May 27, 2014

Quinault Rainforest Wildflowers

In my two days of wandering through this area, I took quite a few photos of the wildflowers, which I was told were at their peak, so I'm just going to post them all here and let you enjoy!

May 26, 2014

Quinault Rainforest

There’s a lot to see in Olympic National Park, but coming in from the southwest, I’ll be able to see the part I’m most interested in first, the rainforests.  These are “temperate” rainforest, rather than “tropical” rainforest, which we most often think of or see on TV.  The huge amount of rainfall this area gets each year (on the order of 12 feet!) combined with the cool climate produces the ideal environment for the massive conifers that so identify this part of the Pacific Northwest.
ALASKA 2014 Olympic Quinault Arrival
ALASKA 2014 Olympic Quinault Arrival-001As I reach and drive into the Quinault Lake area, right on the side of the entrance road is one of the largest living trees on earth.  It’s pretty obvious from the parking lot which one this baby is!  Wow what a sight.

Standing in front of it, I try desperately to stretch my arms to reach across it’s diameter, but the huge tree easily wins!
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ALASKA 2014 Olympic Quinault Arrival-002Starting right near the tree is a nice 1/2mile nature walk that gives one a great introduction to the rainforest.  All of the ferns & growth are so lush & huge!  Nothing here is wasted, even the dead trees support new life.  Every rotting example is topped by new growth in the form of vegetation or trees.

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ALASKA 2014 Olympic Quinault Arrival-009ALASKA 2014 Olympic Quinault Arrival-008The trees or trunks that host new tree growth are called appropriately “nurse” trees.  They provide lots of nutrients for the new tree to grow quickly with minimum competition from it’s surrounding siblings.
By the end of the evening, I find a nice spot in Willaby Campground, but have to nestle the truck carefully between the stand of firs in the spot!ALASKA 2014 Olympic Quinault Arrival-012
The spot sits on a high bluff above the lake, with nice views through the thick forest to enjoy a cold brew at the end of the day.
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May 25, 2014


It was getting late in the day when I realized this is still Memorial Day weekend!  So, better find a nice place to camp before all the room is taken.  I stopped at this place and a quick drive through, it looked packed, folks were either camped or setting up everywhere!

The office was across the highway.  A quick run over there confirmed that lucky me would have a nice space for the evening, on the "beach row" where there is a short path right behind my parking space that leads straight to this beautiful beach!

So, I explore this area a bit more the next morning and wow, what a beautiful beach area!
and interesting things discovered along it!

Walking down the beach a mile or so, I discover these huge red bluffs with big conifers growing right here on the edge of the ocean!  Nature is marvelous indeed.

Drive Into Washington

Drive Into WAI decided to drive from Portland over to Astoria OR and then up Hwy 101 along the Pacific coast to eventually end up at the southwest corner of Olympic N P ( this is the area where the rainforests start).  On the way out of Portland, the highway to Astoria follows the river (Columbia) and it’s many marshes along it’s route to the ocean.
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For lunch I stopped at this delightful preserve area, and was surprised at the beautiful flowers and extended marsh areas.
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After crossing into WA, I noticed some folks way out on the mud flats, and stopped to investigate.
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Drive Into WA-006Looking down below my feet, the answer was obvious – Razor Clams!

I detoured into the small village of Tokeland following a sign pointing to the remains of a famous historic hotel.  I never found the hotel, but the drive around the old fishing village was interesting, reminded me of Maine.
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A few more miles up the road (yes, northward) at Grayland Beach State Park, I get my first stop at the Pacific Ocean! What a sight!
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May 24, 2014

Clackamus River Steelhead

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Clackamus River FishingLet’s see, the local fly shops say “the bite is on” “that’s it – Clackamus River up towards Barton”  “all you need are these few flies”.  And of course the fish are always biting when you need to sell some flies and tackle.  So off I go  to find the River near Barton!Clackamus River Fishing-001Clackamus River Fishing-002
I will say it’s a beauty of a River, with some nice public access, so I stayed two nites and fished at several different spots on the River at least morning & evening without a single bite! Tough fishing in the waist deep strong currents and without any action!
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Clackamus River Fishing-005The folks in the area were nice, and the local guides floating the river pointed out that the steelhead bite is really in the fall.  They were all out for trout.  The highlight of the stay was spotting this merganser mom with her many chicks.

Oh well, nice stay along the river, at a free city park in Estacada, a quaint little town with a great “Harvest Market” near the park.