Saturday, October 20, 2012

Olympic Peninsula - Day 13

Thursday, September 13, 2012:  Waking up in La Push, WA was the highlight of my trip.  I didn't know how I was going to top the previous day, but I knew I was going to try.

I headed out to the beach at first light.  First thing I saw was campers on the beach with fires going.  How awesome it would be to sleep out there?  (Already planning the next trip!)  There were only a few people out, and all were really friendly.  I talked to a native there who laughed when he heard where I lived because his people come to the Smoky Mountains (Cherokee) for vacation.  He was very familiar with North Carolina.

It wasn't long before people began gathering on top of the break wall.  Of course I had to climb up to see what they were looking at.  The sun had risen giving a bluish hue to the Quileute harbor.  It was beautiful.  There were tons of seagulls floating in the water.  I love the different textures in the photo on the left.  In addition to the birds, there were men setting out crab nets and others were floating by on shrimp boats.  I could see a cave on one of the sea stacks although I don't know how anyone could get to it to explore due to the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing against it.  There were several points of intrigue in La Push - all to be explored another time.

I hated to leave this beautiful area, but the Hoh Rainforest was calling my name.  I traveled through an area called Forks.  It was made famous in the vampire book, Twilight (apparently speaking since I haven't read these books.)  They had an 'Edward' tour, but I didn't get into any of that.  If you're into Twilight, perhaps you should consider a visit.  All I know is that I couldn't find the post office there.

At the Hoh Rainforest, I hiked the Trail of Mosses.  It was another old growth forest that covered multiple eco systems.  This trail was crowded enough that I didn't have to worry about being alone in the woods.  The size of the trees was hard to put into perspective in photos.  Hindsight - I should have taken some panoramas.
Also, it was difficult to capture through photos the layers upon layers of moss in the rainforest.  It was impressive while in the woods, but sadly my photography didn't capture the essence of mother nature's rainforest.

One neat view I captured was the cris-crossing of two downed Sitka Spruce trees.  The photo gives some sort of perspective as the trees formed a bridge over the trail.  They were high enough that no one really had to duck under.

Here are a few other shots that I liked from the area around the Hoh Rainforest.

On my way out of the Hoh, I saw a Blue Heron.  We have them in North Carolina so I wasn't too excited.  The bird struck a 'yoga' pose and stayed there for at least 10 minutes.  I gave up watching him!  He was likely trying to dry his wings or something  that makes sense.  Either way it was entertaining.

Another interesting thing I saw was people camping on a river bed in the middle of the forest. It was partially a dry bed, but still - is that safe?  What if it rains? I mean it WAS in the RAINforest. 

Leaving the Hoh behind, I headed to my next overnight location - Lake Quinault in the Quinault Rainforest.  Along the way, I passed through a coastal region.  With the two-lane highway running along side the Pacific Ocean, I was amazed that it was still a pristine coastline.  No hotels, no restaurants, no bathrooms...nothing.  It was beautiful, and quite a difference from Myrtle Beach and the SC coast.  I stopped at a beach along the way and saw where someone had stacked up rocks into cairns.  It was pretty cool!

Moving on down the road, I finally reached the Lake Quinault area.  More importantly, it was sunset!  I arrived at the hotel just in time to capture these amazing photos!

I had dinner at the Salmon House across the street from the Rainforest Hotel.  The dinner was fabulous and I highly recommend the salmon with fresh dill sauce!  The hotel was very 'dated' (complete with wood paneling and gold shag carpet), but it was really big, had 2 balconies overlooking the lake, and it had a very comfortable bed.  Not as luxurious as the hotel in La Push, but it was clean and the location met my needs.

It was another day that I fell into bed exhausted.  Ahh..bliss.

More miscellaneous photos below:




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