September 21-22After our long hike yesterday in the Quinault Rain Forest, we were ready for some down time. We spent the morning trying to catch up on the blogs and inter-webbing, before deciding to take the short drive up to Ruby Beach. Ruby is known for it’s sea-stacks and driftwood on a rocky beach. There were loads of folks here today, picking their way through the huge logs jumbled everywhere, making it almost impossible to make people-less landscapes. We spent just a couple of hours walking around before heading back to camp. Later that evening, I was out on my little perch above the pacific for some night photography. It’s pretty cool to be able to see the Big Dipper in the image. I plan to make more evening images another day.
Hiking in the Hoh Rain ForestIt was cool and damp with dew after a cloudless night as we prepared for our 6 mile hike through the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park. By and large, we’ve had wonderful weather for all our hikes. The little fog there was this morning dissipated quickly as we made another long drive to the trailhead. That is the only downside to staying at Kalaloch – it is about in the middle of the two places we were interested in exploring. 30-40 miles in opposite directions to get to either. Today’s drive was 15 miles north on 101, then 17 miles on a much more twisty road into the rain forest.Oh, but it’s worth it. This is a popular trail, so we wanted to get an early start. There were only a few cars in the lot when we finally got there around 9:30. It was chilly, but hiking would soon change that. This is a terrific trail to walk. It meanders through a towering moss covered forest, occasionally bending toward the river. This early in the morning, sunlight was only seen when we moved closer to the river. There, maple trees were beginning to turn color and sword ferns became backlit. Under the canopy, the color changes had yet to occur. The feeling of being among ancient living things is strong here. There is a quietness that seems to suggest reverence. We found ourselves speaking in slightly hushed tones. No need to shout here.I am not really sure if I am expressing those feeling in the images I make here. Everything looks special on the little screen on my camera, but does the actual image I make convey specialness, or will it just look like an old tree with a bunch of stuff hanging off it?We stopped for lunch at a bridge overlooking Mineral Creek. There is a nice waterfall here, but too far off trail, and kind of obscured by brush to get a good perspective. Still, it was a nice place to stop and listen to water flowing. With the sun now high overhead, making photos in the forest was becoming difficult. Too many hotspots that require a lot of hoops to jump through to overcome. I decided to get closer and found more ferns and maples to work with. The Hoh River Trail is actually about 17 miles long. One can catch it at several different locations. We were pretty tired after the first 3 that we did, so we turned back for the walk home. A lot more hotspots now and our fatigue made us want to just get back. We met a couple of young rangers heading off for a multi-day backpack excursion. Before you think, “Oh, what a great perk”, they were going out to dig new privies for the backpack camps and fill in the old. Oh yes, and it was going to rain again all night.Getting back to the huge parking lot at the visitor center, we discovered it was full and overflow parking getting scarce. We did pass a lot of people heading out on our way back in, but it was a shock to see so the place so full of cars. We were glad to get back though. Coffee and snacks were in order before the long drive home.Again this evening, I was out after dinner on our little patio photographing, um, well, not the sunset as such – the clouds of the approaching storm were in – but as the light became dimmer, I used the movement of the surf to make some lovely soft images. Very different from last night. We are headed to Forks, Washington tomorrow for restocking, and later a hike to Sol Duc Falls in another part of Olympic. Stay tuned!