Through decades of traveling and countless night stays, meals, and experiences, it’s difficult to recall every moment spent abroad. This is especially true for a travel writer like me, who has spent the past 15+ years traveling to 25+ countries. Every day in a new place consists of several meals, a new bed to lay my head down on, new people, cultures, and ways of life. And after awhile it can be difficult to remember every detail. But what’s left is a general feel for the place.
“I have arrived,” I muttered to myself, with a deep sigh of relief. After months of planning and decades of dreaming, I found myself in the state of Washington with my head cricked upward as I peered at the towering pines in awe. Finally off the plane and into a shiny new Audi rental car, with only the open road before me. Surrounded by dwindling city and ever taller trees, I put on some Pacific Northwest inspired playlists and faded into the experience. I felt free and clear with endless possibilities. For ten days, I didn’t have to adhere to any schedule, I didn’t have to wake up early to head to the office, and there were no diapers to change. The only sensation that beats this feeling is when I was in Europe some years ago with no end date in sight, where I ended up spending nine months abroad.
Restaurant Feature - A perfect day ending at Hook & Line Pub in Port Angeles, WA
A couple weeks ago, I found myself in the Pacific Northwest and I was having a perfect day. It was day three of my adventures around Olympic National Park and the Olympic peninsula, and I had just drove back from an amazing hike to Marymere Falls. The day before I drove a couple hours to the renowned Hoh Rainforest and the Spruce Nature Trail, enjoying perhaps one of the most spiritually active places in the world, as those are trails that take you through the old growth forests where the trees reach upwards of 200-300ft and 12-20ft in diameter, and every limb is painted in green air plants and moss.
For decades, I dreamt of experiencing the old growth forests of Washington, with the massive trees reaching skyward, air plants hanging from every branch, and blankets of moss littered with fungi. Being from Ohio, we have some lovely forests, but they’re all young growth due to human’s clearcutting everything. The trees in Ohio are toddler trees, and I yearned to see land undisturbed by human presence. The years of the pandemic put me off, but after things calmed down, I made sure Washington was the first place I’d visit after the excruciating time off from travel.
A few minutes outside the northern section of the famous Olympic National Park, Port Angeles is a seaside town with a lot to do and see, and loads of unique shopping opportunities, as well as restaurants that are as good as anybody could want. Olympic National Park is known for its stunning untouched old growth forests, stellar mountain views, and fantastic hiking, as well as a few rocky coast adventures worth having. Spending 3-4 or 5 days in and around the park will yield an experience of a lifetime, but what’s more is that Port Angeles is worth adding a day on to any trip for.
A mere 30-minute drive from the mystical Olympic National Park of Washington state is a small seaside town known for their cultivation of gorgeous lavender flowers, as well as for the Dungeness crab. As you drive around town and the surrounding areas, you are hit with just how beautiful fields of lavender are. As an herbalist, I am fascinated by this medicinal herb, and know it as one of my all-time favorites. I recently ventured through Sequim and the surrounding areas, and very much enjoyed the coast, the lavender fields, and the small attractions the town has to offer. While somewhat dwarfed by the draw of Olympic National Park, Sequim is among one of the few gateway towns to the park and is a perfect starting place for anyone looking to enjoy old growth forests, rocky coastlines, and snowcapped mountains.
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