Olympic National Park, WA: Exploring the Quinault

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Quinault Rain Forest Olympic National Park
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Washington
Friday, January 25, 2013

My friends MG & Jennifer introduced me to the Pacific Northwest in 2008 and I couldn't stop thinking about it since. A word that comes to mind associated with this part of the country is "dense". A concentrated density exits for the number of national and state parks around the major cities, for the bodies of water and islands, and for the rolling hills and countless mountain peaks. The mighty presence of these snow capped creatures punctuate the landscape and thrust the ground into the sky as if Earth has offered the finest piece of herself to the Heavens. Their incredible height and overbearing size make them the sentinels of the Cascade Mountain Range that people have come to identify with ease as Adams, Baker, Hood, Rainier, and St. Helens.

Near the Olympic National Park, I returned to Ruby Beach along Route 101 where MG and Jen took me in October 2008. It looked different this time. The strong currents of the Cedar Creek managed to chart its course through the soft gray sand and split the beach in multiple fractures. I could not venture far without being knee-deep in the cold winter flow. I instead climbed a prominent sea stack where MG had gotten drenched in the Pacific water as she approached a window-like hole to look through; what an awesome Kodak moment! I remember she decided then to go for a cold swim as Jen and I looked on with a tincture of nervous energy. At the approximate location where she had swum, the ocean water had receded nearly a thousand feet from the shore. The waves were smaller, clearer, and more shallow.  This recession made it possible for me to walk to the other side of the sea stack. It looked more dramatic. With a creative imagination, I pointed out to Thinh that it looked a lot like a gigantic silver-back gorilla on patrol, guarding his beach from perhaps a hostile invader. We spent a good amount of time there relaxing, exploring, and improving on our skills in landscape photo composition. A lady in her 60s left her three brindle Deutscher Boxers with her husband in a thick winter coat and approached to greet us; she offered to take our group photo before moving southward towards the setting sun. I followed them with my lens and took a banner shot of their silhouette.

I came to the Pacific Northwest for a number of reasons among them was to continue my exploration of the rain forests, the Hoh and the Quinault. The latter hosts the world's largest cedar and spruce trees that have been standing for a thousand years. The dense biodiversity per square foot is incredible as colorful species compete to survive. I found a brown baby slug smaller than a grain of rice perched atop a tiny mushroom that grew out of a downed log at the foot of the world's largest spruce tree. I burrowed deep inside a decayed tree stump to photograph wild mushrooms and wondered how many generations are left before the stump collapses. The Olympic Peninsula is a perfect playground to get lost in...at least for those who are interested in life science.


Knight, at the Quinault Rain Forest 

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