I love the ocean! After leaving Lake Crescent on Tuesday morning, I headed straight for the coast. I had thought about stopping at Sol Duc, but the weather was iffy and I didn't want to miss getting to hike to some of the beaches. I started at the northern end and went to Rialto Beach first. There was one woman just leaving, so then I was the only one on the whole beach, and felt like I was the first person to ever walk there. I love that feeling, even though I know it's false!
Many of the beaches along the coast have "stacks", which are pretty self-explanatory. Big rocks all stacked up, sticking out of the ocean. Rialto Beach was first, then heading south are First, Second, and Third Beach. Those all require a hike and I had heard Second Beach was the best, so that's where I went. Beautiful! I got there as the tide was heading out, and could wander around a bit.
Next I had to get back to the main road, and this is when I went to the Hoh Rainforest. By this time it was really raining hard (not just the easy mist that I've experienced so far in WA) and I walked around a bit but kept getting more and more wet.
I went to Ruby Beach next, where I ended up getting completely drenched in the rain and wind, but the beach itself was beautiful... so it was worth being cold! Next time I need to wear something other than jeans! There were some neat rock formations here, so I'd love to explore again on a warmer or drier day... or wear waterproof wind pants!
Heading south from Ruby Beach is when I got to Kalaloch Lodge, which is a lodge right on the ocean where I had made reservations. Again, I was so thankful for good advice from ladies at the women's retreat! I had hoped to plan my day to watch the sunset at the beach, but with all the clouds, wind, and rain, I had given up on that idea. Well, just as I was pulling into the lodge, the clouds broke open a bit and I could see hints of yellow. By the time I finished checking in, I realized I was in for a real treat and headed straight for the beach. It was a beautiful evening! I got to chat with a family from Seattle who tried to walk out to some of the rocks, but couldn't make it when high tide started coming in. They were drenched too! Then, as the sun was going down I went into the gazebo for a picture and met a man in his late 60's who works for the National Park Service and has worked at 15 different parks. He's ended up staying here for a few years because he loves it so much, and he gave lots of great hints of things to see next time!
The lodge itself was great, right on the ocean. Because I had only made reservations that morning, the only thing left (besides the $250 cabins!) was a cabin that was back a little farther, had two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, and would be great for a family staying a few days who wanted a good home-base. I'd recommend it! Next time I'll call earlier and get a hotel-style room in the lodge with an ocean view. It was really nice to spread out in some space, though, and have a little kitchen.