With a stroke of luck, I was able to book an overnight room on a moment’s notice at the Lake Crescent Lodge, Olympic National Park. They had just opened for the season and weather was absolutely gorgeous. Nice and warm with clear, blue skies! A bit unusual for us here in western Washington for the first week in May, but we’re not complaining—not one bit!
I’ve mentioned before in another of my blogs that the water color of Lake Crescent is a clear, teal blue color mixed with shades of turquoise, depending on the water’s depth and sunlight reflecting off its surface. It’s unlike any other lake I’ve come across. And, with spring fresh in the air, the first aroma that hit my nose as I stepped out of my car was that of heavily scented pine. I love that smell!
Before settling in for the day, I made a quick trip to another part of the national park that I had never visited before—Sol Duc Hot Springs. It’s located off the same Hwy 101 as Lake Crescent. Just follow the entire length of the lake and watch for the turnoff to Sol Duc and follow the road for about 17 miles. It’s a pleasant drive through the old-growth forest and along the Sol Duc River. There are a few trails and scenic views to stop off along the way, such as the Salmon Cascades and the Ancient Grove. If you feel up to it, hike a little over a mile to Sol Duc Falls. The resort, itself, is composed of cabins, a campground, and, of course, hot spring pools. Sorry that I don’t have any photos, as one cannot enter the pool area unless one pays to soak in the hot, mineral pools. As well, this is a pay entrance area to the national park, whether you use the pools or not.
Back at the lodge … I went for a hike on one of the trails that leads from Lake Crescent into the old-growth forest. What an amazing place with all the giant, old Cedar and Douglas Fir trees dripping with green moss. The quietude and earthy aromas cannot be understated. The only sounds that one hears is the occasional bird chirp, the gurgling or rushing water of a nearby forest stream, or the rustling in the foliage by a resident squirrel.
Returning to the lake lodge and after dining on one of the most exquisite dinners in the dining room, I took in the sunset over a calming lake and watched the last rays of light disappear behind the mountains. What a perfect day’s end!
© Peggy A Thompson