Sunday Hikes: Ruby Beach

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Not all hikes have to be through the woods, up a mountain, or to a waterfall.   One of the best ways to hike is to follow a secluded beach and see what you can find.   There is something peaceful in the waves crashing on the shore and occasionally splashing your feet.

Ruby Beach is on the coast of Washington state and part of Olympic National Park.   Rather than sand, you have rocks of every color and vistas of haystack rocks and fir trees.   When I was there last August, I took the short hike with a couple of switchbacks through the forest down from the parking area at Ruby Beach.   Once you get to the beach area, there is a tremendous quantity of sun bleached trees that have washed up on the shore.   It is amazing to think that these trees were once up somewhere near Mount Olympus, fell, washed to the sea via rivers of melted snow and glacier, floated in the ocean, and then eventually deposited up on the beach.

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It was great fun to balance on and travel down to the water jumping from tree to tree.   I went north following the shore to explore and see what all Ruby Beach had to offer.   I probably went about a mile following the beach before turning back.   During that short time, I collected rocks of many colors to show my wife who waited patiently for me to return.   There was a great haystack rock that I walked around and was amazed to see.  You just don’t see haystack rocks on the east coast and I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to see this one up close.  Amazingly, there was a rock formation with a really cool passageway through it.   The waves and the sun shining through this portal was amazing and made me very glad I took this hike.

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Washington state is amazingly beautiful and Olympic National Park showcases much of that beauty within.   I hope to get to come back soon and see more of this amazing National Park.   rk

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The Best Bargain in Travel

The best bargain in travel is the United States National Park Pass.   The cost is negligible really.   We purchased an annual family Interagency National Park Pass last June for $80.   If you are a senior, it is only $10 for a lifetime pass and the US Military get in free always.

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Having the National Park Pass gets you into all National Parks, Monuments, and Federal Recreation sites at no additional cost with no limitations on visits.   Before I had the National Park Pass I had been to 6 National Parks in 43 years.   Since June, I have been to 9 National Parks with 7 of them new.   In addition, my adult children have used the pass to visit 3 other National Parks and between all of us have scheduled trips this winter and spring to at least 7 more.   The National Parks are spread all over the country so while some of our trips have been based around the Parks, others have been because we have been in the area.   Work trip to New Hampshire, then drive up to Acadia in Maine.   Weekend getaway to Seattle, lets squeeze in Mt Ranier etc.

The United States National Park system represents all that is great about America.   To quote writer and historian, Wallace Stegner, national parks are “the best idea we ever had.  Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”   The National Park system preserves the most beautiful, special, and culturally important places in our country.   To visit them widens your view of the world and fills you with awe to the beauty created by God.

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Parks visited so far this year by our family include Acadia NP, Congaree NP, Cuyahoga NP, Zion NP, Canyonlands NP, Arches NP, Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Grand Canyon NP, Saguaro NP, Mt Ranier NP, Olympic NP, Shenandoah NP, and the Great Smoky Mountains NP.    Scheduled trips over the next six months include Joshua Tree NP, Yellowstone NP, Grand Tetons NP, Badlands NP, Big Bend NP, Guadalupe NP, and Carlsbad Caverns NP.   I’m sure we will sneak in a few more as well!

rk