Olympic Rain Forest

Date: May 30, 2019

We woke up to another beautiful, sunny day; we had homemade granola with yogurt and fruit for breakfast and were soon ready for our adventure. Carla and Linda found a tour of the rain forest and old homesteads around Lake Quinault. The small bus picked us up – along with about 10 other people – in front of the lodge. The bus was crowded. Each row sat three people but our back row had all five of our party crammed together. We switched places occasionally and took turns leaning forward to allow others to get shoulder room.

Rain Forest Tour Route

Our first stop was the largest Sitka Spruce Tree at the southern shore Lake Quinault. These type of distinctions are interesting. Up until a 2008 winter storm knocked it down, the world’s tallest Sitka Spruce was just off US Highway 26 near the Oregon Coast. When I first read the sign about the Lake Quinault tree I wondered if the state of Washington – or whomever gives out these awards – put this up after the Oregon tree went down. But then I realized there are two distinct measurements. This tree isn’t as tall as the Oregon tree was, but with a circumference of just under 59 feet it is the widest – or largest. At any rate, this tree is big. It took 13 campers plus a camp counselor and a belt to stretch around it.

World’s Largest Sitka Spruce. Quinault, Washington

As the bus moved down the road, our guide told stories about Sasquatch, or Big Foot, the cousin of the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman in the Himalayas. I was disappointed we didn’t see Sasquatch, but we did see the lesser known “Mossquatch”. Please pardon the reflection in the glass; we had to stay in the bus to get pictures because we were too scared to go out! 🙂

Mossquatch – South Shore RD Quinault, Washington

As we discovered the day before, rain forest means waterfalls. In this case Merriman Falls next to the South Shore Trail.

Merriman Falls along South Shore Trail; Lake Quinault, Washington

After a few stops to see some of the sites we crossed the river and headed back southwest on the North Shore Trail where we stopped at the Kestner Homestead – one of the original homesteads from the 19th century. There was plenty to see; starting with this big old tree.

Near Kestner Homestead. N Shore Road Lake Quinault, Washington

As we walked down the trail I was taken by the beauty of this old ranch. This location provided my favorite pictures of the trip.

Kestner Homestead, Lake Quinault

Out back sits an old rusting truck.

Kestner Homestead, Lake Quinault

And the old fenced pasture is a beautiful spot on a beautiful day.

Kestner Homestead, Lake Quinault

We climbed back aboard our little bus and soon reached our next to last stop at the ranger station. The station is closed due to budget cutbacks – don’t get me started – but the short hike was nice. I saw another berry and captured another closeup.

Near North Shore Road Lake Quinault, Washington

Before long we returned to the Lodge. We had a lunch of chips and sandwiches at the Mercantile store across the street from the lodge. Carla, Linda, and Kate went for a short hike; I rested and sat out on the Adirondack chairs on that beautiful lawn looking down at the lake. For dinner we headed a couple of miles down the road to a restaurant that featured salmon and trout. Delicious.

The next morning we had a 2+ hour drive up to Port Angeles to catch the noon ferry to British Columbia. After another quick breakfast in our room four of us hit the road north. Unfortunately for us Linda had to return home so be bid her a fond adieu; she is a great traveling companion.

More on that in the next post!

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