Day One- Quinault

Road Trip around the Olympic peninsula

A professional 3 day meeting in Settle prompted pre-meeting 3 day vacation on the Olympic peninsula.

We were a bit lat making reservations for the 3 nights we had to spend on the Olympic peninsula just outside Seattle, so we had to take what was available. The trip turned out great anyway, so here is our itinerary and trip report, just in case you decide to go and have also have limited time.

Due to availability, we had to go clockwise rather than the commonly recommended counter-clockwise route. Most people will be renting a car from the airport. We had a friend who lives in Seattle deliver one of his cars for us to use. Honestly, that is a more convenient way to go. 🙂  Either way, head south on Interstate 5 into the capitol city of Olympia and take 101 north toward Aberdeen and then on to Quinault Lodge (don’t confuse it with Quinault Resort like we did). Honestly it is a pretty dull three hour drive through unimpressive countryside and dreary, run down towns. Just as you begin to wonder what all the fuss is about when you miss your turn to the Lodge and are confronted with the stunning view of Quinault Lake against a backdrop of conifer and snow covered mountains. Oh, so this is what all the fuss is about.

Quinault Lodge

The lodge was fairly full, so we got one of the more expensive “fireplace rooms” which is an updated room with a nice view of the lake and a modern TV. These rooms are quite nice, although for $250 plus per night, it would seem reasonable to have included a bit of sound insulation in the upgrades. Fortunately, we had considerate neighbors or that could have been an issue.

It was 3PM when we got settled in. After a local dark beer and some “trail mix” overlooking the lake, we decided , despite the unheard of heat wave, to take a 2 mile leisurely hike before dinner. We had read comments from tripadvisor (the virtual home of all the malcontents of the world) , comments like” what’s the big deal, just a bunch of trees and lots of green, nothing we haven’t seen before”. I think these people have come to expect everything to look like “larger than life” pictures we see in National Geographic. The hike we took was not life changing. But SOME of the trees were enormous and fallen giants that littered the forest were very impressive. We finished dripping in sweat and impressed yet again with God’s creativity and engineering of getting something that tall and that (relatively) small circumference to stay upright for 200 plus years.

We had munched all day and the dining room menu looked pretty pricey, so we went across to the Quinault mercantile for a cheap dinner. After confirming my suspicions with the waitress that the chili would be canned, we opted for a deluxe burger and fries. Very good burger. Really awful fries. One out of two ain’t bad. Early to bed, we are still on Eastern time.

In the lodge reception area we saw a picture of the lodge in the 1920’s. The enormous trees in the front circle drive out front were not even saplings at that time. Wow.

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