Day Trips: Lake Quinault Lodge; Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail and Loop Trail
First things first.
It rained on and off all night, at times pretty hard (which can be very loud on the roof of a travel trailer!), but it stopped as we woke up, so I took my cup of coffee down to the river. It was cool and cloudy, but still absolutely gorgeous. The water was clear and fairly calm; the only sound was that of a few fish jumping. A very peaceful way to wake up, if you ask me.
We continued to have a nice slow morning, enjoying our coffee and breakfast, but around 11:00 we decided it was time to go check out the sights. Rod was busy editing, so unfortunately he stayed behind while we headed over to Lake Quinault Lodge.
This is quite a rain gauge. 15 feet in one year!
Lake Quinault Lodge was built in 1926 in two months! It's one of those grand, old lodges that brings to mind vacation retreats and old money, the kind of resorts that are shown in movies like Somewhere in Time and Dirty Dancing. The view of the lake and surrounding mountains is quite spectacular, especially with the clouds and mist hovering over the trees. We decided to have lunch in the lodge and enjoyed the beautiful view from our table. I had a delicious cup of clam chowder and a pretty decent plate of fish & chips. After our leisurely lunch (the service was a tad bit slow...), we headed out for a walk in the Quinault Rain Forest.
The trails are well-marked and we found that we pretty much had one to ourselves as we headed down toward the path along the beach. The woods are filled with large ferns and the trees were dripping with moss. Lots of moss. We came across an enormous Douglas Fir that is estimated to be 400 years old.
We knew there were waterfalls further east along South Shore Road, but we weren't expecting to see this small waterfall, which is part of Willaby Creek, on our walk on the Quinault Loop Trail. It was lovely to relax for a little while, watching and listening to the water flow by with its rhythmic, burbling song.
Eventually, we made our way along the shoreline where the trail continues east toward the Lodge and Ranger Station. The sun drifted in and out from behind the puffy, white clouds, casting shadows over the water and mountains, creating an ever-changing picture. I could easily have sat on a dock, gazing out on the water and sky for the remainder of the day.
It wouldn't be a hike in the Pacific Northwest without the ubiquitous banana slug.
Honestly, it felt like we were on the edge of an Alpine lake. Those mountains and water took my breath away!
We came across a lot of fallen trees, but this particular log caught my eye and it seemed to beg to be touched. It was so smooth, as though someone had spent a good deal of time sanding away all the rough edges. Did the rain do it? Time, sun and water? It also reminded me a bit of an elephant's head and trunk. Do you see his eye?
I love the way the dew drips from the moss, dangling like jewels on a thin strand of lace. This temperate rain forest gets an average of 12 feet of rain per year!
We enjoyed our hike, but it was time to head back to camp and start thinking about drinks and dinner. Rod and I took a stroll down to the river before the rain returned.
(photo credit: Mike Jackson)
Click on the photos for a larger view of the image.