Journey to 25 Hikes
and 100 miles
Part 3: Hikes with Views

This is part 3 of my journey of 25 hikes and at least 100 miles! These 4 hikes have beautiful views:

Hike #8: Olympic Adventure Trail (OAT 12K)

I’m definitely counting this 7.5 mile 12K that I ran for the first time as a hike towards my goal. The OAT is a beautiful trail in Port Angeles and is worth the drive out to the Olympic Peninsula! The trail spans a beautiful 25 miles along the coast with sweeping views of mountains, lakes, and nature! It was an elevation gain of 1,300 feet, and the first four miles were an uphill battle.

It was raining all through the run, but after the first mile the rain felt so good as it really cooled me down. The mud on the trail was a different story. I saw so many people fall on the trail due to the muddy conditions -none of us were wearing hiking shoes, just running shoes. What I learned from this hike/run is the value of TEAMWORK, MOTIVATION, and FINISHING STRONG.

Everyone on the course was so nice–it was like we were all a team trying to get through the finish, and well because we were on a mountain bike course some of the pathways weren’t good for passing people. It was extremely motivational as people were passing us, and we were passing others, that every single person offered up words of encouragement. Hike #8: 7.5 miles

Hike #9: Mailbox Peak

This was the toughest hike I’ve done yet. Get to the trailhead early; parking lots fill up quickly and make sure to have your Discover Pass. Hikers can either go up and down the new trail or the old trail. The new trail is about 5 miles up and less steep while the old trail is very steep with about 4 miles up to go. We decided on the new trail both up and down–it’s got sweeping viewpoints to take photos and is well trafficked unless you go pretty early.

It’s funny, you think you are at the top, but you come across a giant rock field, which is pretty cool just to stare at, but then you realize that you must climb that. There is no direct pathway, which makes it more fun to climb the rocks (it’s a bit like haystack if you’ve done Mt. Si). When climbing the rocks you can see over the tops of planes; you are so high up, but unfortunately, once you get to the top of the rocks, there is one more hill staring you down.

At this point in the hike, I was physically drained and did not know if my body could make it up the last hill. But in order to make it to the ‘Mailbox’ and get to sign your name and take something out of the mailbox, I had to. 

Give yourself a pep talk and just go at it. When you get to the top it’s a huge feat. You did it! Make sure to take your Instagram worthy photo and sign the book at the top. You are able to take a trinket from the mailbox (Rainier beer, wine, stickers, candy, gum, etc) and then you must place another item inside.

Once you are done having lunch at the top or admiring the view then you have the daunting trip back down. With the rock fields, it’s a bit tricky/slippery downward so be careful and watch your ankles. The way down honestly feels longer than going up! In the end, the best way to describe this hike is ‘ultimate stairmaster- thigh-burner’, because it’s a constant uphill climb – I mean you are scaling 4,000 feet on up. Once you get to the top it is amazing. Hike #9: 12 miles

Hike #10: Cathedral Falls

This easy, hidden 2-mile hike is located on your way to Yakima, but once you take the exit to the trail you’ll be off-roading! Have a vehicle that does well with potholes, mud, and trees! My friend just bought this older model land rover and it was the perfect thing to go right up the side of the mountain. Once you get to the trail-head there are no real markers, just follow the path that everyone else took. We got to the falls, but not too much was coming down. I think usually the falls is a lot bigger. There were some cool caves and art in the cave to look at and lots of families as the trail isn’t too difficult for beginners. You could keep going up the trail like another 10 miles to a lake, but we decided that was enough exploring for the time that we had. Definitely, the best part of the hike is the sweeping views of mountains, the caves, and then the off-roading. Hike #10: 2 miles

Hike #11: Lake Twenty-Two

For this hike leave early. The parking lot was full by 10 am on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. You’ll also need a Northwest Forest Pass. This trail is super easy to find off the Mountain Loop Highway—a 50 car lot and a picnic area down the road to park in and then you’re off on your way. The trail starts off nice and easy–through forest-like terrain, a bridge, rivers, and creeks. The trail is very well maintained. There are many stairs of old creeks, logs, and of course rock piles to go through. You reach a bit of a clearing where you ascend up the boulder field, which can be a bit dangerous with how many people are coming and going up and down, but then back into the forest area until you reach another bridge. This time you’ve made it to the lake and it’s beyond beautiful. You can walk around the entire lake via the boardwalk; find a humongous boulder to have lunch on, see if there’s a bit of snow to trudge through, lay out in the sun, fish, or even kayak in the middle of the lake! Take it all in! It’s worth all the photos and it lived up to its hype! Hike #11: 7 miles

I’m at 81 miles out of 100! Now that it’s halfway through the year I think I need to re-evaluate my hiking goal and adjust a bit – 25 hikes and 150 miles.  

Get ready for part 4!

This is part 3 of a 5 part series on hikes in the Pacific Northwest. Read the entire series here.

Taylor Shimizu
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