Waterfalls & Sequim Sunsets – Photos of Olympic National Park

I admit it – I am an addict of hidden waterfalls, off-the-beaten path hikes, and soaring sentinels of trees of the pine and Douglas fir variety. Olympic National Park has always been on my radar for the abundance of waterfalls alone. When you live so very far away from home, photos of lush waterfalls pouring into mossy grottos at the end of hikes through old-growth forests are as necessary as my morning coffee.

Which is how I found myself hiking through a light spitting of rain in a temperate rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula.

Most of the waterfalls here require that you earn them, often on unmarked, counter-intuitive trails tread by locals and savvy outsiders following serendipity – or a local grocery clerk’s sage advice. Murhut and Rocky Brook Falls fit this description, requiring anxious minutes of doubt as you drive deep into the dark of the forest, hoping you are going the right way. Our faith was rewarded generously with two very different falls, both majestic and powerful, but one a roaring, twisting tail of water, the other a shimmering curtain of hair over the sheer rock.

Sol Duc Falls, on the other hand, is well in the clutches of the established Olympic tourist circuit. Driving up towards the expensive hot springs and past the rainbow of tents in the trailhead campground, the waterfall trail is short, well-trod, and crowded. I didn’t care, however, as the falls is my personal favorite and celebrated for a reason. It’s a rip-roaring, angry, foaming forest spirit that has gouged the rock into a triple cascade, then gnashed its way into a deep crevasse below. Time your hike for just before dusk and you’ll mostly share the falls with the serious photographers, the majority of day-trippers already back at their camps and lodges for dinner. I leaned over the bridge, mesmerized, by the power and grace of the water.

For our first three nights we based ourselves in Sequim, on the east side of the bay at a little out-of-the-way place called Sunset Marine Resort. A handful of cabins line the shore and bluff nestled into a forest. Our cabin, the Skippers’ Quarters, felt like our own private tree house, where we sat on the porch at sunset to watch the blazing embers die over the mountains and I sipped my coffee in the stillness of dawn as a crane slowly danced the length of the rocky beach below.

Photos of this portion of Olympic National Park, as well as our hike to Dungeness Lighthouse, have been posted. To view the photo slideshow, click on the link below.

Eastern Olympic National Park

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About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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