Last time my husband and I went to the Olympic National Park for a hike along the coast, we drove to Forks, WA, where we would start the trip from, in one day. The next day, we drove to Port Angeles, WA to pick up our permit and then back. About an hour drive each way. This time, we chose to do things a little differently.

We took two days to travel, even though the drive can be done in one. We spent a night in Yakima, WA. I got a hotel room through Priceline (which actually books hotel rooms through It was a cheap one, and I’m pretty sure that’s how my credit card number got stolen.

But it was nice to take our time on the way. We got to drive all in daylight and see the landscape that we were driving through. I’m pretty sure I saw a mountain lion on the side of the road. It looked like it had been hit and was just getting up, but only its front legs were working. We drove by so quickly I can’t be completely sure I saw it, but I think I did.

It was nice to stop for the day in the early afternoon. Although, for some reason, the hotel didn’t have our confirmation. So the clerk gave me a number to call. But it was the wrong number. The Travelocity guy kindly transferred me to the people, who, after much conversation, finally resent the confirmation to the hotel and we got a room.

It was a horrible room. I mean. It was pretty much what we paid for. It was cheap. So cheap that there were holes in the floor, stains on the walls and the beds were pretty gnarly. But we made do and there was a good restaurant less than a block away where we got a yummy dinner. I slept alright that night, and we left bright and early the next morning and drove to the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles.

At Port Angeles, we got our permit, adding another night to it, because Ambrose had thought we didn’t need the permit for camping near Hole in the Wall, but the ranger corrected that assumption. Since we were doing so many nights, we had purchased a yearly pass instead of paying by the night. That allowed us to add another night without paying extra. Totally worth it.

From there, we drove over to Forks and got a campsite at the Riverview RV Park. We got set up there and waited for the third member of our party to arrive. On this trip, we were hiking with a man Ambrose had met through an online backpacking forum. Bill also lives in Idaho, but in the north. This would be his first trip on the coast.

After some packing and repacking of our required bear canisters, we did some driving around the area. We stopped in La Push and took a walk around First Beach. Then dinner and back to the campsite for the night. The next day was really just a matter of waiting for the tide to be right for starting the hike.

Ambrose, Bill and I on First Beach.

First Beach

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