July 24, 2010

Olympic Peninsula - Hurricane Ridge and Hoh Rainforest

A quick get-a-way to Olympic peninsula the 15th and 16th to celebrate my birthday a little early. We couldn't have asked for better weather. At the Vashon ferry dock the fog shrouded everything but once at Southworth we knew we'd have a beautiful day. Above is Hurricane Ridge, part of the Olympic National Park. You access the mile-high Hurricane Ridge via Hurricane Ridge Parkway in Port Angeles. We claimed a bench, wheeled over the cooler, and lunched on various goodies with this panorama a our view.
I wonder what S spies.

Descending Hurricane Ridge Parkway we pulled over to admire the view of Mt. Baker. Looks like it' floating over The Straight of Juan de Fuca (SJDF) and the city of Sequim (skwim).
In this shot you can easily spy the Dungeness Spit, part of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, arching out into the SJDF. Click on the photo to enlarge it and I bet you can just make out the Dungeness Lighthouse towards the end of the Spit. It's about a 5 mile walk to the lighthouse. I've done this hike to the lighthouse and back. You need to time it with a low tide to get the most of the experience.
A lone barge.
The next day we went to the Hoh Rainforest, also in the Olympic National Park. It's not my first time to the Hoh but it's the first time I had to wear sun screen while visiting. We had blue skies and sun. We saw some amazing trees and mosses, ferns and lichens. This tree split and fell. I should have put S in the shot to lend a sense of scale. Take my word, these are giant "splinters" of wood.

I love to look at the patterns in the trees.
And I must say I'm a sucker for any kind of lichen.

Again, it's hard to grasp the size of this tree but it's easily as wide as my car.

Elk encounter #1. Click on the photo to enlarge so you can see the large male elk with full rack in the photo. A park ranger lady is in the middle of the shot wearing a dark jacket. Another ranger then shoo'd the elk, waving his arms and barking out noises. I guess the wildlife is used to humans and the elk was seemingly uninterested in anything but eating. However, wildlife is wildlife. Appreciate it from a distance. Look but don't touch or feed.
OK, there was just no way to get the whole fallen tree in the shot especially because of the slope in the trail. I'm standing at the top of the tree. Actually, I'm standing a good 10 feet from the top. S is standing several feet from the base. Click on the photo to enlarge. You should be able to make her out wearing a dark shirt and light shorts. It's amazing. This was once standing up. It fell but didn't break? There are not breaks in this tree. It just hugs the curve in the land.
Elk encounter #2: Getting closer. Yep, that's a male elk, again with full rack. Not sure if it's the same elk from earlier. Guess it doesn't matter. He came walking across the trail, munching along. Everyone stopped and stepped back and just watched. Good humans. No false moves were made. No sudden noises. Just cameras clicking.
Off he goes.
Along the 18-mile road to the visitor center you spy a sign that says simply Big Spruce. Big, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:45 PM

    Awesome, so lovely! Love that area! Happy belated! Hugs. Heidi