-capped Olympic mountains to the South, a view to the North of distant Port Angeles, and beyond the town, across the Strait of Juan de Faca was Canada. The North side of the mountain still had a large field of snow. Neil later found out the evevation of the peak was about 1749 meters (5738 feet).

Photos of the hike up Hurricane Ridge (37 images)

We again stopped in Port Angeles for dinner and chose Smuggler's Landing for dinner, where we enjoyed a view from the large windows of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We arrived back in Forks around 9:30. After some tea and dessert of chocolate cake, brownies, lemon bars, and peanut butter cookies, it was time to wrap up the evening and be off to bed.