It's little wonder that the Olympic Peninsula, anchored in the middle by the majestic Olympic Mountains, contains many of the last places to be explored in the contiguous U.S., let alone the Pacific Northwest. Even today, people must drive or sail around this mass of land—there's no direct route through the rugged and remote northwestern arm of Washington state. But this is no deterrent. It's a popular playground for anglers, birders, hikers, snowboarders and snowshoers, skiers, surfers, and sailors. A ferry ride west across Puget Sound from Seattle, it's bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the north, and the Hood Canal on the east. Seaports and beaches hug its shores, but the wilderness—waterfalls, rain forests, hot springs, lakes, rivers, ridges, and peaks—lies at the heart of this mysteriously beautiful place.
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