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Day 209 - Olympic National Park (Photo's Added)

We visited the rain forest at Lake Quinault, including the Worlds Largest Spruce. Later we saw a Big Cedar (possible one of the biggest) and Kalaloch and Ruby Beaches

snow 40 °F

It snowed fairly heavily several times today - but it is a spring snow, large, soft flakes and very wet. Most of the time, the roads were just wet - the snow wasn't sticking very much. Made for some beautiful scenery, however Mom really didn't care for driving through it.


However, snow or no snow - we are still on the trip so I decided to fit in a little sightseeing! I had been to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitors Center once before, so this time decided to take a look at the rain forest by Lake Quinault. It was a little unusual since it doesn't snow that often around here, especially this time of the year.


At the Visitors Center, I learned that this area is called the Lake Quinault Rain Forest, I guess each section has a separate name. However, the concept is the same - they are all part of the same Olympic Mountain ecosystem IMHO. I also learned that there are a couple of things really worth seeing in this section of the rain forest. Just up the road is what's billed as "The Worlds Largest Spruce Tree".


The park ranger even gave me directions to a shortcut so I could drive closer to the tree and not have to hike to it (which meant Mom could visit it also).


I suspect however that they may have to remeasure things. It looks like the top has broken off, perhaps in that nasty December storm? Just across the drive from the Spruce Tree were several resort cabins that were totally wrecked - fairly recently (December storm again?)


The Lake Quinault Loop Road was closed due to storm damage, but we drove up a little farther to Merriman Falls, which the ranger also recommended. These are very close to the road and quite nice.


Nearby are several tree's that do justice to the concept of a 'rain forest'. It may just be moss, but there is a lot of it.


A short way past the falls, we saw some lovely farms and snow scenery, so I took some more pictures before heading back to the main highway.


Having done about all we could in the Quinault Rain Forest (with the loop road being closed and all), we headed back to Hwy 101 North. On the way, we saw a sign for a turnout to a "Big Cedar". This wasn't billed as the worlds largest (although there are several 'largest' or 'biggest' trees in various sections of the Rain Forest). However, it was quite large.


Unlike Oregon and California, this coast highway doesn't actually follow the coast except for a short stretch of about 20 miles or so. Along that stretch however are some pretty spectacular sights. First we came to Kalaloch State Park. This is from the overlook by the Lodge at the south end, which has a wetlands area.


Just past this are long stretches of flat beach, and campsites just above the beach. This is a shot from one of the campsites. The Propane Heater in the RV isn't lighting so will just use RV parks for the next couple of nights (where we can plug in and use electric heat), otherwise I would have preferred to just stay here.


Here is another shot of the beach at Kalaloch.


A little farther north we had a nice view of Destruction Island and it's Lighthouse. You can't get to it, so I had to just settle for a picture.


And just north of that is my favorite beach ever - Ruby Beach. There's just something about the river, haystacks and scenery here, although my pictures today weren't as spectacular as some I've taken in the past. The weather may be a factor (as well as time of day perhaps?)


In fact, I like Ruby Beach so much, I'll post two pic's of it.


From here we drove on to Forks, WA, where we found an RV park just north of Forks. I spent too long in the Rain Forest and at Ruby Beach to make it to Cape Flattery today afterall (much to Mom's dismay).


Miles Driven - 129, Cumulative - 19,713
Camped at RV Park about 10 miles north of Forks.

Provisions: Gas $42.36 for 11.771 gallons at 129,595

Posted by jl98584 22:55 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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It snowed here too. You should hae gotten to Cape Flattery by now (Sat noon) I love the wetlands on the Makah reservation with all the horses. If you had driven south instead of toward the Cape, you would have seen an island. It is of limits to non-Makah people, as it is wher they go when they die. I shouldn't take more than a day more to get home. Welcome home!

by drque

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