Before we left Matty’s place in Bellingham, he recommended a couple of his favourite outdoor adventures in the Olympic National Park. We were on a tight schedule and only had a few days to get to Portland for the Pickathon music festival. We thought that doing both Shi Shi Beach and the Enchanted Valley would be a bit of a stretch, but after a bit of tactful adult peer pressure, we committed. We set our alarms for 3:50am and left Bellingham, not so bright but very early. I curled up on the backseat of the van while Mark, in his element, did the hard yards behind the wheel. The early start was an attempt to catch the low tide at Shi Shi Beach to see the awesome tidal pools. It was always going to be a close call. A later ferry than expected and a wrong turn were against us. We eventually got to Shi Shi pretty exhausted and missed the best of the tide pools. However, we still had fun exploring and camping on the beach.
Next stop was the 2 night, 3 day Enchanted Valley hike. We hiked for the most part through a beautiful lush green forest. It was a nice change from all the mountain hiking we’ve been doing. We were told that we’d definitely see bears on this hike. Mark was not so secretly hoping that we would. Well…be careful what you wish for. We had our first face to face bear encounters on foot. I have to say that I did pretty well with the “whoa bear” and the “don’t you worry about a thang bear”, in my best American accent so the bears could understand me. I was also much calmer than I expected. Mark was a bit of a stunned mullet. He was more intrigued and just wanted to watch them. When we saw the second bear, it wasn’t until I told him to walk backwards that the bear ran away. It was an amazing experience, although I’d still rather not run into any more bears.