Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why come to the Olympic Peninsula??

Marymere Falls
Recently, far away from any large city, deep in a moss filled forest that is more reminiscent of Jurassic Park than of a typical national park, a question I was once asked popped back into my head. The question, asked by a good friend and well respected business person, was “what makes the Olympic Peninsula so special” to you. In fact, he went on to ask why anyone should visit this place when amazing areas such as the Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons and Yosemite National Parks are so much more developed and accessible.  At the time, I really didn’t have an answer. I love the area; I consider it my home and think that everyone should come to the Olympic Peninsula. Here are     just a few reasons…

Devil's Punchbowl, Lake Crescent
Hoh Rain Forest
The Olympic Peninsula is not only one of the most diverse areas in the United States, it is also one of the youngest developed. The Olympic Peninsula, in some ways, is like how the Yosemite Valley was in the 1920s. Sure, we have roads, the timber industry and all that, but we also have pristine, untouched wilderness, rugged views and nature that feels natural. Comparing Yosemite to the Olympic Peninsula may seem absurd, but that is just what I am going to do. In the early 1900’s, tourists flocked from the East Coast to go to Yosemite to see the wilderness of the west. Much of the east had been developed, and Yosemite offered amazing views, rivers, waterfalls and mountains to climb. It was a place of wonder and excitement, a place to reconnect with nature. Now, Yosemite is overcrowded. It is still beautiful, but when everyone comes to the same place to connect with nature, it tends to lose the natural feeling. The Olympics offer what Yosemite has and more. From hundreds of mountains to climb, to waterfalls around every corner of trails, The Olympics rival Yosemite for natural beauty, and beat it for crowds and truly have a unique vacation. With just under 3 million people in the park last year, the Olympic National Park seems nearly empty to all of us who frequent it, yet, this number of tourists is consistent and you are rarely alone unless you want to be.

Neah Bay
Ruby Beach
The Olympic Peninsula has all the amenities one would want, from fantastic, scenic hotels, to the latest in culinary arts. The proximity to Seattle Tacoma International Airport makes it easy and affordable to get to, unlike Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons. We also have many places to stay at all levels of price, rarely selling out. Numerous times I have been forced to drive to Yellowstone straight through, or car camp because of large amounts of tourists in the area. This has never happened to my family or I in the Olympics.

Sunrise from the Olympics
Mt. Olympus
From Hurricane Ridge
As far as mountains on the Olympic Peninsula, well don’t get me started! With well over 200 mountains in the area and 89 peaks between 6500ft and the tallest point, Mt. Olympus, stands at 7,969ft; the Olympic Peninsula is a mountain climber’s playground. In fact, says that “For their height, the Olympic Mountains are quite possibly the most spectacular mountains in the world outside of the polar regions. Nowhere do the Olympics crack the 8000 foot barrier, making them of almost Appalachian stature, but their incredible array of jagged peaks, massive glaciers, and epic approach marches is only matched in one or two other ranges in the entire "Lower 48" United States.” Many of these are visible and accessible after just a 17 mile car trip to Hurricane Ridge from Port Angeles!

Roosevelt Elk
Danger: Mountain Goat
Let’s say you want to see animals. The Olympic Peninsula may not be as animal friendly as Yellowstone National Park or the Grand Tetons, but we have quite a bit going for us!   Just a s a brief summary, on the Olympic Peninsula there are many species of Fish, Birds, Amphibians,Reptiles, Marine Mammals and Terrestrial Mammals. From the unique OlympicMarmot, the Roosevelt Elk in which the park was created to the many species of Salmon and the awesome, yet phallic Geoducks and Banana Slugs, as well as Whales, Porpoises and Otters, the Olympic Peninsula is full of unique and amazing wildlife.

Mt. Ellinor
Friendly Deer
The Olympic Peninsula is one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. With stunning views of the ocean, the rain forest, numerous species of flora and fauna, as well as some of the most remote areas in the lower 48 states, the Olympic Peninsula will leave you and your family with memories to last a lifetime. The Olympic Peninsula has something for everyone. Instead of going someplace with everyone, come and experience the Olympic Peninsula with Exotic Hikes. 

Until I see you on the trails,
Douglas Scott
Exotic Hikes

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