Sunday, July 25, 2010

Olympic National Park - Rainforests

The Largest (?) Sitka Spruce

Sunday morning started in grey drizzle.  By the time we got to Lake Quinault, the clouds were beginning to lighten.  There we went east along the south shore past Lake Quinault Lodge to see what is advertized as the largest Sitka Spruce - maybe yes, maybe no, but it sure is big.

We followed that by driving along the north shore to a ranger station and nature trail - that is very well done and very informative.  Some parts of the trail reminded me of east Texas bayous.
Then north on US 101 toward the Pacific.  As the sun came out, we stopped for lunch at Klaloch Lodge (quite good) on the beach, then continued up 101 to the road into the Hoh Valley Rainforest.  It's a beautiful 18 mile drive to a visitors center and the heads of several trails.  We took the Spruce Trail, which covers a variety of ecologies including those along the Hoh River.  Again, we learned a lot, and enjoyed another sort of natural wonder.

The day ended at a very special place - Lake Crescent Lodge.  Lake Crescent is a gem in the northwestern corner of Olympic National Park.  A deep crescent shaped lake perhaps five miles long, Lake Crescent has  steep mountains on both sides.  The Lodge is an old-style resort hotel with a couple of dozen old cabins and some motel rooms.  It reminds me of the Watson House, an old hotel that sat at the end of a lake in the Poconos that my family knew 60 years ago.  It is a place of calm and quiet.
 The dining room was crowded by two large parties and reservations were not available until 9:00, so we opted to sit in the sunroom and order from the bar menu.  Bingo!  We won the jackpot!  We ate (and drank our Washington State wine) with an unobstructed view of the lake at sunset.  It really is a perfect place.