Although we only saw the glacier from a far-off distance, it was still incredibly rewarding to witness just how multifaceted Olympic National park was.
Every national park I’ve ever visited has one main appealing aspect to it. For example, Petrified Forest National Park contains fossilized wood remnants. Joshua Tree National Park is part of the Mojave Desert with giant rocks to climb. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a gigantic limestone cave with stalactites hanging from the ceiling. My family and I then visited Olympic National Park and found that, strangely enough, there was no dominant feature.
With glaciated mountains, coastlines, and rainforest all one area, this was the first time I didn’t know what to expect from a national park. We ate lunch in the middle of a meadow of white flowers right by the bright blue Crescent Lake. Temperate trees enclosed us, and I wondered how it was possible that the rainforest and ocean was in the same general location.
After driving a short distance, we reached the Hoh Rainforest and walked a trail. Images I’ve only seen through movies and video games came to life as I witnessed Mother Nature at her best. Green and brown hues of all kinds covered the ground and ceiling. Small trees extended out from larger ones, moss hung off plants and branches, and giant mushrooms grew out of tree trunks. At that very moment, nothing smelled better than the pure, refreshing air and nothing sounded better than the wildlife noises.
The day didn’t end with the meadow/lake and rainforest. On one end of the park was the Washington coastline. Ruby Beach was filled with large pebbles and giant fallen tree trunks, another uncommon scene for a beach. The sudden change in setting was, once again, surprising but refreshing. While I was fending off mosquitoes and equator-like weather half an hour ago, I was now chilly from a moderate ocean breeze.
Although we only saw the glacier from a far-off distance, it was still incredibly rewarding to witness just how multifaceted the park was. In a matter of hours, we went from a meadow that was indistinguishable from the Midwest prairies, to a temperate rainforest like the Appalachians of the east coast, and finally to a unique beach. Best of all, the day was shared with a loving family.