Recently I was leading a hike on the Olympic Peninsula. This in itself is nothing new or special. Hiking is what I do, I am a professional. However, what was special is that the people I was with had never experienced true nature before. Sure, they had been to the large park near the city and had seen a rare deer or coyote, but they had never experienced what the Olympic National Park could offer.
The Olympic National Park is a rare place indeed. From mountain peaks to beautiful beaches, from over 12 feet of rain a year in one spot, to just over 20 inches just a hundred miles away, the Olympic National Park is much like my iPod, it has something for everyone. However, you probably haven’t heard about the true gift that the Olympic Peninsula is to the United States and the world. You probably haven’t heard it because that is what the Olympic National Park is known for, silence.
Think of yourself sitting on a log in the middle of the rainforest, miles away from any road, any plane routes, or any people. What you hear is the rain, the wind, the birds, but no noise pollution. In fact, looking at this map from NASA that shows tree levels and oxygen output (http://www.whrc.org/mapping/nbcd/index.html), there isn’t a quieter, more pure oxygen location in the entire United States. In fact, it was recently announced that a square inch area of the Olympic National Park is in fact the quietest place in America. The silent Olympic Peninsula also appears to have more trees than the entire state of Oklahoma. Seriously, take some time and scroll through the map on that link. It is truly amazing! The Hoh region of the map is populated by the largest amount of trees and plants per square inch in all of the contiguous United States.
The silence also means that there are few people around, meaning less lights. The Olympic Peninsula is one of the places to go if you are avoiding light pollution and looking for unfiltered skies. Hiking into the middle of the peninsula, you are not only miles away from lights, but you are also shielded by the mountains, allow pristine star gazing skies. Just look at the newest NASA map:
When clear, you have some of the clearest sky watching skies in the Lower 48 states. (Link: http://www.treehugger.com/interior-design/looking-at-lights-from-space-a-sign-of-progress-or-failure.html)
This reminds me of a common sight along tours we give. After a long day hiking, we eat a great dinner and sit back in front of the fire, listening to the sounds of the crackling wood, the nearby water source and the silence of nature. Conversation slows down as it gets darker outside, the sky slowly growing dark, then lighting up star by star until soon, the Milky Way galaxy is visible overhead. The silence at this point is full on, and if you just finished physical activity, you can hear your heartbeat. This isn’t an uncomfortable silence. It is the silence of time, the truest representation of the power of nature. The Olympic Peninsula gives you a direct connection to whatever higher power you believe in. The beauty is too unique, too perfect; you sit next to a forest as green and as lush as you can imagine, able to watch the stars more clear and crisp than you thought was possible. This is when you realize I am on the Olympic Peninsula. I am in the last true, remote place in the country, and I am only 3 hours from an international airport.
There are few resorts, few roads and even fewer tourists. This isn’t because it is a bad place; in fact, I think the area is too amazing. I guarantee you that if you come experience it you will believe that it is amazing too. Buy our book today to plan your getaway to the most quiet, tree filled, isolated accessible place in the world.
HIKE IN SILENCE ON OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK TRAILS
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