Sometimes I forget about the nice stuff near home. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it. I just don’t think about it because I’ve seen it enough times that my thoughts are on faraway places like the Tetons and the Grand Canyon. So in today’s post, I’d like to honor an international destination that I always visit as a daytrip: Niagara Falls. It really is a nice place, especially the Canadian side with its beautiful gardens and great views of the falls. So, I thought I’d give my idea of …Read More
This week we’re celebrating 20 years of traveling together across the US! Wow! It’s been an exciting adventure together, and all the more exciting that we’re still (more or less) able to travel all together in the big green van (which is the follow up to the Big Maroon Van and the Big Blue Wagon!) Hiking, driving, exploring, we’ve had times of our lives and memories to last a lifetime. We’ve also racked up some statistics that blow my mind:
48 – the number of state’s we’ve visited. We’ve never been to Alaska or Hawaii, and, ironically, our final …Read More
Grand Canyon National Park tops our list for the number of times we’ve visited a park. At last count, between the North Rim, South Rim, and Toroweap Area, we’ve visited a total of 10 times – more than any other park in the US (other than local parks). And are we tired of it? Gracious no! There’s something alluring about the Grand Canyon that keeps bringing us back, year after year, hike after hike, and view after view. I even have a few more new hikes up my sleeve, waiting for the next time we can visit…
Why don’t I include the North Rim? Well, first of all, I …Read More
We really didn’t need to hike another trail. We’d already hike most of the best-of-the-best around the Mt. Baker Highway, including Ptarmigan Ridge, Heliotrope Divide, Artist Ridge, and Skyline Divide. Still, it was supposed to be rainy in North Cascades National Park (which it was) so we needed a half a day of adventuring before heading south. So, for lack of information about a better short trail to hike, we walked about 2.75 miles down the Lake Ann Trail, which brought us to Swift Creek. I won’t call it …Read More
I think I must be a germaphobic.
Actually, it comes from being around a lot of little children and being sick constantly as a child, myself. I just don’t want to get sick – even a common cold – because it goes around the house like an epidemic, and then we’re sick for two weeks, and who really likes that? Washing our hands before we ate seemed to do some good, but there just isn’t a hand-washing station out in the wilderness every time we want to have a snack. So when hand sanitizer came out on the market, we fell in love with it immediately.
So the other day, I thought I’d make up some hand sanitizer holders so everyone could easily carry …Read More
A few weeks ago, I celebrated a birthday. It was a bit of a milestone, I suppose. Anyway, I decided that I’d like to really celebrate – like, something that lasted more than an hour or so. So it was with great excitement that we planned a bike trip on a nearby Rails-to-Trails; about 20 miles on the Lehigh Valley Trail!
Actually, we started out at the Victor end of the Auburn Trail, then picked up …Read More
If you could only do one long hike in North Cascades National Park, I’d recommend the trail up to and along Sahale Arm. It somehow manages to get some of the best scenery in the Cascades into one 13.4 mile trail (RT; you can easily make it shorter; even going 10.5 miles will give you some of the best views) while making those views varied and always awe-inducing. Cascades tumble down sheer cliff faces, jagged peaks tower into the sky, and a lovely blue-green lake nestled in a secluded valley are key features, while the wildflowers themselves (in season) make the trail worthwhile. Perhaps I should stop talking here and just let the pictures tell their own story? Or should I keep talking since the pictures don’t do the view half justice?
The trailhead is a busy one by North Cascade standards, as the trail passes through …Read More
Getting to the most rewarding views can be hard. In fact, it can be very difficult. Sometimes we just have to leave the comforts of a defined trail behind to cross the waist-deep rivers, scramble up scree and talus on our hands and knees, or brave the snowfields to get to the best of what the wilderness has to offer. Of course, the good thing about these deterrents is that they keep most of the crowds at bay. And the feeling of accomplishment when we “make it” is ten times greater than if we’d just ambled down a trail to the viewpoint. At any rate, for those of us with an adventurous spirit, these 10 trails that require hands & knees, river crossings, and other adventures will be fun…if a bit daunting at times!
So, without further ado, here they are, in no particular order! …Read More
I was shocked the other day when I found out that I’d never done a post on Hole in the Rock, at the end of Hole in the Rock Road in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (one of my favorite parks ever). Hole in the Rock is a pretty incredible place, especially if you’re up to some scrambling and have 4×4. The first I’m totally in for, the second, well, I don’t own a vehicle with 4×4. But high clearance will get you pretty close (depending on road conditions), so I can get to Hole in the Rock, by hook or by crook!
