Olympic National Park by Cooper Franklin

Olympic National Park by Cooper Franklin

Washington, a state with majestic mountains, high desert, beautiful coastline, lush rainforests, and amazing waterfalls. Washington state has many things to offer, but one part that stands out to me is the Olympic Peninsula, which consists of the Olympic National Park and the Olympic National Forest.

I have been in love with the area ever since I was a kid growing up in south Arkansas. My father had these old National Geographic magazines and I remember looking at the pictures and coming across photos of the lushest greens and the most beautiful waterfalls I’d ever seen. The caption under the photo said Olympic National Park. Nearly 40 years on and I’m fortunate enough to have a job that has allowed me to work near this beautiful and awe-inspiring area.

I could go on and on and in-depth about the Olympic National Park and Peninsula and all the cool things to do there, from the amazing beaches, the lush rainforests, and the amazing hikes in the Olympic Mountain range, but I'll leave that to the guide books.

Olympic National Park is a destination, it’s not a place you simply “hit on the” way to somewhere else. The Hoh, being the most popular, starts with a great hike along the Hoh River, passing through the lush rainforest and waterfalls to a view of the Olympic Mountains. It’s easy to see why it draws so many people year on year.

My favorite is the Quinault Rainforest. It’s not as big or as popular as its bigger sibling, but it has tons to offer. From a lodge overlooking Lake Quinault to beautiful and easily accessible waterfalls, most not even requiring you to get out of your vehicle!  It is also where you can access the Enchanted Valley, also known as the Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls. Here you can enjoy a 26-mile roundtrip hike that will take you through rainforest and deep into a glacial valley surrounded by waterfalls flowing from the mountains.

The beaches on the Peninsula are also a big draw for visitors, Second and Third Beaches in La Push and Shi Shi Beach near Neah Bay being the most popular. With cool looking sea stacks, they make for great sunrise and sunset photography. But while most people are drawn to the beaches, I tend to stick to the thick covered forests. That is where I seem to be more at peace and at one with nature and my photography. Being lost in the moment in front of a waterfall, surrounded by the rich smells of the flora and fauna, allows me to escape to a whole other place.

One could live their entire life near the Olympics and never run out of things to photograph. It is the perfect destination for landscape photographers. Once you visit, it will stick with you long after you leave and you will probably start making plans for your next visit.

These photos are just a small sample of all there is to photograph.  I had a hard time picking out a limited selection of photos to share. I hope you enjoy them as much as I loved taking them. If you ever decide on a trip to the Olympic Peninsula and National Park, I can assure you that you won’t regret it.

I'm an Arkansas native living in the Pacific Northwest and a photography buff with an affinity for waterfalls and anything flowing.  I’m a surgical technologist by trade currently living and working in Grants Pass, Oregon. I’d have to say my love for photography started when I got into travel nursing 16 years ago, working at various hospitals across the US. I started with a little Olympus digital point and shoot, taking snapshots of my travels and sharing them with people back home.

Then I discovered the outdoors more and hiking and a friend suggested since I like taking pictures so much I should invest in a DSLR, which I had no idea what that was or what It even did. So I bought a Nikon D40, for $350, which at the time I thought was a lot of money for a camera, boy was I in for a surprise And the rest, as they say, is history. In my spare, spare time, when I’m not out getting lost in the woods shooting waterfalls, or not inconvenienced by work, I like to listen to music, (anything Led Zeppelin), enjoy craft beers, running trying to stay in shape during my ageing years and for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

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