Olympic National Park: Part 2 & Ada's Birthday

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Updated November 24, 2018
hurricane ridge

After the first week of exploring the west side of the Olympic National Park, we were eager to continue exploring on the north side. We found another wonderful man through Boondocker’s Welcome who let us stay in his driveway while we took a few days to continue exploring. With our youngest’s birthday coming up the search was on for something fun that she wanted to do.

The home we were staying at was literally right across the street from the ONP visitor’s center. We ventured over and made a plan for all the hikes we wanted to tackle. Hurricane Ridge was at the very top of that list!

If you do nothing else, make sure you hike the Hurricane Ridge trail.

hurricane ridge 1 hurricane ridge 2

It was by far the most scenic hike to date. Absolutely stunning. We went at just the right time of day. By the time we made it out to the top, the sun was about to set and we were in the most beautiful golden hour I’ve ever seen.

hurricane ridge 3 hurricane ridge hurricane ridge 4

These pictures just have got nothing on what our eyes witnessed that night. Truly unforgettable. There are just no words to do it justice.

hurricane ridge 5

Of course we went on other hikes while we were there, but Hurricane Ridge will definitely be what we remember when we think about the northern part of Olympic National Park.

ONP hikes ONP waterfall

Have you been to Port Angeles? It is such a cute town. We had many days of just walking around and checking out the local shops and watching the sunset at the pier.

port Angeles sunset

The kids and I even spent one morning picking 9 lbs of blueberries and various other berries at a local You-Pick Farm up the road. Port Angeles is growing on me...I'm a big fan.

While researching the area, we found that we could take a quick ferry ride over to Victoria, Canada for the day and once Ada saw that there was a fancy garden over there, she instantly declared that’s what she wanted to do for her birthday. Visit the Butchart Gardens and have afternoon tea for her special day. 

Once we read about the gardens I was a little nervous since the dress code was 'elegantly casual' so we made a trip to Goodwill in search of clothes without grass stains and holes! Ada found a cute dress with flowers all over it and just HAD to have it. However, to our surprise, Jax was the most excited when he found a button up shirt.

Jax new shirt

He wore it for DAYS. He’d wake up and put it on, he’d always be touching the buttons and was just over the moon about his new shirt. It was actually really funny. We found some nice pants for the boys and each of the kids got some new clothes for our trip to Canada. We’re set!

Ada woke up to some streamers and a candle stuck in a warm homemade cinnamon roll. She was so excited to get this day started.

ada bday 6

We ate cinnamon rolls and headed over to the ferry. In all our hustle to find clothes and get ready for Ada’s birthday, we forgot that some of us get a little motion sickness on boats! I just assumed it’s a big boat and there would be no problems on the short trip to Victoria. BIG MISTAKE. 

As soon as the ferry took off we encountered huge waves that were rocking the boat so hard. Jax’s face turned white and Jonathan quickly went to the shop on board to see if they had any Dramamine. He got the last 2 packs and we split them between Jax, Ada, Me and Jett. I remembered about the pressure points on their wrists so we were all holding on each others wrists and praying no one pukes!

sick on ferry

We made it but boy was it a close call. Jonathan even asked if it was usually that crazy and they said, 'never!' So...lucky us. We just caught it on a crazy day.

With our passports in hand we headed off to customs which turned out to be a funny story that we would gladly tell you around a campfire but not on this blog :) Let’s just say, we got detained and we missed our bus to get to Butchart Gardens. 

Luckily just another 20-30 minutes we were able to hop on another bus. Jonathan paid for all of us to ride but to our surprise kids were supposed to ride free. The bus driver was so sorry that he didn’t get a chance to tell us before we had already paid, he said, 'Don’t worry, I’ll get you your money back!' So, the next 4 passengers we picked up gave Jonathan the money for their ride since we paid for 4 extra tickets! I mean, do you think any bus driver in the US would do that? I doubt it!

After our 'situation' at customs, and missing our bus, we were just 45 minutes late to the gardens.

Thankfully they didn’t mind because they were dealing with their own emergency as their power was out. They were very organized though, and we were super impressed with how everyone handled the situation. At this point we have only been in Canada for about an hour and we’ve already found everyone to be SO NICE. Like...shockingly nice. Even the kids are like, 'I could live here!'

Now, back to the gardens. Wow! 

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We’ve been to several botanical gardens but nothing that even compares to what we saw at Butchart Gardens. I mean, I knew it would be nice, but I didn’t know it would be that nice! 

butcher dragon

It’s one of those places you just have to see because the pictures just fail to compare. We explored everywhere until our Afternoon Tea appointment. Ada had been looking forward to this day for so long. 

We were seated at a fancy table, chose our tea and ordered our plates.

ada afternoon tea

I’ve put together this short video to just show you this fun day. It was magical and Ada loved every minute of it. Thank you so much, Butchart Gardens, for making Ada’s birthday dream come true!


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Ashley Longnecker

About the Author

Ashley Longnecker is the fiercely independent tattooed and dreaded half of Tiny Shiny Home. She's a woodworker, photographer and maker of delicious baked goods. She loathes schedules and makes every day an adventure.

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Posted October 24, 2017

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