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3 Full Days in July 2013

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PA
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3 Full Days in July 2013

my main question is 'is this possible?' here's the info on the trip:

-who: myself and my husband. early- and late- 30s respectively. moderate physical condition, like to hike; i carry a dSLR camera wherever i go.

-this will be the end of the first half of a cross country (and back) road trip.

-we will be driving from roughly spokane on saturday, arriving sometime late saturday afternoon. i do not anticipate doing anything else this day.

-we will then have all of sunday, monday, and tuesday at our disposal. we want to leave wednesday morning for seattle; my husband has to fly home from seattle on saturday morning and we'd like to spend at least two days in seattle before he does. (i'll then be driving back east very slowly. see my other thread if you'd like--in the road trip forum.)

-we would like to: drive hurricane ridge road and do a hike or two along the way (8-10 miles per day max).

-check out hoh rain forest

-check out a beach or two. the husband is thinking of the area around kalaoch, but i realize there's a whole coastline to explore. i'm open for suggestions.

given all of that, i'm looking for

1. thoughts on if this is do-able in the time we have.

2. a way to break it up--should we stay in one place and drive, or stay in a different place each night?

3. whatever the answer to question 2, i'd like specific suggestions of inexpensive places to stay. we will not be traveling with camping gear.

please note: i understand that there are park-run lodging options and non-park-run lodging options. i suppose, given our price range, that i have to be looking at NON park-run lodging options. this will limit my location choices.

Port Angeles, WA
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1. Re: 3 Full Days in July 2013

This trip is easily doable. My only caution is that the Hurricane Ridge trails may still be under snow. Obstruction Point Rd., unfortunately, will almost certainly still be closed, so the gorgeous Badger Valley and Lillian Ridge trails will be inaccessible. Hurricane Hill Trail will probably be open. It's a fairly easy, 90 minute round trip with incredible views. The Switchback to Klahane Ridge may be open. This trail is steep but very rewarding. The alpine meadows along the The Switchback are so full of wild flowers that we call them the Hanging Gardens. You can find details and pictures on www.kaleberg.com.

Kalaloch is not a good beach choice. It's boring compared to the lovely beaches near LaPush. You should visit Rialto Beach and Second Beach. Try to arrive at Second Beach an hour before low tide so that you can reach the little cave and the hidden coves. I have tide tables on my website.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but you probably should stay in Forks. It's an ugly little town with a paucity of decent food, but it's cheap, and it's closer to the Hoh Rain Forest and LaPush than Port Angeles is. You might consider spending the first night in Port Angeles. I really don't know your budget, or what you consider inexpensive, so I can't recommend a motel. The best of a mediocre lot is the Olympic Lodge. July is high season, and the park region has relatively few places to stay, so make sure you book in advance.

Olympia
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2. Re: 3 Full Days in July 2013

A word of caution. Spokane to Seattle is about six hours doing the speed limit. Please don't speed as the WSP will undoubtedly be monitoring you from the air. Then, you either need to catch a ferry, or drive through Bremerton or Olympia. Summertime entails long lines at the ferry terminal. Your choices are Seattle, Edmonds or Mukilteo AND Clinton. If you use the latter, you will need a reservation. Don't miss the reserved time!! From Winslow (Seattle ferry) or Kingston (Edmonds ferry) you have another 2+ hour drive.

If all you have is one day to get from Spokane to PA, punt. The traffic on the Peninsula will be slow and daunting. Better to break it up and add a day.

By the by, I love Toleak Point as a hike from 101 to the coast. It's a board trail and the sights are out of this world. Plan a sundown visit. It's spectacular. (Google the name for images).

PA
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3. Re: 3 Full Days in July 2013

kaleberg--i hadn't considered snow in this area, which is odd since i've been 'considering snow' for every other part of my trip. ooops! i will need to look into this some more. thanks for the great hiking advice! i was thinking about forks as a base, despite all of the not-great things i've heard about it (and despite the fact that i was honestly concerned that the not-great places have hiked up their prices because, well, they are in 'forks' and now there are millions of people who want to go there because of those stupid books...) I will look into Olympic Lodge--thanks! and i will make my husband reconsider his beach quest (he based his decision on a very brief review of a section of a national parks book; the planning of this giant trip is daunting!) so thanks!!! however...see below...

townsend--hmmm. i may need to take your response to mean 'no, you don't have enough time to do this'. yes, we really only have one day from spokane (or, rather, two days from glacier national park). the plan was to leave super early in the morning and spend the day driving. while this isn't ideal, it's the only way to fit olympic in; we leave glacier on a thursday and my husband needs to fly out of seattle the following saturday; we'd like to spend at least two days in seattle (i, especially, need this, as i'll then be driving BACK to PA and need to stay put somewhere for at least three nights for my sanity!) hmm. i will need to think about this further...

Amsterdam, The...
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4. Re: 3 Full Days in July 2013

Spokane is a long drive, but if you get an early start it's not out of the question. Take I-90 to HWY 18 and then out to the peninsula via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to avoid dealing with the Seattle Metro area.

