A man jumped off the dock into the crystal blue, glacially carved waters of Lake Crescent and when asked how the water was, he replied: “Like butter.”
Like butter on a croissant, Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park, just 17 miles from Port Angeles, on the Olympic Peninsula, is one of my most favorite spots on earth. Perhaps because of its brilliant blue waters and extraordinary clarity (caused by a lack of nitrogen in the water, which stunts the algae growth), perhaps because we make the ritual pilgrimage each time we visit my in-laws in Sequim, Washington. When we round the bend to the lake, my husband says in his best Inspector Clouseau accent “Lake Croissant!”
We hike, pack a picnic or dine in the lodge, skip stones, read in the Adirondack chairs and swim for hours, jumping off the dock again and again. In the water the visibility is so clear, you can see your feet below and even, sometimes, the rocks at the bottom, glistening in the Alpine sunshine. Many folks dislike lake swimming, often because the water seems dark and creepy, still and foreboding… I love it. I love swimming anywhere, rivers, ponds, lakes, oceans, pools, and given the opportunity, I will go out of my way to take the plunge even if temperatures seem off-putting to others.
This visit, the weather was perfect, sunny, warm, and we got an early start. I wanted to kayak or paddle board with my boys, but as always, on our day trips, the call of the dock proved too enticing. There is a classic lodge, with giant hearths, animal trophies and antique outdoor equipment mounted on the wall, a choice of cabins, a campground and plenty of RVers.
As the day wore on, we met a Dutch and British family, folks from Michigan, DC and many other folks making a tour of the seemingly under-utilized national park. Geographical isolation is one reason the park is so pristine. This is great news for those that do make the trek. Billed as three parks in one, the 922,651 acres encompass distinctly different ecosystems. This gem offers snow-capped mountain highs, wildflower meadows, waterfalls, ancient forests and ocean tide pools.
To celebrate the diamond anniversary, many events are planned throughout the fall and winter including some magical sounding holiday events such as: Franklin & Theodore’s Teddy Bear Tea on the Historic Lake Crescent Lodge Sun porch and a New Year’s Eve gala at the Lake Crescent Lodge.
Whether you come for a summer day visit or stay for a week, Washington’s Olympic National Park and the unforgettable Lake Crescent will be a highlight of a Pacific Northwest outdoor adventure!