Greetings from Olympic National Park

On a sunny September evening I had just returned from hiking solo near Klahhane Ridge, and had gone miles much than I’d intended to go because I couldn’t stop myself, one of many rewards being encountering a family of mountain goats on a wildflower mountainside. When I returned to the parking lot it was sunset, the crowds having long gone. Not ready to drive back to Port Angeles, I found a nearby meadow en route to the Elwa Trail and lay down, breathing deeply and soaking in the sun that was setting beyond the Elwha. I listened for marmots but heard nothing, at first; then soft swishing in the grass near my feet. I raised up to see a stag, I believe his antlers were fuzzy, and big. He just stood there looking at me–what in the world? I’m sure he was thinking. I started talking to him and slowly he backed away and then resumed browsing. Finally I stood up, looking for the most circuitous route possible back to my car. Winding my way back I saw something pop up on a boulder–a marmot. Then another, across the meadow. They began barking at one another. I stood there quite awhile, my cell phone snapshots the only sound. That was my last trip to Olympic National Park. Next time: Hike to the Elwha, where the salmon will have likely returned, thanks to the stewardship of the American people.

Sincerely,
Beverly

Olympic National Park

Exploring Olympic’s dynamic landscape is like visiting three parks in one. The high mountains offer snow, glaciers, wilderness and — if you time it right — acres of wildflowers. The lush, verdant Hoh Rainforest is unlike anything else in the Lower 48, and home to Roosevelt elk, black bears and other charismatic wildlife. And the park’s stunning coast offers some of the country's wildest and most spectacular beaches, dotted with tide pools and sea stacks. Visitors can now see where park staff recently removed two large dams, letting the Elwha River flow freely again for the first time in more than 100 years.

State(s): Washington

Established: 1938

“so many of them take by breath away. (And because I was so fortunate to experience the many moods of Crater Lake when I worked there for two summers.)”

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