Our week in Olympic National Park began in the mountains surrounding Lake Crescent. We lodged at the Log Cabin Resort and had a cabin right on the water. The boys enjoyed having easy access to the water for tossing rocks in the lake and watching the many birds — especially mallard ducks, Canada geese, a few types of swallows, red-winged blackbirds, and dark-eyed juncos. The view was breath-taking and included a couple of phenomenal sunsets.
While in this part of the park, we drove up to Hurricane Ridge for some easy to moderate subalpine hiking. On our way to the Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center, we had our most exciting wildlife spotting of the whole trip — a mama black bear with twin cubs! I’ve seen bears several times in the National Parks, but this was the closest siting yet. We were also safely in the car, an ideal way to watch bears when you have tiny children with you. Our toddler didn’t take much notice, but it was a thrill for our preschooler!
Hurricane Ridge has access to several long hikes, but as we had short legs with us, we stuck to the Meadow Loop and High Ridge Trail, including the branch out to Sunrise Point. We had to navigate some steep areas and climb through some snow, but the total distance was a little under a mile. Our three-year-old managed it well with one snack break and a few boosts. Our little guy was content to ride in the carrier. He was very alert and would squawk and point any time he noticed something interesting — mainly birds on this hike!
That same day, we did another short hike to Madison Falls. The boys were enamored with the waterfall, and our three-year-old immediately decided we needed to see eight waterfalls! We thought that sounded do-able, and he kept track all week. (Stay tuned to see if we achieved our goal!)