Friday, August 14, 2015

Sol Duc Campground

On Wednesday we moved west.  The route from the Elwha Valley on Highway 101 takes you by beautiful Lake Crescent.  I suspect this would have been a great spot to spend some time but I was more interested in visiting the Sol Duc Valley.

    Lake Crescent

We decided to stay in the Sol Duc Campground, rather than the nearby Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, mostly be cause it was cheaper ($20 a night) and because the surroundings of the campground are much nicer than the open area of the resort RV campground.

    Sol Duc Campground

I think this is my favorite Olympic National Park campground so far - and it's popularity is obvious.  I arrived in the early afternoon and found it to be roughly 75% full.  That night it seemed like more than a few vehicles were circling the campground trying (unsuccessfully I bet) to find an open campsite.  After struggling to find a semi flat spot to park the MoFo, we finally settled in.

One of the primary attractions of this area is the nearby Sol Duc Falls.  A trail from the campground leads to the falls which are 2.8 miles away, according to the sign.  Alternatively you can drive up the road a bit to a spot where the hike in is less than a mile.
  
    Sol Duc Falls

The falls are well worth the trip and you could fill your camera with endless shots from a variety of different angles.  I was surprised at the number of folks there with multiple cameras, tripods and other expensive looking gear.  For me, my iPhone and GoPro had to suffice.

As I got there and walked down to the river above the falls someone asked me, "Did you see the black bear?"  Just my luck I hadn't but apparently seconds before I got there a black bear crossed the river a bit further upstream!  On my way back, just outside of the campground, I found a pile of black bear scat on the side of the trail.  It seemed fairly fresh (although I didn't subject it to any kind of rigorous testing) and I don't believe it was there on my way in.  Two chances to see (or be eaten by) a black bear and I missed them both!

    Near where the black bear crossed

The next morning I met a couple from the Bay Area who were visiting the Olympic National Park to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with their family.  They asked me if I had heard the raccoons overnight.  I hadn't, of course, and neither had Rudy apparently.  These folks heard them rustling around outside and also heard their chirping.  They were in the next campsite over, so I suspected they came by my site as well.

Another wildlife encounter missed! But at least there were no snakes!





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