Monday, October 19, 2015

The Narwhal Honeymoon - Hiking and Parks

Part 1 - The Route
Part 2 - Accommodations
Part 3 - Cities

Our entire trip was based around the hikes and National Parks we would be visiting. Hiking is something Mr. Narwhal and I love to do for adventures. It's kind of shame when every day life takes over and you realize you haven't gone on a hiking adventure for months!

BM Click and her family gifted us with one year of dates for the wedding, and October included pumpkin spice coffee and orders to go on a hike together. We have yet to find the time, but today's post is enough motivation to carve out some time in our busy schedule to go for a hike and relive the amazing memories we created on our honeymoon.

Rattlesnake Ledge
Our first hike was just outside of Seattle to Rattlesnake Ledge. It's a moderately challenging hike, just about 4 miles roundtrip. The trail was super busy, but the view at the end was well worth the crowded trail.

All photos personal 

One of my most favourite views/feelings - being surrounded by nature with Mr. Narwhal on a hike

Above the clouds at the top

The view from the top 

Hoh Rainforest
After such an intense trip with so many stops along the way, it has been kind of difficult to answer the question, "So, what was your favourite part?" Since everything isn't a valid response, I usually answer with Hoh Rainforest. I cannot even begin to explain how incredible this place is. Photos will never capture the beauty of this place, and I will even openly admit that I even got teary-eyed driving in. It's just that beautiful. The obscene amounts of rain each year give this place the label of the most magical and fairytale like place I have ever been to. If you've never been, add it to the list. Seriously.

Moss and ferns everywhere

A gift from GM Duffy 

Elowah Falls
Before arriving in Portland, I had labelled the day "The Day of the Waterfalls". Along the Columbia River Gorge, there are a plethora of waterfalls to visit and hike to, and a few right along the road. We ended up decided to take the two hour detour to Mount Saint Helen earlier in the day, and the Day of the Waterfalls became the choose one waterfall day. As we drove in, bigger falls like Multnomah Falls and Horsetail Falls that were closer to the road were jampacked with tourists (which we weren't feeling up for). After a bit of research on the fly, we decided to take the short hike to Elowah Falls. We have zero regrets about this one, as we only ran into about five other people, and the short hike was well worth the beautiful scene at the end. By the time we returned to our car, we decided it was time to eat our way through Portland.

Redwood National Forest
Next to Hoh Rainforest, my next favourite part of our trip was the scenic route through Redwood National Forest. On our longest drive day, we were driving through Redwood National Forest around lunchtime. We pulled over for a quick picnic, and decided to take a hike through a grove. Not only were we the only ones on the trail the entire time, the views were absolutely stunning. The hike also featured some of the biggest trees we saw on the entire trip. This stop on our trip has kind of become symbolic for us as we learned two important lessons: one, take the scenic route whenever possible, and two, always carve out some time for yourselves in your busy schedule.

Yosemite - Vernal Falls
The last of our big hikes was in Yosemite. At this point in the trip I had a bit of a cold and Yosemite was also quite smoky from surrounding forest fires. This made our hiking selection slightly difficult because I was having a hard time breathing. After consulting the hiking trails and volunteers at Yosemite, we decided to hike to Vernal Falls. This was one of the most challenging hikes I've ever been on. The new altitude coupled with the smoke and my cold resulted in me huffing and puffing my way to the top. While certainly difficult, the challenge was well worth it. We both wish we could have stayed in Yosemite for longer, and will definitely consider a future visit in the Spring when the waterfalls are more active.

Vernal Falls

the view from the top of Vernal Falls

I'm really glad we were able to find create a balance of both cities and nature in our trip. Our hikes are definitely some of our fondest memories, and the parts of our adventure that have us dreaming of our return trips.

Next up, the last of my honeymoon recaps with a round up list of everything we missed!

What's the best hike you've ever been on?

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