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.