Everything you imagine Washington to be can be found on the Olympic Peninsula in one day. My partner and I absolutely love adventuring to the Olympic Peninsula for landscape photography on any given weekend, so it was a blast creating an itinerary for P&A to show off the beauty and range that the peninsula offers.
We started in Port Angeles with early morning coffees and a goal to get up to Hurricane Ridge at sunrise. We had originally discussed a few other, less populated and equally beautiful locations instead, but decided that the paved road would be good for our ambitious time frame.
We were in luck and had the place to ourselves on the early, foggy fall morning. Hurricane Ridge was empty. We didn’t have the same visibility that you see in many shots due to the rather normal fog banks, but it created this beautifully moody and surreal landscape to explore. https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-hurricane-ridge.htm
I’ve seen a lot of photos of Hurricane Ridge as it’s one of “the” spots on the Olympic Peninsula. It’s easy to access, and easy to hashtag. It’s also a really easy place to be tempted to break Leave No Trace protocol and want to go off trail. Unfortunately, most of the beautiful images I’ve seen there have been from folks traipsing around in the sensitive meadows that have clearly marked signs asking people not to damage the area.
As tempting as it was to veer off trail, we found that following the marked paths still lead us to amazing locations and views (when the fog cleared). For an area like this that experiences so much foot traffic in a given year, it’s important to respect the environment and boundaries set for recovery of sensitive areas. Many areas like this have had to increase the limits of access due to damage from frequent visitors who don’t practice Leaving No Trace. It’s awesome to have such a beautiful area easily accessible, and I hope Hurricane Ridge is able to maintain that status while also protecting the ecosystem and sensitive meadow areas. Read up on LNT principles here: https://lnt.org
After this, we headed towards Lake Crescent to hike to a beautiful waterfall nearby. Lake Crescent is a fantastic location no matter what the weather is. Earlier in October I had a family session on an incredible sunny morning. For P&A’s adventure engagement session, we had rain, mist, and every other quintessential PNW weather.
One of many things I love about rainy day sessions is that it’s the ideal environment to truly experience what this temperate rainforest has to offer. The waterfall we hiked to was pouring, and throughout the forest the pine needles were glistening with raindrops.
After time at the waterfall, we spent some time on the lovely dock in front of Crescent Lake Lodge https://www.olympicnationalparks.com/lodging/lake-crescent-lodge/ trying to convince P that he would love to go for a swim. It was close, but ultimately the most sensitive decision was made.
We headed out from the lodge to Forks (the infamous Twilight location) for a wonderful lunch (and Gluten Free pizza!!) at Pacific Pizza. From there, despite the pouring rain, we headed to the beach for the final part of our adventure session. A and P were totally game to spend time dancing and playing in the waves and rain, even enacting a famous Notebook scene…PNW style, X-tufs included.
It was an incredibly beautiful day, and was such an honor to document P&A’s engagement photos. While I’m sad I won’t be able to document their wedding, I’m so stoked for them in their future adventures together! As you can see from their photos, they’ve clearly got the love to last.