Sunday, June 1, 2014

Day Three Olympic National Park

May 31. 2014
After the beautiful clear and sunny day yesterday we woke to cloud cover and mist over the ocean today.  But NO RAIN – we have been so lucky so far I am almost afraid to say that!  The forecast was for partly cloudy today so we shall see.
Rocks visible at low tide
 We walked over to the Lodge for breakfast and ordered buttermilk sourdough pancakes – a short stack (they were huge) – and an order of bacon to split.  They looked wonderful but were very tough and dense.  Not light fluffy at all – maybe the sourdough?  We should have split the pancakes too or had something else!

They Look Good don't they?
 It was low tide so we went down to explore the tidal pools and they were certainly interesting. Most colorful were the anemone and the starfish.  There were also many tiny whelks and other varieties of shells living among the mussels on the huge rocks.  Most of the rocks we explored are underwater except at low tide. There are also many small rocks that have been polished by the sea.  We collected a few and Ben got some driftwood – small pieces of course – space at a premium. 

Tidal Pool - Starfish and Urchins

Cabins from the beach 

As the tide began to come in we retreated back to the cabin and got ready for a trip south to a second rain forest – Quinault. We stopped along the way at a Trading Post/Gas Station on an Indian Reservation and bought a few things to round out our lunch leftovers from yesterday and to pick up something for breakfast tomorrow.  Wish I had thought to get some things at the store in Forks yesterday as they had a good bakery.  Oh, well – found some packaged goods that are bound to be better than the pancakes!

A word about this area. It is very remote.  We are about 45 miles from Forks a small town and about 80 miles from Port Angeles a medium size town.  There are 3 or 4 small Indian reservations along the western (ocean) side of the Olympic Peninsula. From what people say it is just as remote on south – we noticed 80 miles to a town probably about the size of Forks. There has been no cell coverage to speak of – occasionally I see 1 bar when I turn on the phone to check but then it will be gone…so definitely spotty. We have turned off our phones since they just search and search for no coverage. The lodge here has pay phones for your use and phone cards like we used to use for long distance to purchase.  I think the Lodge here and the one at Sul Doc must have internet connections for business but there is nothing available for the visitors. And there are no places to stay except in the town of Forks and on one Indian Reservation that we will visit later that is near Forks.

About 45 minutes south and east was the second rain forest.  The Ranger at Hoh told us it was somewhat different because they do not have the strong elk population to keep the undergrowth under control.  We were unable to get the passport stamp due to the ranger being “on patrol” - so the sign said.  He/she did return in a vehicle while we were eating lunch but never did open the Ranger Station and we were there a total of 2 hours. 
Ranger Station - fantastic setting

We shared a picnic table with a couple from Belgium who were enjoying a visit here in Washington and Oregon for a month. While we were eating lunch the sun came out to brighten up the day.
The half mile trail was different from the one yesterday.  There was a creek that meandered through the area and there was lots more undergrowth.  Where there was primarily ferns in Hoh; here there were also numerous wildflowers. We saw so many that were similar to what we have at home – oxalis, houstonia (bluets), foam flower, saxifrage (coral bells), and buttercups.  There were huge groups of skunk cabbage that had just finished blooming.  There were also many more epiphidic (grow on trees) ferns on the moss covered trees.  Many of the trees here were maple and birch where nearly all were evergreens in Hoh.  Both were interesting hikes with Hoh probably being our favorite.

We headed back towards Kalaloch and walked around a bit, made a dinner reservation, and enjoyed just sitting in our chairs relaxing looking out over the Pacific.  The tide was high at 3:30 and all the rocks we explored this morning were underwater.

Dinner was interesting and good but not great.  Ben had Scallops and Jane had Seafood Manicotti.  Spent some time looking around the gift shop to find something to purchase – nothing really of much interest.  T-shirts, earrings, drinking glasses, indian canoes or organic brand of shampoo etc.  Can’t say much for their merchandise selection. However they have a fantastic gardener!  Below is one of numerous hanging baskets that are everywhere.

Soon after we returned to our cabin it began to rain so we turned on the heat and settled in for reading and blog writing! Good thing I got some photos of the sunset last night – there will be no sunset tonight!

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