We have just returned from our very first full-family backcountry camping night in Olympic National Park. I call it that, but really, it was not far off the beaten path, as paths in national parks go. Technically, anything outside of a developed campground is considered wilderness or backcountry so this qualified, but we were within sight of civilization and even had enough cell phone signal to be of help in an emergency, like uploading shots to Instagram. ("Sea stars!!" #tidepools #olympic #atleastitsnotaphotoofmylunch)checking out some tide pool life
We camped right at Hole in the Wall, an aptly named spot (because of the hole in the rock wall) about a mile and half north of Rialto Beach. Having been here before three years ago, we knew this place was pretty sweet. Some of the park’s best tide pool action is right here and the huge logs above the high tide line make for privacy where ever you choose to pitch a tent. This is great because backcountry means NO TOILETS. Then there is the free firewood in the form of driftwood bits and chunks and plenty of stones for creating a primitive fire ring. The Pacific surf lulls you to a sound and restful sleep.playing pirate on the big logs
We spent one night here as a family (July 4, a perfect escape from the relentless amateur fireworks going on at the RV park). We had a great time playing frisbee, hitting up the tide pools and scouring the beach for awesome rocks. The kids can content themselves all day just hopping around on the giant logs. I will admit, I was having a pretty good time practicing my balance beam skills, which are close to non-existent.That's my supper -- no, Collared Boar, you cannot have it.
The next day just after lunch time Kevin and the kids hiked out and I stayed behind for my first solo backcountry night. It was exactly like “Chick Vs. Wild,” except I had a stove, clean water, Rice-a-Roni, a -15 degree sleeping bag, lip balm, and three bars of 3G coverage. And chocolate. Also, I had neighbors camping about 100 yards away. And a park ranger came by to check in. And did I mention I was close enough to the Quileute resort to see the remaining fireworks? You’re impressed, right? You think I am Wilderness Woman. I know. Hide yo kids. Hide yo man.Split Rock at sunset - the view from our site.
That’s not to say it was not a great introvert event. My main company was a little chipmunk and a pair of bald eagles. I spent a significant amount of time just sitting on a log staring out at the Pacific Ocean and letting God speak. When it was over I felt more spiritually refreshed than I have in a very, very long time. I am looking forward to doing it again soon, all five of us.