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Olympic National Park – Exploring 3 Ecosystems

olympic-regional-mapOn a sunny day in mid-September, Lynne, Robin and Leslie headed off on a 4-day trip to Olympic National Park for their annual hiking getaway.  We had rented a conveniently located cabin near Forks, WA, and were looking forward to a day in the Hoh Rain Forest, another day doing beach hikes at Third Beach and Rialto Beach (near La Push on the Quileute Indian Reservation) , and a third day on Hurricane Ridge.  A sampling of rain forests, beaches, and mountains plus glaciers – what could be better?

Hoh Rain Forest:

img_7961The rainy weather provided an appropriate atmosphere for our hikes on the Hoh River Trail, the Hall of Mosses Trail, and the Spruce Nature Trail. The verdant vegetation was full of epiphytes or airplants:  lush clusters of club moss, lichens and hanging mosses were interspersed with Big Leaf Mimg_8016aples.  This area is the largest protected old growth forest in the Pacific Northwest, and it  was dripping with moisture from the intermittent rain showers, and so were we!  Leslie’s biggest challenge was how to take photographs without damaging the camera; the Canon traveled in and out of a plastic bag and backpack many times, resulting in a slowed pace of her cohorts.  Thanks for your supreme patience, Robin and Lynne!  On this day we were also surprised by a herd of Roosevelt elk (on an airport runway, no less) and later, grazing along the road, 2 single elk nonchalantly peered at us with full munching mouths.

Third Beach, La Push area on the Quileute Indian Reservation, and Rialto Beach:

img_8023The second day began by watching Native fishermen setting nets at the head of the Quileute River – evidence of keeping their traditions alive. The scene was amazingly tranquil with swooping pelicans in the foreground and sea stack formations looming in the misty distance. We also visited the resort on the reservation with its newly-modernized and contemporary accommodations facing the sea. We then drove to Third Beach, hiked a mile and a half in on a coastal forest trail, and came to a lovely sandy beach strewn with huge drift logs. Finally, we enjoyed contemplative time and more photo opportunities with the pounding surf, arch formations and numerous sea stacks of Rialto Beach.

Hurricane Ridge:

img_8206img_8223Regardless of getting a relatively early start this day, we got a bit sidetracked….. We drove east on Hwy 101, stopped at the classic Crescent Lake Lodge and at an outdoor store in Port Angeles, and eventually headed up to Hurricane Ridge at 5,242 ft./1,599 m.. At the majestic top we viewed high mountains and valleys carved by glaciers and had a renewed appreciation of the 50 mile father/son hike in Olympic National Park which Val, Scott, Eric and Kurt did in the summer of 2014. After having lunch at the summit, our hike was all too short, but we vowed to return and further explore this area of rich biodiversity sometime soon.

Olympic National Park is an outstanding wilderness park. It has justifiably gained recognition as a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site due to its many rich resources. We three friends love exploring areas like this for the camaraderie, the solitude, the appreciation of beauty, the recreational opportunities, and for the learning which takes place while traveling together.  Thank goodness the park has been protected since 1938, and that almost one million acres have been preserved for future generations.

Wilderness is the preservation of the world.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walking

 

9 Responses to “Olympic National Park – Exploring 3 Ecosystems”

  1. Shirley Paterson says:

    Super photos, Leslie.
    We remember an unusually warm, dry day hiking
    in the Hoh. Also hiked at Third Beach, I’m pretty
    sure, where we realized we should have thought
    to pay attention to tide info. Then, snow up
    the highway in the Park. Beautiful. That would have
    been the same year we visited you, when T&C
    we’re in Seattle. Now, here we are at their flat
    in Bristol UK. Cheers!

  2. Beth Carlson says:

    This looks like a beautiful getaway—-quiet, interesting biology, and warm friendship! We hope to explore this area in the future.

    Beth & Bob

  3. Lynne says:

    Beautiful written and gorgeous photos, Leslie. Thanks for taking that Canon in and out of the rainbag!

  4. kirk nevin says:

    Great report, Leslie! Fun to see again some of our favorite places. Glad you had the energy to combat the rains and get all those super photos. Thanks!

  5. Lesley says:

    What a wonderful trip! Makes me want to go there soon. Fabulous photos, Leslie!

  6. Laura Long says:

    I hope we can follow in your footsteps soon. It’s been too long since we visited the Ho.

  7. Jane Smith says:

    Hi Leslie,

    Beautiful photos….I too am glad you took the Canon out of the plastic bag!! You and Val should have a wall of photos in your house.
    Our visit to Olympic National Park happened in 1973. Tod was a few months old and Kirst 21/2. We were visiting friends who lived in Seattle. We visited the Hoh rainforest; we traipsed along LaPush Beach. K got a little too close to the waters edge and got caught in a wave. Don quickly rescued her and she survived just fine… only we found sand in her ears and hair for weeks!! It was a great trip.

  8. Robin Donnelly says:

    Oh my gosh, just like being there again. Wonderful dialogue and photos, Leslie. A trip with good friends I’ll always remember. You can take the ol’ Canon out of its bag any time you wish!

  9. Eric Adelberger says:

    We enjoyed your lovely photos and description of areas we know very well.


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