For my first trip to the Pacific Northwest in March 2016, I knew I wanted to go to Olympic National Park. Cassandra and I planned an epic week of driving through Oregon and Washington, camping, hiking, and brewery visiting. After a few days in Portland, we started our road trip. First up: Cape Flattery.

Cape Flattery is the most northwest point of the contiguous 48 states, and it is stunning. A gorgeous drive through Forks (a la Twilight), Port Angeles, and part of a Makah reservation leads to a brief but beautiful hike up to a couple of epic views. I knew it would be gorgeous but the clear blue water, piney trees, cliffs, and caves were unbelievable.

After taking in the views we drove south again to camp in Ozette, a gorgeous park on the coast. Unfortunately it poured all night, so we set up our tent in the rain and did nothing but lay in the tent until we both fell asleep. That night was a bummer, but thankfully the next day was better weather for our one long Olympic National Park hike.

We drove to Lake Crescent and hiked Mount Storm King (which sounds like something out of Game of Thrones), which was not many miles but much elevation gain. At the time it was the most difficult hike I’d ever done. It started sprinkling right as we started, but then we reached a break with a magnificent view of the lake and all of a sudden the rain stopped, the sky turned blue, and a rainbow appeared directly above and across the lake. It was magical and totally worth it.

Next we attempted to drive Hurricane Ridge, but as it was early March it was still snowing, and hard. We only made it up a few miles before the roads were covered and we had to turn back.

We thought about heading to Seattle for a day or exploring more of the park, but in order to get a full PNW experience we decided to head back to Portland before a day-trip to Bend for more hiking the next day. I still can’t get over those lush greens, moss and ferns everywhere, the smell of the piney trees, and how beautiful everything was. I’m looking forward to my next PNW trip already planned but still to schedule: Seattle, the North Cascades, and Vancouver!