Over the weekend, Alex and I ventured to Olympic National Forest to visit family and do a little exploring. I can't tell you how lucky I feel to live only 3 hours from such a beautiful place. We stayed in a cabin in Sul Doc Hot Springs Resort and were able to experience hiking and the (smelly) hot springs.
To start day one, the whole family took a short and easy 2-mile hike to Sol Duc Falls.
After the falls, we decided to head back to the resort and take advantage of the hot springs. The water topped out at about 106 degrees, which was relaxing, but the minerals in the water make it very smelly. Eh oh well, it was still a great experience considering I've never felt natural hot springs, and after hiking I can't say I smelled like roses.
After a few hours in the hot springs, Alex, Jason (Alex's brother), and I decided to take another hike on our own. We ended up doing an 8-mile roundtrip hike to Deer Lake that included a 1,500 ft elevation gain. It was so rewarding to finally reach Deer Lake at the top of the mountain (most would consider this a hill, but let me tell you I thought the hike would never end). On a funny note, I was a paranoid about wildlife that have the capability of eating me- i.e. bears, mountain lions.. probably because my mom is always warning me about such things... So during the beginning of the hike, I kept scanning my surroundings for the possibility of such animals. As the fatigue really started to set in towards the top, animals were the last thing on my mind. Then, just after we turned around to head back home, Alex turned around abruptly and warned me to be quiet. I tell you, my heart stopped for what felt like an hour and all I could think was, "OH MY GOD THERE IS A BEAR, this is where I die." It ended up being 2 deer so needless to say, I'm still alive. Hooray!
And here is the rewarding view at the peak of our hike - Deer Lake. We even saw deer so the name is legit.