PA
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5. Re: 3 Full Days in July 2013

so i revisited my friend google maps, and realized something: there's really no reason for us to stop in spokane (other than the fact that i have a 'virtual' friend who lives there that i'd like to meet in person) so i COULD just make the previous day a longer driving day, thus putting us closer on 'arrival to olympic' day. if i leave glacier early that friday and drove for 8 hours or so, i'd be in the mt ranier area at a still-reasonable time. the only plan for the remainder of that day is 'do laundry' and 'find wifi' (i need to work, well, work into this trip, as i'm going to be gone for two months!) so all of THAT being said--what's a good place to stop for a night in the mt. ranier area that would offer a cheap motel with wifi (or near somewhere that may have wifi, like a bookstore or fast food restaurant) a laundromat would probably be nice at this point, too! (wow now i'm REALLY getting into the mundane details, aren't i?!?)

Olympia
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6. Re: 3 Full Days in July 2013

You are right. I've driven the other way to Glacier. There just isn't enough time in your itinerary. A better bet is to drive to Seattle and take in Mt. Rainier or Mt. St. Helens. Being from the Olympic Peninsula, you'd be better served to do ONP next trip.

Port Angeles, WA
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7. Re: 3 Full Days in July 2013

I totally disagree with skipping ONP in favor of Mt. Rainier or Mt. St. Helens. ONP is unique in its mix of three ecosystems: alpine, rain forest, and marine. One of the glories of hiking the Hurricane Ridge trails is being able to see the ocean as well as the gorgeous mountain landscapes. The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the wonders of the world; it is deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rialto Beach, Ruby Beach, Second Beach, and Third Beach are wild, isolated, and hauntingly lovely. If you skip Spokane as you propose, you can manage the drive out to Port Angeles. There is lots of daylight in July, and the drive, while long, is doable.

By the way, millions of people are not coming to Forks, which is just as well. The Twilight craze brought thousands of visitors, but the Twilight boom has passed. 2012 got fewer than half as many visitors as the peak year. Forks still has many inexpensive, basic but acceptable, lodgings. It also has a very good location near some of the greatest beauties in ONP. If you can handle limited food options and a complete lack of grace, charm, or things to do after dinner, you will be perfectly OK with Forks.

Poulsbo, Washington
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8. Re: 3 Full Days in July 2013

No offense Kaleberg, but where is the grace and charm in PA. Mostly kidding. Elbodans Kaleberg is right about the mediocre food and lack of charm in Forks. he is also right, that you can find reasonable rates in Forks for places to stay. kids are still visiting because of Twilight, but it has died down. If you want a nice quiet, reasonable and cmfortable place to stay in Forks check out the cabins at Huckelberry Lodge. A little further from Forks and a little more expensive are the Cabins at Beaver Creek. The latter is next to a river and on an old homestead. If you want to cook in a kitchen or on a grill, both places are nice. You can read reviews from visitors from all across the globe on their websites. Go to the Forks Chamber of Commerce. Snow on the trails is only going to be an issue at higher elevations like the hike Kaleberg mentioned at Klahane Ridge, which is a very good one. When in July is the key. Snow can linger some years until early August, but by the end of July "generally" snow is spotty. Snow usually lasts a little longer at Rainier. I also agree that Kalaloch is not one of the prettier beaches. Rialto and Second Beach West of Forks are far more dramatic. Keep in mind even in July it can be cool and socked in on the beaches. It can also be warm and clear. If you want to make the most of hiking around Hurricane Ridge you will want to spend at least one night in Port Angeles.

PA
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9. Re: 3 Full Days in July 2013

townsend--i guess i'm just bummed that 'next trip' may not be for a while. a very, very long while. i've fallen in love with a great many places in this world, and i've only returned to a tiny percentage of them (and mainly because i fell in love with them without my husband and my husband then demanded i take him there; new orleans, for example.)

kaleberg--i don't doubt that ONP is well worth my time; i'm simply concerned that i don't have ENOUGH time. but your post (along with glaciermeadow's) gives me hope, yours in the 'ability to find reasonable lodging' sense. i don't need fancy, i don't need nightlife; i need a clean (ish) place to sleep (and write; ok, mostly write) after a day out in the park, ideally somewhere near-ish to things i want to see and do. forks sounds like it fits the bill. plus i'm a middle school english teacher; all of my girls would die to hear about my visit there (i am not making this up. i'm grading short stories right now and today i read one that was set in forks. yeah.) i think i would, as you put it, 'be perfectly ok with forks'.

glaciermeadow--i will look up both of those places right now--thanks! and yes, the ability to cook would be great. the westward portion of this trip is going to be seriously lacking in food options (which i will more than make up for on my way home, as i'm planning entire stops based on bbq alone) so being able to make my own food would be nice. to answer your timing question--we'd be there from july 13th-17th (arriving later in the day on the 13th and leaving early-ish on the 17th, so really the 14th, 15th, and 16th.

Edited: 10:33 pm, December 03, 2012
Poulsbo, Washington
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10. Re: 3 Full Days in July 2013

Let me know if any of the places I have recommended apeals to you and feel free to ask me questions. I have stayed at one, and checked out the other. Right now motels in Forks have cheap winter rates. They go up in late Spring. for not alot more you can get your own cabin. Also check out Boggie Bungalow on the Forks Chamber of Commerce. It is very basic, and small, but a decent place to stay. I know forks very well, so feel free to ask questions. Not everyone likes staying in Forks, because of the lack of decent food and it being pretty drab. the people, however are quite nice and for me all I care about is a good bed and getting to my favorite places in the Park earlier before the crowds. It also means being able to stick around for wildlife viewing at dusk and sunsets on the Ocean. Everyone has different tastes, budgets and requirements.