Thursday, October 29, 2009

National Parks

Any of you who travel with your dogs probably knows that national parks are not the friendliest places on earth, canine-wise. But there are exceptions.
I was delighted when, upon hearing that Olympic National Park (just about out my back door) was building a new trail behind park headquarters, I asked about dogs and they said yes, dogs would be allowed on the new trail. They are also allowed on an older, longer trail also departing from behind park headquarters. So those are two great walking opportunities just up the hill.
I remember touring the park with my parents before actually moving here, and noting that my dogs would not have been able to accompany me to any of the places we went, other than the parking lots. I was especially sad to think that they wouldn't be able to join me on the many beaches.
Well, to my shock and delight, I have just decided on a short break to the coast (where Olympic National Park has its "coastal strip"). Not only does the lodge have a "four legged friends" package, but the National Park Service website informed me that dogs are allowed on all beaches in the Kalaloch area. With a little further checking, I found that meant from Ruby Beach to South Beach, a distance of more than several miles. Ruby Beach was the actual beach I was on with my parents while thinking my dog wouldn't be allowed to set foot there. So this was a lovely surprise.
Now we're all looking forward to the trip with great anticipation. If it's stormy, as it has been for days, the lodge and cabins are perched on a bluff overlooking and Pacific, a perfect spot for stormwatching. We will be bringing cameras and art supplies to keep ourselves occupied (no phones or tvs at the lodge). And if the weather is fine, or even bearable, I've scoped out plenty of sights to visit.
But mostly, I am happy to see that at least one national park has loosened up a little when it comes to dogs. Maybe more will be on the way.

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