Olympic National Park, WA // Lake Crescent and Marymere Falls

take a short hike through a magical mossy forest to visit the enchanting Marymere Falls, in the heart of the Olympic National Park, Washington

Lake Crescent and the hike to Marymere Falls was my first introduction to Olympic National Park, one of several stops we made during our Pacific Northwest road trip.

Olympic National Park is huge. this is not a place you can explore in a day. in a month, or a year... maybe. the park covers the entire central area of the Olympic Peninsula, and creeps up Washington's western coast. we visited six different locations within the park on our trip, and still barely skirted the outside of it.

the Storm King ranger station was still closed for the season, so when we arrived at Lake Crescent we were greeted by the feathered welcome wagon instead. with lakefront views like this -- and after being cooped up in the car all day -- I didn't mind. we were traveling all the way from the San Juan Islands down to Forks that day, so a stop for fresh air and to stretch our legs was more than welcome.

it was already late afternoon when we stopped. but a short and mostly flat 2 mile round trip hike to spy Marymere Falls was too tempting to resist.

as the sun sank lower, the temperature dropped and I vowed to buy another layer because my teeth were chattering. [though right now the weather in Taipei is so hot and humid that I feel like a steamed dumpling and I'd gladly go back.]

the hike was wet, and the trail was muddy. there was not a dry surface anywhere to be found. in the moments that the light rain stopped, the green leaves still dripped down on us from above. but... we didn't mind that much.

because the silent forest was also full of magic. smiling skull-shaped rocks and twisted roots, moss and ferns and tree trunks bigger than my arms could reach around. and the air -- fresh and earthy and so, so clean. it felt like I was hiking into a fairytale, and I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest for the third time in as many days.

by the time we reached Marymere Falls, I had given up hope of keeping my lens dry. I was freezing cold and wet and muddy... but it was still just magical.

it wasn't the most impressive waterfall that we visited that trip, but it was special because it was the first. with my hands so cold [and my camera perilously damp] I shoved my hands in my pockets and just looked on the way back. the light was slanting through the tall, proud trees in the the most gorgeous way. it lit up the tiny raindrops and the gleaming dark wood and electric green leaves. likely in a way my hopelessly smeared lens could never capture.

but the mental pictures are there, the memory of it. and I value that more.

I left with a smile on my face, and in my heart.

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