Olympic Peninsula Weekend -Proof of Concept

I am at the point in my life where I want to do things instead of get things for my birthday. So for my birthday weekend this year Mia and I headed out for a three day, two night, trip around the Olympic Peninsula.

Olympic Peninsula Weekend

Eight years ago, after having Codi for only three weeks, he took his first camping trip with us up to Kalaloch Beach. This weekend felt a bit like we were coming full circle with him. He’s getting up in age now but he still loves going on trips. The hikes may not be as long or fast but this dog is super happy outside with us.

Olympic Peninsula Weekend
The hikes may not be as long but they are still our happy place

I’ve had the idea for this circumnavigation of the Olympic Peninsula bouncing around my head for quite some time now. The weather cooperated this long weekend, though it did take some convincing on my part for Mia to give cold weather #vanlife a try. The compromise was one night in the van and one night in a cabin at Kalaloch Lodge. I am happy to say that the “proof of concept” for cold weather van camping played out well this weekend.

Before hitting up our campsite I wanted to check out High Steel Bridge. I’d never suggest coming up here just for this side trip but if you are nearby, definitely go take a look. The view from the bridge is stunning and the graffiti totally juvenile. Combined they make for a novel side trip.

Olympic Peninsula Weekend
It’s just a bridge, right?
Olympic Peninsula Weekend
but look at that view (and drop)
Olympic Peninsula Weekend
Pretty neat
Olympic Peninsula Weekend
I did say the graffiti was juvenile
Olympic Peninsula Weekend
and a bit odd
Olympic Peninsula Weekend
A Better of Dead or maybe Ski School reference?

After the bridge visit it was a pleasant drive up 101 to Brinnon, WA and our campsite for the night.

Olympic Peninsula Weekend
Not a bad little state park

Until we install a gas heater in the van we have to make due with a little electric space heater that I picked up recently. However it pulls enough watts that if I ran it off the Renogy battery we’d rip through that thing in about 1.5-2 hours. Being able to connect to an external power source is imperative for this scenario. That means I need to find campsites with electric hookups. Dosewallips State Park fit the bill perfectly.

Olympic Peninsula Weekend
Space heater to my left

I had also picked up an electric blanket for extra insurance but we never ended up needing to power that up. I’d wager we had the inside of the van in the upper 50’s by Saturday morning while it was only low 30’s outside. On Friday night while it was still in the 40’s I bet it was low 60’s inside the van. Most of the heat settled right above the bed area while under the bed stayed pretty chilly, aka Codi’s preferred sleeping conditions.

Olympic Peninsula Weekend
Upper 50’s for us, low 40’s for him. Everyone was happy
Olympic Peninsula Weekend
Hiked a short loop right from the campground too

On Saturday we took a leisurely day up the east side of the Peninsula, across the northern part and down the west side to Kalaloch Beach. Along the way we stopped for various sights and points of interest. The weather couldn’t have cooperated better! Low 50’s, sunny and no wind whatsoever. We did see quite a bit of snow on the ground along highway 101 after Port Angeles.

Olympic Peninsula Weekend
Lake Crescent
Olympic Peninsula Weekend
Ruby Beach for the sunset
Olympic Peninsula Weekend
Such a pretty place
Olympic Peninsula Weekend
Sunset in the Upper Left

From Ruby Beach to the Lodge is a quick drive. We arrived just as daylight was saying its final goodbye. I have to give huge kudos to the women who checked us in at The Kalaloch Lodge. She was the absolute epitome of what customer service should be!

Olympic Peninsula Weekend
Quaint little cabin with all the basics and two queen beds
Olympic Peninsula Weekend
It is my birthday weekend but Codi is the one who gets the snuggles

I fell asleep reading a bit past 8pm. Needless to say I know how to live it up! Party animals we are not.

Olympic Peninsula weekend
Codi and I were strolling on the beach just before 7am

Codi is not allowed in a majority of the Olympic National Park but he can do hikes in the Olympic National Forest. Mia and I have a better idea for what we want to do in the future. Hurricane Ridge is high on my list of places to go hike. So too is the Hoh Rainforest. Now that we’ve “done the loop” around the whole area I know where I want to start next time we are up here.

Thanks for reading,


One Comment Add yours

  1. adventurepdx says:

    Looks like a lovely trip! This reminds me how much I need to get back to this part of the world. I’ve been up to the east side of the peninsula a bunch, but only have done a circumnavigation of the peninsula during my 2010 bike tour.

    Emee’s friends own a house on Lake Cushman, near the Staircase entrance on the southeast side of the National Park. We need to borrow that house again!

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