There are a number of ways of getting across Puget Sound, but having checked out the Chihuly glass sculptures in Tacoma, we drove past Olympia to pick up the 101 as it climbs its way back up north. Soon you’ll leave any memory of city streets and traffic behind and find yourself surrounded by nothing but endless forests and, most likely, moody grey skies. This is one of the wettest places in all of the US, so bring rain gear and don’t expect blue skies and sunshine. As much as we love the sun, it didn’t bother us and felt very appropriate, in a J.R.R. Tolkien kind of way.
Just before the 101 starts heading west, you can take a brief side trip and follow the 19 to the historic town of Port Townsend, with its Victorian district that’s a national historic landmark. Past Sequim Bay, you’ll end up in Port Angeles on the northern coast, where if you were to swim straight out of the harbor and aim north you’d end up in Victoria on Vancouver Island (something we obviously don’t advise doing; besides, there’s a ferry).
About 20 miles west of Port Angeles, you’ll find Lake Crescent (above), the largest lake in the area and so deep (over 1000 feet) that its exact depth is unknown.
Lake Crescent Lodge is worth a look at for its picturesque setting, which it has occupied since 1915, and historical significance, hosting Franklin D. Roosevelt on his tour of the Olympic Peninsula that led to the creation of Olympic National Park in 1938. It offers a number of rooms and cottages if you want to stay the night, or take more time to have a few lazy days sitting in Adirondack chairs and rowing out onto the crystal clear water.
Next up, we’ll continue winding down the 101 and take the turnoff into the heart of the Olympic National Park and its gorgeous rainforest.