We had planned to take a Monday 7AM ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and spend as much time in Olympic National Park as possible and catch a Tuesday 7:30PM flight from SeaTac to San Francisco. We soon realized that trying to do all of the top 10 or so things to do was just not possible. Also, all tours I found would only do one or two things and then let you have "time to yourself", which was not appealing. Then I found Carolyn's website, saw what was then three or four reviews at tripadvisor, and checked the Chamber of Commerce & BBB. All were very positive and I reached out to Carolyn and we planned a great trip.
The key to the success of the trip was Carolyn. She helped me decide on what to see/do/drop, came prepared with snacks/water, and her little toys (excellent binoculars, birding cope, nighttime headlights for the pre sunset hick to the beach, etc) She truly was prepared for all, including rain ponchos which we thankfully didn't need.
I was also impressed at how she engaged my 12 &16 year old boy/girl who were not that thrilled about nature hikes. Carolyn always found things to point out and soon enough the attitude of "why can't I just stay in the car" was gone and everyone enjoyed the walk. Highlights ranged from spotting a Bald Eagle, to searching for and sampling three or four different berries growing along the path, to a two inch plus slug complete with a bio lesson!
Although she already had a half day tour booked for Monday morning, she gave directions and suggestions that allowed us to visit Hurricane Ridge on our own when we arrived in Port Angeles. She gave directions to a great place in town to stock up for a picnic lunch, and more important, to a picnic location away from the beaten path where the four of us had a peaceful lunch with the panorama on the attached picture all to ourselves. We then met Carolyn around 3 and she guided us the rest of the day through the next day returning to Port Angeles around 1:30 or so.
As we planned these two days, we had a second hurdle to overcome. Low tide was at 5:30 AM on Tuesday and quite a distance from Port Angeles. Carolyn suggested a place for us to overnight and she offered to camp nearby. This allowed us to hike along the mouth of the Elwa River, explore Ruby Beach, have dinner looking out on Crescent Lake, and a moonlit stroll along the Beach in LaPush all on Monday. Tuesday started at 5 AM for the ride/hike to Second Beach for tide pooling and a terrific sunrise. We then went back to the room to pack and were off to hiking in Hoh Rain Forest and a short walk tossing lots of stones into the Hoh River. Around noon we reluctantly acknowledge it was time to head back to Port Angeles and then south to the airport.
We really recommend Carolyn. It really felt more like we were out with a friend than a hired guide and her ability to connect with our teens was impressive.
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