Tucked away in the Quinault Region of the Olympic National Park, a day hike is ready to take you on a journey. Below dense fir and cedar trees, between sword ferns a well beaten, unmaintained path leads you to some incredible locations. These are seemingly frozen-in-time rainforests aren’t too far off the road, but far away enough to make you feel away from it all. It might sound cheesy, and it might be, but there is a certain type of person who loves the Quinault area. We like the 5-Sensory Experiences. You know the ones. The hikes where you feel the muddy rainforest ground under your feet. You smell freshly fallen cedar nearly every step. You taste oxygen so rich it goes straight to your thighs. You hear babbling brooks so peaceful they put Father Time to sleep. You get to see greens so deep Kermit would have to change his last name from The Frog to The Gecko.
The Quinault Region makes me giddy with adjectives, similes and metaphors. I can’t help it. If you have ever hiked out here, you probably have fond memories. This is the place where I first got hooked on nature, and I have to go back to get my fix. In fact, my friends and family call me a rainforest junkie behind my back. They say, via text, that they only see me every so often, and when they do, I seem distant, out of touch and smelling a bit funky. I know they are kidding.
Wait, you are kidding, right?
Yes, I do joke that I have moss pumping through my veins. I couldn’t help it, Each experience just got better and better. Hiking around the North Fork of the Quinault isn’t hard; there is very little elevation gain and the views are incredible year round. That meant each time I would head out, I could go deeper and deeper into the woods, seeing fantastic sights with a lot more ease than I thought. These trails opened the doors to the Olympic National Park I know and love. They are the trails I got to hike with my family as a kid, the ones I took my first backpacking trip across the Olympics. I will never forget the first, of now frequent, times I was lucky enough to stay in the Enchanted Valley. The experiences hiking the Quinault, for me, were life changing. Life changing may not be the right choice of a description, but it works.
We all need a trail to start. We all need an experience or a trail to finally allow us to shift from going hiking once or twice a year, to making it your form of relaxation and fitness and the Quinault is a great option. With waterfalls, and gorges, towering trees and all that “rainforesty” stuff, you really need to come here. If you have been here before, come back. It is worth a visit and may just cause you to turn out like me, addicted to the Olympic National Park. I guess there are worse things. Now where did I put my trekking poles?
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