Every September, the whirlwind of real life catches us up to us after dreamy, long summer days playing at the beach. We get trapped in a spiral of school and sports, lessons and work and I start to feel spectacularly stuck. And this year with the cabin-building project and the kids starting kindergarten, we have even more on our plates. So I always work in a little escape in September for our family to just regroup, refresh and feel better about the world that we live in. This year, I chose Kalaloch Lodge on the Olympic Peninsula. Little did I know it is probably the furthest point on the Olympic Peninsula from our house, because it’s kind of equidistant from Seattle if you drive or take a ferry and it takes about 3-4 hours. But it is so worth the drive. It is gorgeous and everything you could want in a beach getaway, especially if you stay in a cottage and get firewood and have a campfire on the beach.
And if there’s not a cloud in sight and you can still wear shorts on a September evening?
The Olympic Peninsula keeps getting written up as one of the most beautiful places in the world and it’s practically in our backyard. I wish I could say I’ve been there all the time, but I can probably count our trips there on my hands. Sometimes we’ve driven, sometimes we take the ferry, this time we did both. National Geographic has a driving tour idea if you want tips for going there and we’ve camped near Dungeness Spit and have had a wonderful time there too.
There are ginormous trees-some of the biggest in the world-and we found a bunch between Lake Quinault and Forks. This one was just called “big cedar tree” and I didn’t realize that it split in two only recently in a storm.
And if you think you might have heard of Forks, it’s because of the Twilight series. You can even see a familiar famous truck with a “Bella” license plate if you stop at the Forks Visitor Center and Forks is about a 30 minutes drive away from the lodge we stayed at.
We found Kalaloch Lodge after a weekend of camping in July near lake Quinalt (another peacefully so-beautiful-you-almost-want-to-cry-looking-at-it-unless-you’re-camping-there-on-July-4th-place and I found out it was totally booked so it became a must-do for me.
We knew we booked a cottage, so I packed some meals to eat in so we didn’t have to hang out in restaurants with the kids this trip and just totally relax. They were all simple, like pasta and sauce, quesadillas and soup and even Cup Noodles, and cut up fruit, salads and veggies and dip to make it a little healthier but just easy, comfort foods. One night we got take out dessert from the Lodge and it was delicious too.
We happened to be on the coast at the same time as an ocean coast cleanup, so it was nice to show our kids how we can help out our community.
We found things like rope on the beach and some other yucky things.
I found a whole bunch of teeny clear plastic disks that I started filling the bags with until I realized that they weren’t actually plastic. They were remnants of a jellyfish invasion so I had to dump them out and put them all back. There is a learning curve even in clean-up.
We spent hours at Ruby Beach
On the way home we stopped at Hurricane Ridge for a snack.
Then we took the ferry back to the city and back to our lives, recharged, relaxed and ready to be home. It was the perfect fall adventure and it made me adore the Olympic Peninsula even more.