Saturday, October 20, 2012

Olympic Peninsula - Day 14

Friday, September 14, 2012:   Waking up to the sad reality that today is my last day in the Olympic Peninsula.

It was a foggy morning overlooking Lake Quinault.  I could hear elk bugling, but couldn't see them for the fog.  Later in the day, I learned that a small herd was across the street behind the campground.  Not a big deal, I thought, because we have elk in North Carolina too.

I took an early morning stroll around the lake.  As far as photography goes, the fog added mystic to the photos and I didn't mind it a bit. 

There were a couple hiking trails close to the hotel.  One trail led to the 'Worlds Oldest Spruce Tree' which is a Sitka Spruce estimated to be 1,000 years old.  It had sap running out of it which glistened in the morning sun.  It looked like liquid gold running out.  Pretty cool.  I'm at the bottom of the photo, but I kind of blend in.

Before leaving home, I had mapped out the area around Lake Quinault.  There were tons of hiking trails, but since it was pretty remote, I decided it probably wasn't the smartest activity for this solo female traveler.  I opted for a 30 mile loop around the entire lake via gravel forest service roads.  Probably not the best option either, but at least I had my locked car doors for protection..right?  (I can see my dad shaking his head as he reads this.  Love you, Pops!) 

The decision to loop the lake worked out fine.  I saw two waterfalls which required little to no hiking.  They didn't have the water flow I'm used to here in NC, but they were still pretty.  My photo doesn't show it though.

The backside of the lake had snow measurement poles - measured in feet...eek. 

There was also some kind of river/land conservation at stake as I kept seeing signs to 'say No to Wild Olympics'.  The locals claim the government is trying to 'land grab' and they are ticked.  You can read about it here if you are so inclined:  (this is the locals point of view which I tend to favor over government..just sayin.)

So back to my peaceful drive around the lake...

I didn't spot any wildlife other than a large blue bird which turns out thanks to my friend Karan, is a Stellar Jay (in the blue jay family, but larger.)  I saw a pile of scat in the road which I presume was elk or moose, but I never saw either animal.

Today was pretty low key, but I thoroughly enjoyed being in the woods.

After finishing the loop, I headed back to Seattle (the traffic around the Army Base was ridiculous!)  I dropped my luggage at the hotel and returned the rental car.  It was a sad day because I wasn't ready to go home. 

Here are some random pics from the Lake Quinault area.


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