Sunday, April 2, 2023

Lake Quinault Virtual Office

Trip date: February 2023

The Seattle Times had an article about a BOGO deal that Lake Quinault was running and I thought that sounded like a great virtual office opportunity. Since I was looking for weeknights, there was actually quite a bit of availability. 

My friend Leslie lives out in Humptulips, which is just 30 minutes from Lake Quinault, so we made plans for me to come out for lunch before heading to the lodge. Washington had a fair amount of snow on the days leading up to my trip, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to go as I drive a sports car! But that morning Leslie said the roads were mainly clear so I loaded up and drove the 3 hours from Seattle out to the Washington Peninsula. 

Leslie's house actually has a gorgeous stained glass window in it that use to belong to the Lake Quinault Lodge! 

Her guy made us a delicious lunch and then we went out to explore her property. It's very beautiful out there on the banks of the Humptulip River. And her miniature donkeys, baby cow, and chickens could not be cuter! Check out Lucky the cow photobombing!

By the time I left for the lodge it was snowing pretty hard, but the roads were still clear so I didn't have any problems. I got checked in and made my way to the lakeview Fireplace Rooms, which are in an adjoining building to the main lodge. 

There is wifi throughout the property but you only get 30 minutes a day for free so I bought the upgraded package for $16, which included multiple devices and 5GB, since this would be my office for the next few days. The room didn't have a desk but I just moved some furniture so I could work on my laptop in front of the fireplace. My room also had a mini fridge, coffee maker, balcony with adirondacks, and fairly recently renovated bathroom with heated floors. 

When it was time for happy hour, I moved down to the Great Room and grabbed a seat in front of the enormous fireplace.

This lodge was built in 1926, designed by a Seattle architect, and was completed in 53 days! I had camped nearby a long time ago, so had been inside briefly, but to relax in this gorgeous room with a cold martini in hand was truly a wonderful experience. 

I had dinner in the Roosevelt Room, named because the President visited here in 1937. The menu looked pretty good but the prices are ridiculously high! As I was still full from my late lunch I just had the Caesar salad with smoked salmon which was very good. 

I had brought some provisions with me for my room, so headed there after dinner for a glass of wine and to read my book. The lodge is very quiet which was excellent!

The next morning I worked in front of the fire with my coffee and the gorgeous view of the lake for a couple of hours before heading down to the dining room for breakfast. Even if your room doesn't have a view, the dining room is a wall of windows so you will not miss out. 

It had snowed lightly most of the night but the day was partly sunny and I was excited to go on a hike in the beautiful Olympic National Park! I had chosen the Gatton Creek Trail as it is one of the trails that goes right from the Lodge. I had wanted to do the Quinault Loop but it was mostly closed due to down trees.

Hiking in the Olympic rain forest is soooo gorgeous! The moss is 100 shades of green and the trees reach tall to the sky. There was no one on on the trail that morning so the forest was quiet and very peaceful. There was just a bit of snow on the trail and I thought it was beautiful!

But almost as soon as I crossed the bridge at Falls Creek the snow on the path was much deeper. I mean it was still just up to my shoelaces but I was surprised. The trail only had an 800 foot elevation rise but as I went up the snow was deeper; completely obscuring the trail. 

I kept expecting it to clear, not sure why! But at the ½ way point the snow was up to my ankles and I was also having to duck under branches laden with snow. Luckily someone else had hiked the trail the day before and since it hadn't snowed much I could still see their footprints. It was the only way I was able to stay on the course!
This "easy" hike ended up being a real slog! And because no one else was around, and I had spotted some cougar tracks, I was also a tad nervous and was whistling non-stop in order to give any kitties warning of my approach. 

As I came down from the modest elevation the trail was fine and the surrounding trees were stunningly draped in moss again instead of snow.

By the time I made it to Rain Forest Village I was exhausted and my touque and puffer were soaked. Luckily my new waterproof hikers did their job and my feet were dry and toasty. 

I stopped by the 1,000+ year old "World's Largest Sitka Spruce", which has lost its top and is looking pretty bad compared to the last time I saw it, and then walked along South Shore Drive back to the lodge. 5 ½ miles later I was done!

The lodge doesn't serve lunch on weekdays in the off-season so I changed into dry clothes, grabbed my laptop, and headed to the Quinault Internet Cafe in nearby Amanda Park. I was able to get some work done and have a pretty decent taco salad! Back at the lodge I worked for the rest of the afternoon in front of my fireplace. 

Before heading to the Great Room for a martini that evening, I walked out to the lakeshore to take in the view of the setting sun. The light was just incredible!

Sitting around the fire, the other guests were very talkative, kinda like when you are on a cruise! ūüėÜ Everyone was giving each other advise on what to do and see, as well as talking about all their prior visits to the lodge. And everyone complained about the dining room prices! I was happy just to sip my drink and listen. 

I had some excellent (and still completely overpriced) fish and chips in the restaurant that night before heading back to my room. There aren't a lot of other options in the area, especially being off-season, but next time I'll try the Salmon House restaurant, which is just a short drive away. 

On my last day I had arranged a late checkout, so I spent the morning working and then hit the dining room right before they finished their breakfast service for my "brunch". 
I had such a nice time at the lodge and will definitely take advantage of the BOGO again, maybe this fall. It's such a beautiful property and they also have an indoor pool which I didn't have time to check out!

Before driving home, I followed South Shore Drive out to Merriman Falls. The 40 foot falls are right next to the road so no hiking required to view.

From here I drove another 5 ½ miles to Bunch Falls; South Shore Drive turns into a dirt road out here,which was quite slushy. I hadn't realized how far these falls were so I was a little concerned driving my sporty car on the icy road with not another car around. But passing through this section of forest was very pretty.

Bunch Falls are right by the Olympic National Park sign and before you get to the bridge which takes you to North Shore Drive. As the roads out here were pretty messy, doing the Lake Drive Loop was not an option. 

It was time to hit the road and get back to Seattle. As I drove out, next to the river, I slammed on my brakes when I spotted the largest bald eagle I've ever seen, sitting high in a bare tree. I mean I have seen hundreds of bald eagles and this one's size really shocked me!
As I got back into my car I spotted another huge one down the road! And on the drive out, one more! No matter how many times I see one I'm always in awe!

Lake Quinault offers the BOGO deal yearly October thru March. 

All Lake Quinault photos here

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