Road Trip: Olympic National Park

September 15, 2016

“Our national parks are blood.  They are more than scenery, they are portals and thresholds of wonder. . . Whenever I go to a national park, I meet the miraculous.”
— Terry Tempest Williams, The Hour of Land

We ascended the road to Hurricane Ridge in a cloud.

We ascended the road to Hurricane Ridge in a cloud.

“What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness?  Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.”
— G. M. Hopkins, from “Inversnaid”

Sign at the Hurricane Ridge Visitors' Center

Sign at the Hurricane Ridge Visitors’ Center

We began our tour of the national parks with a 3-day loop drive around Olympic National Park in Washington State.  This is a most amazing park because of the diversity of its landscapes — from snow-capped mountains to temperate rain forests to Pacific ocean beaches.

Our first destination was Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains.  Clouds had settled at the higher elevations.  There was little opportunity for sightseeing, as we looked out on nothing but white!

Our view of the Olympic peaks was a bust!

Our view of the Olympic peaks was a bust!

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This wet and gloomy weather is one of the hallmarks of our Pacific Northwest.  When you vacation here, you have to surrender to the elements.  We soldiered on to our next destination, the Hoh Rain Forest, thinking that rain in a rain forest might make a more authentic experience.  But, of course, it was not raining when we got there!

Still, the effects of rain were evident everywhere — moss-drapped trees, green green streams, nurse logs nourishing new growth, filtered light.  We walked the Hall of Mosses Trail and the Spruce Loop Trail.  The tall trees were awesome.

Driving into the Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park

Driving into the Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park

Tall, tall trees

Tall, tall trees

Along the Hall of Mosses Trail

Along the Hall of Mosses Trail

Nurse log, a fallen tree that nourishes new, young trees

Nurse log, a fallen tree that nourishes new, young trees

Green stream bed

Green stream bed

Spruce Loop Trail

Spruce Loop Trail

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way
by Mary Oliver, from Felicity

If you’re John Muir you want trees to
live among.  If you’re Emily, a garden
will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.

When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

Anything that touches.

God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable.  But holiness is visible,
entirely.

Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.

In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.

All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.

To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.

For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest.  What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!

Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.

The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Road Trip: Olympic National Park”

  1. selah Says:

    love these photos. We camped in the park years ago and you have brought back the memory.

  2. Adrienne Massel Says:

    I can feel the cool dampness all the way over here


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