We spent the second part of our 2017 summer vacation in our very favorite place, Yosemite National Park! We visited the area for three whole days, again staying at Rush Creek Lodge just outside the Big Oak Flat entrance to the park.
Today, the National Park Service turns 100! What an amazing milestone! Think of all the lives impacted by our national parks — including mine — over the course of the past 100 years …
If you are lucky enough to live near a National Park Service site, take advantage of free admission this weekend (August 25-28) and go #FindYourPark!
The bummer is that I don’t know that I’ll be making it to a national park during this centennial year. So in light of no new trip pictures, I thought I’d use Throwback Thursday to finally share some pictures from last summer’s cruise around the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. We visited the Apostle Islands from our northern Wisconsin base camp at Copper Falls State Park.
We can’t be so close in proximity to three different national parks and not visit at least one of them. For our short trip to the Seattle area in December, Olympic National Park was that one park.
Now in all reality, Mount Rainier National Park was much closer to where we were staying. But given the weather, we couldn’t even see the mountain — the cloud cover was just too thick. And based on our not-so-ideal trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks several years ago, we thought it best not to ruin our first Rainier experience.
It took us about three hours to get from our hotel to the southern edge of the park. Three hours in torrential rain. I didn’t mind, though. If it hadn’t been raining, I would have been a little disappointed in my first Pacific Northwest experience.
It became very apparent just how much rain had fallen when we got out of the car for my mandatory park sign photo. We had to jump over a full culvert. The “solid” ground was wet mush — and my inadequate boots failed to keep water out.
But I had to get my sign picture — without it, it’s like it never happened.
After lunch at Kalaloch Lodge, we drove to Ruby Beach. We weren’t sure how close to the beach we’d be able to get with all the wind and rain, but we made it pretty close.
We continued our drive through mist-laced mountains and forests north to La Push. The wind was even wilder at First Beach — I had to push my whole body into the car door to open it, the wind was so powerful against it. The wind whipped Jason and me all around — It was such an awesome experience and SO worth the detour!
We wanted to make it to the one open park visitor center in Port Angeles before it closed, so we didn’t make any other stops. However, we made note of the hauntingly beautiful Lake Crescent along the northern edge of the park. We WILL be planning a trip back there for sure!
This was a super quickie national park visit for us, but we made the most of our limited time. What we saw of Olympic National Park — which, admittedly, wasn’t much — was beautiful. We’ve always intended a trip just to visit the park, and this short visit confirmed that a longer visit will happen.
We have been to Yosemite National Park four times now. And we realized on this most recent trip that we definitely have a Yosemite routine:
- We catch lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli near Mono Lake on our way into the park.
- We go on at least one epic hike.
- We spend at least one day in Tuolumne Meadows.
- We eat dinner at the Curry Village Pizza Deck EVERY night.
- We try to catch a show at the Yosemite theater.
- We make the drive up to Glacier Point at least once during our stay.
Despite our routine, we try to fit in new experiences. In a place like Yosemite, it would take a lifetime to see and do it all.