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Kalaloch Lodge

 Since I have been in Seattle, I have been able to have several mini adventures. It has been really great to spend time with family and on my last weekend, my father and I drove to Kalaloch Lodge on the Olympic Peninsula. Kalaloch lodge is on the Pacific Ocean and owned and operated by the Olympic National Park.  The drive from Seattle is about 3-4 hours depending on which route you take. We hopped onto Interstate 5 and drove south.

Prior to leaving, I had been monitoring the weather and there was a strong low-pressure system that was going to hit the coast. There was a weather advisory that warned of heavy rain and strong wind of up to 50 mph! I had suggested to my dad that maybe this weekend would not be the best time to go. We concluded that, “what is the worst that could happen?” and decided to, “Go For It!”

We had reserved a cabin and could not check in until 4pm on Sunday evening. We left Seattle at 10am and stopped at Quinault Lodge, which is slightly north of the town of Aberdeen. It is nestled on Lake Quinault and is on the boundary of the Olympic National Park. The park is a rain forest and…yes, it was raining while we were visiting the lodge. There is a relatively small trail system surrounding the lodge that we walked and checked out some really tall trees.

I underestimated the length of the walk and was wearing cotton jeans. Any outdoor enthusiast knows that wearing cotton jeans in the rain for prolonged periods is sub-optimal. I was wearing a gore-tex jacket and all the rain was dripping onto my cotton jeans and turning them into a wet, warm, rag. Awesome. This experience was severely negatively impacting my trail walking experience. It was clearly dramatizing. Fortunately, I was not wearing a heavy 50lbs pack, walking for endless miles off trail, or had to pitch a tent at the end of the day, who does that… I had a dry change of clothes and warm lodge to dry out in afterwards.

The Quinault Lodge was built in the early turn of the century and it features a wooden interior surrounded by old growth trees. There is a variety of dead wildlife that hangs on the walls that stare down at you. There was also a sweet wooden chessboard, my father and I were able to play a game and I was able to get humbled. Thanks dad.

Following, we left the lodge and got back on the highway. The highway heads west to the ocean and then parallels the ocean while headed north. The roads have heavy logging truck traffic, as there is a lot of tree logging in the area. Once the highway reaches the ocean, there are a few access points along the highway in which you can park and walk along the ocean. Unfortunately, it was raining hard enough to supply an army with a year’s worth of drinking water. Therefore we opted to head straight to the lodge.

After arriving to the lodge and checking into our cabin, we got ourselves situated and played some games. The cabin features two queen beds, a fireplace, small kitchen, electrical heater, bathroom, and shower.  It was now about 4:30pm and it was getting dark outside. We were enjoying a game of cards while listening to the thunderous rain on the metal roof. Following, the power went out and the lights and electric heater went out. It made our stay more exciting but it was anything from disastrous. We still had a fireplace and flashlights so we would be able to survive.

We had reservations for dinner at the main lodge, which fortunately had a back-up generator so they were still able to have an operational kitchen. There were no lights and every table was lit by candlelight. It made for a unique restaurant dining experience.

We came back to the cabin, started a fire, played some more games, and went to bed.  I woke up at midnight; nearly sweating as the power had come back and the electric heater turned on, heating the cabin like a sauna. The following morning we had breakfast and enjoyed a walk on the beach. I wish we had more time to walk on the sand, enjoy the smell of salt water, and hear the ocean waves crash onto shore.

We wanted to make it back to Seattle at a descent hour so we left at 11am and planned to take the same route home. This time we were going to take a ferry via Bremerton.  On our drive back, the weather cleared and made for safer driving conditions. We arrived to Bremerton at 4:45pm and took the 5:30pm ferry. It was a great alternative to driving on the interstate.

Thanks Dad for another adventure!

Nathan Vandermost

Nathan currently lives abroad as an American expat and is based in Hanoi, Vietnam. He enjoys learning new languages, meeting new people and exploring new places. Nathan has been living abroad since 2014 and likes to stay busy plotting his next trip.

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