10 Sep An Olympic Peninsula Adventure
When you start planning a camping trip, you probably begin by thinking about hiking, looking up camping breakfast recipes, packing the ingredients for s’mores dessert recipes, and humming some joyful campfire songs. Unfortunately for me, thinking through all of the aspects of camping in the wilderness gave me a bit of anxiety, so I starting doing a bit of research on camping statistics. According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, there were 503 reported tent injuries between 2010 and 2015. This information did not ease my anxiety, but I pushed forward, knowing that this experience would be a positive life changer.
The idea of camping in an ultra-cool converted vintage Volkswagen Vanagon by PacWesty gave me enough confidence to do it for Instagram. I was “roughing” it out in the Pacific Northwest wilderness (something I never thought I would be doing) and learning more about myself than ever before. Things like how to get food in nature and how to turn on a portable heater were foreign to me. Camping by myself allowed me to experience more self-growth than I have had in quite a while, and because of it, I instantly became an outdoors person.
Exploring the Pacific Northwest and stopping at places like Crescent Beach and the Hoh Rainforest not only made me feel more confident in my ability to survive the outdoors, it gave a sense of calm I hadn’t found in years. The first night, I parked at Port Crescent during dusk. Unable to see much due to the darkening skies, I set up camp in my PacWesty van and went straight to sleep. The first thing I heard waking up was the waves crashing against the shore. As an avid beach fan, I jumped out of the van and saw one of the most beautiful beach sights I had ever seen.
I didn’t have any expectations of Crescent Beach before arriving, but what I saw will forever be pleasantly engrained in my mind. Driftwood older than me laid on the black sand that met a violent late winter current. The entire scene felt surreal, and I counted my blessings for witnessing something like it. The Hoh Rainforest, on the other hand, was just like I expected it to be. As a fan of the ‘Twilight’ series, I had seen its majesty on screen more than once. I arrived expecting to meet Edward or Bella but was greeted by typical Washingtonian rain and murk.
Through the wet obscurity, I was able to find some of the most exciting walking trails in what felt like was martian terrain. Moss-covered trees lined pretty much every path, and the rain made it seem much more alien-like. Camping by myself in a place I had never been was something I thought I never would do. Now that I’ve done it, I can honestly say I’m more confident in conquering my fear and anxiety. I don’t know what’s next, but I’m more than ready for any new adventure just as long as I have WiFi.