Sep 22, 2014

Mount Rainier

We visited Mount Rainier for just one day. It's a sin to take only one day for a national park visit, but we had to be on our way. We took the Stevens Canyon entrance, stopped by the visitor's center, and jumped on a trail to Silver Falls.

A glimpse from downstream

Looking further downstream - this impressive river canyon is looking pretty dinky in the pictures. You gotta see it for yourself!

The visitor's center was a Mission 66 project. The program is often criticized for not holding true to the National Park mission and aesthetic (tough to beat that CCC parkitecture), but I was pretty in love with this mid-century/NPS/nature center mashup.

Looking back after leaving the park

On the road again...

Riding up top with Bowie

More columnar jointing! (remember Devil's Postpile?) This all used to be LAVA

We are getting very good at recognizing landforms, understanding what they're made of, and how they got there. It's pretty thrilling to have the ability to read a landscape.

Upper Left

Oh boy, I'm getting very behind on blogging our travels. I hate to gloss over so much (though it's a constant reality of fulltime travel) but I'll just say that we love Washington. We stayed on the edge of town but got to spend a good amount of time in Port Angeles throughout our visit to Olymic NP. And thanks to the phenomenal Olympic Discovery Trail, we were able to easily explore by bike. Washington is full of great local business (breweries, wineries, and MOSS - which is now selling my handmade jewelry!), bike/hiking trails, nature reserves and restored wilderness areas. We were busy!

Canada through the mist

We also got to meet up with my friend Denise and her husband in Seattle. We had a great time catching up, touring the city, and getting the hang of travel by ferry.

Bench/shrine for Kurt Cobain

Pike Place Farmer's Market has been continuously operating since 1907

Seattle has the weirdest history ("let's built a city on this floodplain" - hilarity ensues)
These are "skylights" in the sidewalk

And here is the underground view! Denise and Kyung treated us to some fun tours, and we got a pretty good intro to the culture and history of Seattle.

We visited the Dungeness Spit, but were too cold and tired that day to hike the whole thing before high tide (the spit is 5.5 miles long!). We just explored the various driftwood shelters, stone cairns, and did some bird watching - bald eagles!

We hiked to Sol Duc Falls and up along the River Trail.

Art hike! Webster's Woods in Port Angeles is a pretty special place.

Lake Crescent

Next: More mountains and volcanoes

Sep 16, 2014

Second Beach - Olympic National Park

This place is incredible. I took so many pictures - couldn't help myself. We spent the day walking up and down the beach, scouting out perfect picnic spots, exploring sea caves and inspecting tidal pools. 

It was such a beautiful day, one for the books. 

picnic spot #1

Overexposed photo...but he's just so handsome




Again, wat?

picnic spot #2

snail swirls

starfish party

So hard to leave. I didn't want to leave. We say that about a lot of places, but the Pacific Northwest is...just made for us...or we were made for it... Either way, we'll be back.

Sep 15, 2014

The Hoh Rainforest - Olympic National Park

The Hoh Rainforest is a temperate rainforest in Olympic National Park. I was really excited to visit because I had written a report on the Hoh Rainforest when I was in 6th (7th?) grade. The report was actually supposed to be about the Hoh Indian Tribe, but between the library and the young internet, I found next to NO information whatsoever on the instead I mostly just talked about their environment, the Hoh Rainforest. It was neat to finally see, smell, experience something that was just a far-away concept to me ever since my middle school days. Honestly, we were bummed that it was a glorious, sun-shiny day. I wanted rain! Or at least some clouds. Everything seemed a little bit thirsty, but as the sun machine came down, things got all nice and cool and a lot more mystic. 

We hiked to 5 Mile Island, and a quick jaunt through the Hall of Mosses, but first stop - the visitor center. These nature center/bookstore/museums are the best. I always go a little (a lot) crazy over the dioramas, graphic design and illustrations.


Me with the trees

Drippy moss curtains

The Hoh River is a gorgeous milky blue. I've never seen a river this color before.

5 MI. IS.
love these arrowheads

Everything grows incredibly fast. As soon as a tree falls, it's overtaken with moss and lichens and other small trees, providing nutrients to the young plants. These are called nurse logs. Once the new trees' roots reach around either side of the nurse log, and into the ground, they really take off growing. The nurse log eventually decays, leaving behind a row of trees that are about the same age, and typically in some crazy magic-doorway shape. It's very cool to understand, and see each stage of this process.

A little forest on a nurse log

Super dense growth, another nurse log

Ferns everywhere

A lot of this going on. You can't sit still for too long, or something will start growing on you... Our friend Tracy from Oregon says everything is so mossy, moist, and grows so fast, some people find little trees growing on their cars!

Hey slug, you're gross!

Mossy crescent moon log

Along the trail

 I don't know what this is. Fungi of sorts?

Here be wizards