Olympic National Park

In February, at the height of the rainy season in the Olympic National Forest, the Other Half had a work function in Seattle. Since it fell right around President’s Day, we decided to meet up and visit another national park over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, we drove to the Kalaloch Lodge, a rustic lodge which sits on the Olympic Peninsula within easy driving distance of several beaches, the national park, and the national forest. The views from the lodge are beautiful, and the front desk has an entire closet full of board and card games to play while you listen to the sound of the ocean after dark.

Our first goal was to visit the Hoh Rainforest, a lush temperate rainforest which contains a 17-mile trail to the base of Mount Olympus, the aptly-named and well-known Hoh River Trail. While we didn’t complete the trail due to the limited time we had in the area, we had a great time looking into the clear waters of the river while we hiked. There were several places the trail was difficult to find due to washouts or fallen trees, but it made the adventure that more interesting and fun.

We were also able to visit Ruby Beach, windswept and gravelled, which serves as a dramatic foreground for the many storms that break over Olympic Peninsula.

But the highlight of our trip was clambering over a mountain hilariously titled Colonel Bob. No one else was hiking in the misty morning fog, and even the birds were quiet when we started. As we hiked upward and clambered, the views fell away around us and reminded us why we love visiting the outdoors- that inner peace you can only feel when you’re surrounded by nature and those you love.

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Kauai’s North Shore

The north shore of Kauai is known for its planned resort area, Princeville, as well as Hanalei Bay, world-renowned for its beaches and surfing. However, it also contains two great places to see native island wildlife: the Hanalei Bay and Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuges.

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A day in Honolulu

The Other Half and I recently celebrated our anniversary in Hawaii. As part of this trip, we had a one-day stopover in Honolulu so we could visit Pearl Harbor while we were in the state.

We arrived mid-morning and went out for brunch before walking around downtown Honolulu. After a bit of local wildlife-watching, we caught the bus to the west side of town to visit Pearl Harbor.

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Rocky Mountain National Park

We’ve driven by Rocky Mountain National Park so many times in our lives that we really have no valid excuses as to why we haven’t visited before. On our trip home this spring, we decided to finally take the plunge and visit the park. Most of the hotels in Estes Park were either full or didn’t allow pets, so we stayed a bit further away in Loveland for the night.

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Black Mesa State Park

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When you think of the state of Oklahoma, you might envision one of a very short list of things:

(1) The strange political nature of some of the area’s politicians

(2) Wheat and cattle, flowing over a flatly monotonous expanse

Oklahoma may have both of these things in excess, but it is also a land of surprising diversity. In it is contained a part of the wet and scenic Ozark Plateau, the Arbuckle and Wichita Mountains, the expansive and refractile salt flats in the north, the wet and sticky southeastern swamps, the deciduous forests of the east, and, of course, the plains regions. In the panhandle are plains and desert leading to the highest point in the state: Black Mesa, which stands at almost 5,000 feet elevation on the Oklahoma-New Mexico-Colorado border.

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