Actually, that was one of the great things about …Read More
We arrived at Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park very early in the morning. We hadn’t slept nearby – after hiking Third Beach the day before, all we wanted to do was find a place for supper and then go to bed – but being Easterners, our 8am happens three hours before Seattle’s, so it wasn’t hard to get people up and moving at a reasonable hour. The beach was in sun when we first arrived…
…but by the time we’d collected our water bottles and walked down the 0.1 mile trail, the mist had rolled in. So much for a sunny beach walk!
Oh, well. We’ve visited Ruby Beach in the sunshine and in the rain before, and while the first is preferable, the second is certainly cool enough to warrant walking around!
We crossed the small stream (you won’t get your feet wet if you’re careful) and headed for the sea stacks, about 0.2 miles down the beach.
The sea stacks are very cool, and so is the sea arch in one of the sea stacks.
The tide was nearly high, so the waves crashing in through the arch were pretty cool!
So was taking pictures of my companions standing high and mostly-dry on rocks watching the tide come in.
We wandered around the sea stacks for a while, then a few of us decided to stroll north up the beach for a ways, and the others would join us after the turn of the tide. At the time, we basically had the beach to ourselves, so we figured we’d have a pretty peaceful walk.
However, walking around the first bend, we ran across some people who were really quite near a pair of bald eagles feasting on salmon on a rock. The people got too close before I was able to get a really good picture, but here’s what I got:
We waited around for about 30 minutes, hoping the eagle would come back to its salmon, but to no avail. Meanwhile, though, the mist was blowing away, leaving some pretty incredible photography opportunities in its wake!
Finally we gave up on the bald eagles and continued down the beach through the ever-decreasing mist. Wow! Beautiful!
By this time, the tide had turned and the rest of our group caught up with us. We all enjoyed the clearing mist and great piles of driftwood for a while, then decided that we really weren’t looking for a long, arduous hike that day, so we’d better turn around at 1.6 miles. After all, there really weren’t any more sea stacks to see until you got to the next bend (at the very least) and we’d had quite the nice beach walk the day before.
On the way back, we got to see a seal poking its head up out of the water.
And on the way back the eagles were perching in an old spruce tree, so everyone got to see it!
And when we turned the corner back onto Ruby Beach proper? Madhouse! In our absence, the peaceful beach scene had turned into a circus of families, couples, and singles strolling around, shouting, playing in the sand, etc., etc., etc. Now we were thankful we’d come so early!
But the mist was still clinging around the sea stacks for some more great pictures:
We headed back up the trail to the parking area for a total hike of 3.2 miles. It wasn’t a long hike, but it was so worth it to see the mist clear away from the beach and sea stacks.
Round Trip Trail Length: 3.2 miles
Highest Elevation: 60ft. (parking area)
Lowest Elevation: -13ft. (along the beach)
Net Elevation Gain / Loss: 73 ft.
Facilities: (Very busy) Primitive toilets at the trailhead
Fees: $15 per vehicle, valid 7 days. America the Beautiful (Interagency), Senior (Golden Age), Access (Golden Access), Volunteer, Military, and Olympic Annual Passes also accepted
Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this?
Key GPS Coordinates for Ruby Beach
Parking: 47.70984N / -124.41367W (47° 42′ 35.4234″ / -124° 24′ 49.2114″) (58ft.)
Trail beginning: 47.71000N / -124.41377W (47° 42′ 36″ / -124° 24′ 49.5714″) (60 ft.)
Beach / Trail Junction: 47.71055N / -124.41501W (47° 42′ 37.9794″ / -124° 24′ 54.0354″)
Sea arch: 47.71199N / -124.41696W (47° 42′ 43.164″ / -124° 25′ 1.056″) (-13ft.)
Turned around: 47.72644N / -124.42069W (47° 43′ 35.1834″ / -124° 25′ 14.4834″) (-4ft.)
The gpx file for Ruby Beach can be downloaded – please note that this and the GPS Coordinates are for reference only and should not be used as a sole resource when hiking this trail.
GPX Download File size: 382.1 kB Downloaded 84 times
(Note: I do my best to ensure that all downloads, the webpage, etc. are virus-free and accurate; however, I cannot be held responsible for any damage that might result, including but not limited to loss of data, damages to hardware, harm to users, from use of files, information, etc. from this website. Thanks!)
Getting to Ruby Beach
If you’re coming from the main part of Olympic National Park, from Port Angeles, drive 83 miles on Hwy-101 S/US-101W to Ruby Beach, on your right. This is 14 miles south of the road that leads to the Hoh Rain Forest.
If you’re coming from the south, take Hwy-101 E/US-101 N from Aberdeen, WA 80 miles to Ruby Beach, on your left. Keep a close watch for where Hwy 101 goes, especially in Aberdeen, so you don’t accidently get off the right road.
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