For spring break this year, we went off the grid to Olympic National Park in Washington state. We flew two hours to Seattle then took a three hour drive to the park. Since we’ve flown a few times now with a baby/toddler, we were prepared with an arsenal of things to distract Satski on the flight and he did so well. He slept the entire car ride as planned. This was our most successful travel with him, after two years of practice, and also our last time getting to fly him for free since he turned two a few weeks after. It rained throughout our entire trip, as expected for this area this time of year. We packed accordingly and didn’t let the rain stop us from exploring all the beauty of the park. For the first two nights we stayed near the coast at the Kalaloch Lodge.
We stayed in a rustic two-bedroom cabin where big boy Satski got his own room. It was perfectly cozy for us with lots of space, a warm fireplace and heaters, and an ocean view. Oh, and no wi-fi. There were even yoga mats in the living room. A perfect place to disconnect and rejuvenate after a hectic few months. There were seven beaches around us. Our lodge was between Beach 2 and 3. We went to check out Beach 7, Ruby Beach, on our first night. We saw lots of signs warning us of the dangers of the driftwood, saying rolling logs kill at least one person a year on these beaches. So we took care to avoid the big logs by the water, but there were plenty in-shore to play on. We spent a lot of time at the restaurant in the lodge because it was the only eating option for miles around us. And we didn’t have a kitchen in our cabin. The food was just okay, and pretty overpriced, but at least the seats had a nice view. After dinners we had to walk back to our cabin in the dark with Satski leading the way with his headlamp. He calls himself Doctor Minion when he’s wearing it. On day two we hiked in the Hoh Rain Forest. The trail we took was aptly called Hall of Mosses. There were massive trees covered in moss. It felt like we were in a Dr. Seuss fairy tale. We saw a Care Bear on the way. Satksi walked most of the mile loop on his own and only asked to be carried at the very end when he got tired. On day three, we stuck to the beach closest to the lodge. This was Satski’s favorite part of the trip. If you ask him now what he did in Washington, he’ll most likely say “boys running.” He was fascinated by these two brothers who were running around on the beach barefoot checking out the tidepools. He kept repeating this phrase and would even wake up saying it. He also loved “stomping bubbles with boots” which means walking along the shore and stepping on the bubbles. We stayed in this cabin on the lake for the rest of our trip. There was a pathway directly to the lake in the backyard. The path led to the Lake Quinault Lodge where we had some of our meals at the Roosevelt Dining Room. And the path also led to this little meditation spot I found for myself during one of Satski’s naps. The hosts of the house left us a bottle of wine that they had bottled themselves. I loved spending time at the table with a view of the lake, working on my puzzle and drinking wine. Russell liked spending his time on the balcony with a hot cup of tea. He was so happy and relaxed to be here. At night Doctor Minion would read his new lift-the-flap Cars books the we bought for the flight and stay up way past his bedtime and sleep in late. We were happy to have our own kitchen again where we could make our own coffee and bacon in the morning. On day four, it rained hard all morning, but we hiked through it to see waterfalls. Harlem refused to walk so we strapped him on my back (he wouldn’t go to Russell and cried “Mommy’s turn”). The views were worth the trek but I think the rain was freaking Satski out. He kept making me sing “Rain Rain Go Away” and would kind of sing along, but was more somber on this hike. The sun came out in the afternoon so we took a walk on the trail outside our house. You wouldn’t be able to tell it from these pictures, but Satski had a lot of melt-downs on this trip. Every time we tried to put a jacket on him (which was often) he would scream like we were trying to kill him. We also had to break out the iPad during several meals since service at the lodge restaurants was slow and Satski was by far the youngest guest in the quiet environment. An almost-two year old can only be patient for so long. Mostly, though, he was such a trooper and we were so proud of him for keeping up with us on our ambitious agenda. Here’s our cabin from the back side. It was such a fun place to stay. For dinner we went to the Salmon House, which had major retro vibes. Their blackened salmon was so good. We ordered a kids spaghetti for Satski but he wanted none of it and ate half of Russell’s fish dish instead. Before dinner we played on the lawn for a bit and saw a gorgeous rainbow over the restaurant. Here’s a video of some more memorable moments.
It’s so not easy to travel with a toddler but getting to experience the beauty of the world with our son is priceless. Countdown to see as many national parks with Satski: 2 down, 57 more to go.