Trip Dates: Friday, January 19th, 2018 - Sunday, January 21st, 2018
This post is a little hard for me to write mostly because vulnerability is not my strong suit. One of my favorite TED Talks by Brené Brown stated "Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness." So, here it goes...
On Christmas Eve, I was in Buffalo and decided to book a trip to Seattle to visit a 'friend' who would be there for work. It sounded like it would be a great time: sushi in the city and exploring Pike Place and the Chihuly Garden and Glass, etc. And while it all sounded fun, I knew this particular 'friend' was not the most reliable. Turns out, three days before the trip, I received a text message that was not really necessary in the first place and my 'fear' of the reliability (or lack thereof) became the truth, thereby enacting the backup plan I fairly meticulously had created in the back of my mind.
While some may have received such a message and cancelled their trip, I love solo adventuring and boarded an Alaska Airlines flight early Friday evening destined for Seattle after all. I didn't pick up my rental car until dark (it was a steal at a whopping $40 for the entire weekend) and decided I was just going to head towards Olympic National Park with no campsite reservation and rather dull headlights. I pulled into an empty site at Heart O' the Hills campground and crawled in the backseat to count sheep in the complete and utter darkness. I'm not sure what required more courage: to travel to Seattle solo or to try to sleep while being completely unaware of my surroundings. Luckily I can sleep anywhere, at anytime (I once fell asleep at a Bon Jovi concert at the Staples Center) and realized all was well when I woke up with the sun. It was actually too great; Heart O' the Hills is on the list to visit again.
I made the most of Saturday - exploring every aspect of the park - even though it was "closed." It just so happens that my luck really kept getting worse on this trip. The day I flew to Washington to check out Olympic National Park, the United States Government decided to close, subsequently closing National Parks and thus rendering my arriving at the Visitor Center at 8am useless. Except, here's where my luck started improving... Since I had arrived before they even opened, some of the employees hadn't yet gotten word about the government shut down and I was able to convince one of these employees to stamp my National Park passport, #success! From there, it was time to explore the empty, closed, National Park.
Hurricane Ridge, plenty of scenic pullouts, and my favorite Marymere Falls Trail, this trip was completely worth it. Marymere Falls was incredible. A short two mile hike brought me into the lush greenery that is the Pacific Northwest, over a bridge, and to an incredible waterfall. After the hike I stopped and reflected at Crescent Lake where I was one of a handful of people there. Although somewhat overcast and dreary (PNW in January, duh), the weather was perfect and I was in awe as I drove over to Second Beach on the coast, passing through Forks and pretending for a brief moment I was a Twilight fan.
So Second Beach was windy and crazy, just like the trip as a whole but it was still beautiful. Walking through lush greenery to discover the coast of the Pacific Northwest was like a movie scene. I truly did not expect such beauty but boy did I enjoy it, even if I was getting blown away while admiring the scenery. My final stop on my tour of Olympic National Park was the Hoh Rain Forest area. Despite some drizzly rain, I hiked up to the Hall of the Mosses, passing by a tribe of moose on the side of the road along the way!
As Saturday came to a close, the adventures continued. I knew I should be making my way back to Seattle. Since the parks were closed, I decided to save Rainier for another time. From Hoh Rain Forest to Seattle, it was about a four hour drive and I'd pass through a couple smaller cities complete with hotels. But, for some reason, I just couldn't justify spending $100+ on a hotel room and I was too scared to sleep at the campground I pulled into as the wind was just a little too much for me. So, I officially slept in my first rest area and I was so... proud of this accomplishment. I assume my mom thought I was in a hotel but surprise, I'm still alive!
Sunday was spent exploring the city. I went to Chihuly Garden and Glass after all, got sushi at the restaurant my friend recommended, explored Pike Place Market, went to the "first" Starbucks, and just enjoyed the company of... myself!
So sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together: I got a much needed introvert weekend to myself, checked another National Park off the list, and got a taste of how Iceland would be... More on that soon!