Nature Therapy Travel

THE PENINSULA FIX

Olympic Peninsula

A cup hit my chest with a liquid explosion, and I spun to my left yelling, “What the f@*k?!” Lukewarm coffee dripped down the front of my neck and bled into my white shirt before my early morning mind could even gather what had happened.

My eyes met the angry-at-the-world woman who threw it, probably in her 30’s but looking a decade older from a clearly rough life on the street. Swallowed by a giant military jacket, it was the same thin woman I passed 10 minutes earlier with my daughter to drop her off for preschool. The rough shave across her head made her stare seem darker. She walked past me glaring with hate at my entire being.

The emptiness in her eyes left me feeling kinda sorry for her though. Because really, the experience felt like a general rude awakening back to the city I lived, nothing personal.

I had just spent three days camping in Olympic National Park, amongst the stillness of old-growth trees and rugged beaches. And as I stepped onto an overcrowded bus for work in a coffee covered shirt (created by another human’s fit of rage), I decided escaping the grind of urban life was a necessity.

Long live the “peninsula fix” — leaving the cold, relentless parts of the city behind to get wild.

The pull between any city and nature is like the yin and yang. Great friends to have drinks with, fun events, decadent food and absolutely fabulous superficialism are in an opposite parallel universe with stillness, beautiful wilderness, canned beans and primitive living.

Sometimes, the best part about living in Seattle is leaving Seattle. Adventure surrounds the place.

One of the biggest draws about living in Washington is the peninsula. It holds one of the last big stands of old-growth coastal temperate rainforest in the lower 48 states. Up to 90 percent of this ecosystem has disappeared in North America. These forests line rocky beaches, alluring visitors to hike down a mile of woods to get to the clean sand and driftwood perches, frequent sea urchin sightings, ski from the rope tow, and take pictures of the jagged boulders climbing out of the turbulent waves.

Car and hike-in camping areas are sprinkled in and around Olympic National Park. At the north end of the park, the beautiful Crescent Lake sits with its vintage glamping lodge. It neighbors Sol Doc hot springs and a couple short waterfall hikes. Beachfront hotels and cabins are available at La Push. On the southwest side of the park, Kalaloch Lodge also offers places overlooking the Pacific.

Everyone loves the summer, but fall and early spring are some of the best months to go — right before and after the summer frenzies and long-reserved camping spots (although first-come is always an option). Sometimes during those typically rainy months, the enchantment of the peninsula will even deliver an empty beach and a sunny day.

Stay tuned for the top Olympic Peninsula spots to visit!

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