Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hoh Valley Rain Forest, Manitou Lodge & Forks, WA

By Chuck

Leaving Sol Duc, we headed directly for the Hoh Valley Rain Forest, since we could not check-in at the Manitou Lodge until 4pm. We had a beautiful sunny day there! This fulfills a wish we each have had for many years.

On the way to the Visitor Information Center, we saw a sign for a giant Sitka Spruce tree and stopped

For perspective, Claire stood beneath it

The pay phone at the visitor center: That is a plant growing from the empty phone holes

A creek on the path to the 3 trails. We went on two small loops: The Hall of Mosses trail and The Spruce Trail. Then we walked a bit up the 18.5 mile Hoh Rain Forest Trail. 

Growth upon the creek

A shaggy dog story in old growth part of the forest

Intrepid hiker starting out

  I liked the growth on this tree

Note the row of trees growing out of this nurse log

The clubmosses are attached to the trees, but are not parasitic. They feed only on air and light, with the forest atmosphere providing the necessary moisture and wind-borne nutrients. 

Claire under a tree arch

Curious growth pattern on this limb

Chuck standing alongside a 270 foot fallen tree

Charming couple in the Hoh Rain Forest

We surprised this lovely elk; we walked by gingerly, as this is rutting season and they can be aggressive at this time.

I simply like the color of this...fungus?

It rains 142 inches each year, here. This contrasts with 21 inches in San Francisco.

Lost hiker

 We drove straight to the lodge after our hikes. We were ready for a little relaxation.

Manitou Lodge in Forks, Washington

Our cozy bedroom

Our porch and high-tech chairs

After checking in to our lodge, we ate hamburgers and razzleberry pie a la mode at a local cafe and then drove to Rialto Beach. The pie is a combination of raspberry, blackberry and apple.

Claire waiting for the sunset in partial gear. (Not our camper, by the way.)

7:09 PM

A gaggle of trees had washed up upon this beach. It was interesting, but a little unsightly.

Late the next morning we lounged and ate our breakfast then took a leisurely walk around the property--10 acres of lovely forest.

Claire hiking out around the property from Manitou Lodge

 Our own little moss park

 Sort of like Jurassic Park--ferns and moss and more greenery

 Keep on Truckin'

 One last look back over our local forest

The Twilight Saga is set in Forks, Washington. Though Stephenie Meyer had never been here when she wrote it, she visited recently for a major conference. It was a big deal. Virtually every store has some tie in with the series.

The partial menu for the Three Rivers Resort, which has excellent food at bargain prices

Our second day, we decided to try La Push, the other main beach in the Forks area. We actually liked it better--more varied and interesting scenery, and lots of birds. I suppose this upright driftlog is naturally occurring.

We couldn't be sure, but guessed that the immense number of driftlogs was a byproduct of lumber operations.

The beach at La Push

 My poor little iPhone was trying so hard to capture these birds in flight over the protruding boulders

Thursday, we decided to alter our plans and head for home. I was disappointed to not see more of the Washington and Oregon coastline, but a major storm is coming in from Alaska and we would have spent all our time indoors, unable to see the sights due to bad weather and poor visibility. We can better spend our time at home, reading, for example. So we made a number of calls to cancel our reservations; made a couple more to make a reservation at a half way point--Albany (just below Salem). We also had to schedule a 25,000 mile checkup for the Prius. It turns out that the auto dealer is right across the street from the hotel--fantastic luck. Hope to see you soon.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park

By Chuck

Arriving by ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, we were too early to check-in at Sol Duc Lodge; so we drove to the Sol Duc trailhead to walk to the falls.

Many of the old growth Douglas fir and  western hemlock trees in Olympic National Park were thriving before Columbus sailed in 1492. Some are 750 years old. Other forest residents include deer, black bear, elk, birds and banana slugs.

Yours truly against a backdrop of mossy boulders

Claire amidst many tall trees

Approaching Sol Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls

Claire above the falls, almost lost in the mist

Smaller falls along the Sol Duc River

On our second day, we hiked the Salmon Cascades trail.  Here's Claire just before sighting two otter carrying away a salmon they caught to share with relatives. We kept hearing this chirping sound but could not locate the bird that was its source. The reason was that it was the sound of otter, presumably coordinating the hunt for salmon.

Next up:  The Ancient Grove Trail.  Once the importance of nursing logs had been explained to us, we became fascinated with them, noting them everywhere. Seedlings can sprout from these dead trees. Decomposing bark and wood support salamanders, beetles and other insects.

Moss and trees

Plants, trees, logs and moss--lovely!

This tree looks like it could topple over the eroded back, below, at any minute

Another look at the erosion along the trail

Unusual--A fairly open area with ground cover

That's a tall mother!

Both a horizontal and a vertical nursing log

Finishing up our hike along the Sol Duc Trail, we drove back to check-in at the Sol Duc Lodge and Hot Springs.

Our cozy little cabin at Sol Duc Resort. We were practically the furthest unit away from the Lodge and Hot Sprints.

The Spa had 4 pools, monitored hourly for temperature and water quality. The pools had temperatures of 100, 100, 105 and 68 degrees. We spent virtually all our time in the 100 degree pool, with brief excursions into the other temperatures.

 I had pancakes for breakfast both days. I wanted something filling and hearty--as well as tasty. This is the blueberry buttermilk serving of three large cakes. The prior day I had sweet potato pancakes. I indulged in a different draft beverage from the Fish Brewing Company at dinner each night: first a Hefeweizen Leavenworth, then a Pike Kilt Ale; the latter is sometimes referred to as a kilt lifter and has a malty flavor.

Healthy Claire had granola and fruit this day and steel-cut oats the day before.