After a relaxing trip to Bellingham, where we saw the Tulip Festival and an Orca Whale Watch, we set out for an area West of Seattle called Port Orchard. We could have taken a ferry there, but we decided to save some money and take the scenic drive around to get there. We stayed with a super nice guy Sal and his 2 wonderful kids for a few nights. While we were there, we spent our time there exploring Olympic National Park, hiking in a thunderstorm, and laying low after all our excitement of Thailand and the whale watch!
Olympic National Park
Something I did not realize about this area is that everything on a map looks so close, until you start to drive and realize it is not! We were “so close” to Olympic National Park, but what you don’t realize is, if you were to drive all the way around it, you would be driving for 330 miles! There are a lot of cool things to see on this scenic drive, one being all the Twilight book/movie stops in Fork and La Push! Since we did not have all the time in the world, we drove to the area of Hurricane Ridge. Unfortunately, it was closed due to avalanche risks (this was in April/early may!) Instead, we drove to Crescent lake which was really beautiful, and found some awesome hikes!
We started on some easy trails that took us along the scenic Barnes Creek and we saw Marymere Falls. These trails were easily accessible by all ability levels which is always nice. What I love about hiking in the Pacific Northwest, is how lush and green everything is! I also fell in love with the giant trees!!
Mount Storm King Trail
After some easy hiking around, we decided to take Mount Storm King Trail. This trail was easy technically, but very difficult as far as incline goes. It was basically a nonstop climb for 1700 feet, and was about 3.8 miles round trip. On the way up, we saw some really pretty little orchids, which we later learned were calypso orchids! The view from the top was amazing and absolutely well earned! We got a crystal-clear view of crescent lake from the view point that we stopped at. Apparently, we missed getting to the very top, which involved holding onto ropes to get up there. We were running out of time and daylight, it was getting chilly, and the top looked really foggy, so we decided to start heading down.
Ew! This guy was both cool and disgusting at the same time!
Green Mountain, WA
On another day, we took the suggestion of our host’s friend, and hiked the Gold Creek Trail at Green Mountain. This was a nice, gradual 1,000 foot climb to the summit, and about 5-miles round trip. On our way up, we saw many people coming down, but saw no one going up. We would soon find out why. I heard some rumbling, but it honestly sounded like an 18-wheeler on a highway, so I thought nothing of it. We continued climbing, and it became more and more evident that it was a thunderstorm we were hearing. It looked far away and we were ALMOST at the top, so we continued our trek up. As we made our way into the woods again, the storm started to come over us, with some rain, so we started to pick up our pace and run.
The before video of the storm…
Stuck in a Thunderstorm
We ran past a bathroom when we were almost at the top, it started to pour and the loudest clap of thunder sounded over us, sending me into a panic. I basically said F this, and ran back to the bathroom for shelter. My husband followed me, and we hunkered down in the smelly bathroom for a bit. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty scared. I’ve never been stuck outside during a storm like this before, and I was terrified of being hit by lightening.
During the storm…
After the Storm
Once the storm cleared, we continued to the summit. We were not going to be quitters! As we made our way back down safely, but agreed this was one of the dumbest things we have ever done! When we told our host in Colorado what happened here, she said her son would have warned us of this and would have told us we were lucky to be alive. He always hikes before 1pm, because thunderstorms usually happen in the afternoon, which is what we got stuck in. Very scary, but happy to live to write about it!
After the storm….!
There are some pretty incredible hikes in an around Washington, and we really only tapped into a few miles of what their trail system has to offer. For more awesome hikes in Washington, check out one of my earlier posts, as well as the Washington Trail Association website!