This is Part 2 of our road trip from Northern California to Olympic National Park in Washington, done in style in an almost new 25' Apollo Pioneer RV. You can read Part 1 here which covers the first 3 days of our road trip across 3 states in 6 days staying in 5 different campsites. So far, we stayed at a campground by one of the most beautiful waterfalls in entire California, another by a popular lake in Washington and the third by the beach in La Push area, famous for being the setting of the Twilight series (popular vampire themed fantasy romance novels by Stephanie Meyer also adapted into films). But the best is yet to come. Read on.
Day 4: Hoh Rainforest Campground, Olympic NP
We decided to spend most of our Day 4 in the Hoh Rainforest area and entered the Park around 11 am hoping to find a spot in the Campground. Most of the campgrounds in the Olympic National Park are first-come first-serve and since July 4th weekend is typically the busiest camping weekend of the year, we made our reservations outside the Park but really hoped to camp inside the Park for at least a day. So, I was super excited when we found some open campsites in the Hoh Rainforest Campground on this day. We immediately pulled into one of the campsites with a view of the river and set up our tents.
This campground is the most beautiful campground I ever laid my eyes on. Set in the temperate rain-forest with trees covered by the magical moss, amidst bright beautiful yellow flowers, right next to the Hoh river flowing through the lush green majestic mountains, it felt like heaven on earth. It is the kind of beauty that touches your soul and moves you. The setting is so peaceful and beautiful that it lets you connect with your inner self in a way that is not easily possible elsewhere. At least it did for me. And I am grateful for that. If I get another chance, I would like to stay there for a week just to go for a jog in the 'Hall of Mosses Trail' in the morning, to enjoy a cup of coffee by the Hoh river watching the fog romance the tree-covered mountain tops, to read my favorite book with my feet dipped in the fresh cool waters while enjoying the soothing sound of the glacial river flow in the evenings and to watch the sunset as the birds chirp. This is pretty much what I did the day we were there followed by sharing the warm campfire with friends at night.
|Our Campsite # 4|
|Had to put up tents here!|
|View on one side - It's so much more gorgeous than the pic could capture!|
|View on the other side - Morning fog romancing the tree-covered mountain tops|
|Reading a book with these views while sitting on this log with my feet dipped in the fresh cool waters - Ah!|
Even in what seemed like a remote landscape, it had access to water and flush toilets, more comforts than we could ask for. They were selling firewood right at the campground at a very reasonable $5 per bundle. Popular trails such as 'Hall of Mosses Trail' (0.8 mile) and 'Spruce Nature Trail' (1.2 miles) start near the visitor center of the campground. These trails let you explore the rainforest, get up close and personal with the magical moss which grows on the trunks and branches of the trees but dine on the moisture and nutrients from rain and wind-borne particles without harming their hosts. You will get an opportunity to look through many levels of life from the matted ground-cover to the festooned maples to the conifers looming high above.
|'Hall of Mosses' Trail|
|Spruce Nature Trail|
Next morning, we left the campground hoping to return some day and spend more time camping there. There is a lot more to the Park than we could cover in 2 days and we did not want to rush. We thoroughly enjoyed the wilderness and our time spent in Park and long to visit again.
|View of Hoh River during the Trail|
Day 5: Collier Memorial State Park, OR
This was our last campground for the trip on our way back. It is a decent campground with all the amenities such as full hook-ups, flush toilets and showers and is a good place to camp to visit the Crater Lake National Park which is about an hour from here. It had a logging museum featuring antique logging equipment for those interested, though we did not check it out (I am not much of a museum person; though I tend to like them once I am inside, I usually don't have the motivation to get to them). It is set on the Williamson River, though we had to stretch ourselves to see the river flow. By then, we knew we were pretty spoilt by the rain-forest campground and it is a hard act to follow.
Overall, it was an ambitious itinerary covering more than 2,000 miles in less than 6 days. If we were to do another RV trip, we would pick an itinerary with about 4-5 hours of drive per day and possibly stay at some campsites for more than a day to make it a more relaxing trip.
Now, let's talk about the fun in the RV itself.
If you ask me, the only way to truly enjoy an RV road trip is to do it with friends. How else would you play pictionary, card games and taboo as you relax in the sofa set at the back while one person (reluctantly) drives the RV? Or feed on hot parathas coming right off the stove while on the road? I can't tell you how much we laughed as our pressure cooker let out the whistle as soon as we reached the top of Hurricane Ridge in Olympic NP, much to the amusement of our fellow Americans. Or how much we enjoyed fresh chai and snacks as we waited at the entrance gates while everyone around us seemed frustrated by the long wait. However, I must add that it is dangerous to cook while the RV is moving and one ought to be really careful and not attempt to cook especially on winding roads. The other benefits of RV include the pleasure of using the loo whenever you want without having to look for a restroom exit which is never in sight for many miles whenever you have to pee. However, if you are constantly moving around in the RV or try to sit in the opposite direction of the movement, it could cause motion sickness. And finally, you better get along really well with your friends, as you got to live with them in a really confined space for the entire duration of the trip. We had good company which made for a really fun trip.
|So many 'Meals-on-the go' in this kitchen!|
|Sofa set where we played pictionary, cards, taboo etc.|
Though RV had all the amenities we could ask for and they took care of even fine details such as reading lights, exhaust fans, exterior awning lights and provided several plug points both inside and outside the RV, I realized I am more of a tent camping person who loves waking up in our small tent and cooking in the open air. As I get older, I might appreciate the comforts on an RV more than I do now. But, that doesn't take anything away from the fact that it was a fun trip and I would most likely do it again.
Tempted to do an RV road trip with your gang? Plan your trip into the wilderness soon!
|Our fun little group|
P.S: Allow for 2-3 hours of time to rent the RV as you typically watch the video on to-dos and not-to-dos while driving the RV and then wait for someone to walk you through the various hookups related to water, electricity and sewer again while giving you a tour of the RV. You better pay attention while you can instead of trying to get a signal in the wilderness to watch a you-tube video on how to empty the sewer tank :)
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