Olympic National Park 3

Sol Duc

Sol Duc – Day 1

We had a leisurely morning packing up at the Mora Campground (see Olympic National Park 1 and 2). We got ice, gas and coffee in Forks (Vampire-Danger level was still high), then it was off to the Sol-Duc area of Olympic National Park.

There were informative signs at the entrance to Sol Duc, like a self-serve visitor center. We learned about native flora and fauna and also that the Sol Duc Hot Springs came from the tears of a dragon that could not defeat its enemy, so it cried for eternity.

We stopped at the Salmon Cascades and decided to go for a swim. Aspen says that I screamed so loud getting into the water that people thought there was a murder. Despite the initial pain of the frigid water, it was refreshing and worth it.

Sol Duc River
Salmon Cascades

Aspen may have been hypothermic by the time we left the cascades to get to our site at Sol Duc campground.

After setting up, John, Aspen and I walked from our site to the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort to get tickets for the hot springs. There were three hot-spring pools of various temperatures (98, 103, and 107 degrees Fahrenheit), and a regular pool with a maximum depth of 10 feet. We alternated between the hot-spring pools and diving and cannonballing into the regular pool. Eventually the fun had to end. Back at our campsite we made a backpacking meal for dinner and played Five Crowns until John went to bed because he was waking up early to hike the next day.

Instead of sleep, Aspen and I went for a walk on the road outside of the campground. We weren’t using our headlamps, though we carried them. At one point we heard something behind us, then a second later it sounded like it was right in front of us. At that point we booked it back to our site, with the headlamps on. So freaky to be in the place that was the setting of the Twilight Saga. Makes you wonder…

Sol Duc – Day 2

John was already gone by the time Aspen and I woke up. He and I got walked to the Mink Lake Trail at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. It was 2.5 miles to the lake, and we went a bit farther before backtracking to the junction with the Lovers Land Trail toward Sol Duc Falls.

Mink Lake

While Aspen and I were chatting away on our hike, John didn’t see a soul on his. That is until he came almost face-to-face with a black bear on the Little Divide Trail who was interested in finding grubs or eating berries.

Deer Lake
view from the Deer Lake Trail
The bear that didn’t want to but finally did move off the trail for John.

While on the three-mile trail that ended at the falls, we spotted a bright yellow shirt; it was John! He joined us, and we took pictures at Sol Duc Falls. The river splits off into three waterfalls. It was absolutely gorgeous!

Sol Duc Falls

Back at the campsite, John and his parents went back to the hot springs at the resort, while Aspen and I took a drive to Lake Crescent for supplies. We had just enough time for a quick dip in the lake before we had to return to meet John for dinner. The water was perfectly clear and cool enough to be refreshing without making you scream like you’re being murdered. Next time we’re here I’d love to stay in a cottage by the water.

Lake Crescent

I fell in love with this part of Olympic National Park, but we had one more area to explore. Tomorrow we head to Hurricane Ridge.

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