OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK
Olympic National Park is located in Washington and it is like three parks in one. You can stand on top of 7,000 foot mountains with awe-inspiring 360 degree views that look like the Alps, walk among giant moss covered trees in a temperate rain forest, or walk along rocky beaches with off-shore sea stacks. And, you can do it all in one day!
The park is defined by the atmosphere and the weather. Due to its location on the west coast and the size of the mountains, rain and clouds and fog play an important role. You can start your trip into the park at the base of the mountains in full cloud cover, convinced you won't see anything. But just before the road ends, you emerge above the clouds into the most amazing light as the sun rises. Or, if you are very lucky, you can see the full moon setting over snow covered mountains right before the sun rises! And for extra measure, you can go from completely clear to completely fogged in, and back again in minutes. Mist rises up and suddenly surrounds you, rainstorms with thunder and lightening descend upon the valley, and clouds come and go quickly. Olympic is easily one of my favorite places.
[Click on any thumbnail to see a larger image]