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Monday, November 3, 2014

Hikin' Lake Crescent

After getting rained out at Rialto Beach, Roger and I decided to head east towards Olympic National Park's interior, hoping to find drier weather.  We pointed our pickup full of wet camping gear towards Lake Crescent.


Dramatic clouds circle Lake Crescent

About 60 miles east of the Olympic Coast, Lake Crescent was a short journey.  Approaching our destination, US 101 hugged the lake's south shore.  Mountains rose up steeply from all sides, leaving little real estate for a proper roadway.  With a steep bank on one side, and a dropoff on the other, Roger gingerly navigated this narrow, twisty road, occasionally dodging log trucks barreling from the opposite direction. 


Our road barely hugged the lakeshore

At first, our plan appeared to be working.  As Lake Crescent emerged from the low-lying clouds, the windshield was dry.  Roger and I stopped at a couple scenic pullouts to get some photos of the gorgeous lakeshore and enjoy some dry air.

The sky cleared up for these fabulous reflections

Since I wasn't driving, I was able to take in the spectacular views - and direct Roger when a potential parking spot came up.  The further east we drove, the more blue sky began to peep from behind the clouds.  Things were looking up!


Autumn leaves on shore

Lake Crescent is a long, deep lake in the NW corner of Olympic National park.  It was formed by glaciers, which carved out a deep valley.  A huge landslide over 8,000 years ago dammed up a local creek, filling this valley with water.  At an official depth of 624 feet, it's the second deepest lake in Washington state.  Lack of nitrogen in the water prevents algae from growing, thus giving Lake Crescent it's brilliant blue color and crystal clear waters.


Canoe in Lake Crescent

Mostly cloudy skies prevented us from seeing this blue hue in all it's splendor.  But pulling in to the road for Lake Crescent Lodge, we glimpsed a re-created Indian canoe gliding across the lake's glassy waters.


Canoe close-up

Not something one sees everyday!


Lovely old growth forest

Parking at Lake Crescent Lodge's huge parking lot, I admired the lovely restored lodge building and tidy small cabins surrounding the grounds.  Originally planning to stay at a local campground for the night, the thought of sleeping in dry quarters was quite tempting.  Checking on availability, I was offered a lodge room with lake view for a reasonable price.  It didn't take any convincing for me, but I did have to work on Roger a little.  But the prior night's deluge had taken its toll, and he finally acquiesced.  Yahoo!  A comfortable night's sleep and chance to dry out all our wet gear.


Photo attempt by huge tree

But....check is time wasn't until 4 pm.  And we'd yet to even eat lunch.  After getting a rundown of nearby trails from the very helpful lady who booked our room, we decided to do some exploration. 


Moss everywhere!

Because the mountains surrounding Lake Crescent go straight up, most of the local hiking trails are extremely steep.  I'm not opposed to climbing, but I like to be rewarded with a view.  The cloudy weather didn't promise I'd get much of one today.  So Roger and I decided we'd take a short hike to Marymere Falls.


Marymere Falls

The path to Marymere Falls is short - only a mile in length.  But we started out in a spectacular old growth forest of giant cedar and fir trees.  Ferns grew prolifically, and everything was covered in a thick carpet of moss.  I had so much fun photographing the first half mile, it took awhile to reach the falls themselves.


Lake Crescent shore in the rain

We'd almost reached Marymere Falls when the sky decided to open up.  Rain fell in buckets.  Covering my camera best I could, we hastily climbed the final few yards to a viewpoint.  I tried to capture a few photos of the waterfall, but it was raining so hard, only one turned out.


Along the "Moments in Time" Nature trail

Then I packed my camera away, and Roger and I hiked quickly back to our truck to escape the torrent.  In the short return trip to the trailhead, my backpack got totally soaked.


Grandpa tree!

So now what did we do?  Rain was coming down in sheets.  It was only 1:00, and our room wasn't ready yet (we checked).  Roger and I explored the gift shop (which took a whopping 5 minutes), stood by the lodge fireplace to dry ourselves, and finally wandered out to the porch area, where we sat in a wicker lounge chair and watched raindrops dance on the lake.


We won't be hiking this trail!


But neither Roger nor I are much for sitting around.  After a long 15 minutes on the porch (feeling very much like old folks) we mutually decided to go hiking again.  It wasn't as if we'd never hiked in the rain before.  Besides, our jackets and boots were already wet.


Barnes Creek

So we pulled on all our raingear and I left my good camera in the truck (it was only a month old, and didn't want to drench it any more than I already had).  Instead I carried my inexpensive point and shoot.  Roger and I followed the soggy lakeshore, until we came upon a nature trail titled "Moments in Time."  Normally I don't bother with these hokey, touristy short trails, but we had time to kill, so why not?


Large spotted leaf

The nature trail was actually quite good.  Similar to our morning's trek to Marymere Falls, this path was full of more old, craggy huge trees, huge ferns and abundant moss.  We splashed through puddles, hugged wet trunks, and had a great time.


Huge trees lining Barnes Creek

We continued our trek past the turn off to Storm King Mountain (no views, and a sign warned of "grumpy" wasps so we passed).  Following a path that paralleled pretty Barnes Creek, we continued deep into more amazing old growth forest.


Large, orange lichen on this tree (this one's for Pam!)

Finally, a steep, muddy uphill grade forced us to turn around.  As my hubby and I headed back, the rain began to lighten.  But we'd enjoyed ourselves so much, I no longer cared about the moisture.  Besides, we had a nice, warm lodge room to dry out in.


How big?

So.....we still didn't escape the rain.  But even though our day hadn't turned out quite as planned, Roger and I made the best of things, and had a good time anyway.

Stick around for my next post, I'll give you a tour of the historic Lake Crescent Lodge, our home for the evening.


P.S.  Thanks everyone for your kind words on the post about my foot surgery.  So far things seem to be healing well, and I've experienced very little pain.  I'm doing everything I can to ensure a speedy recovery (and skiing by January!)

Sharing with:  Our World Tuesday. and Nature Notes.

32 comments:

  1. Absolutely breathtaking views here, Linda! Thanks so much for sharing, and I am glad you are on the road to recovery.

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  2. Linda, what troopers you two are! Love the photos, especially the moss! I have a thing for moss, lol! My youngest daughter is an avid hiker and she has huge bunions. I'm sure she will have to have surgery some day. Best of luck with your recovery!
    hugs,
    Jann

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  3. What a great part of the world - glad to hear that the foot is coming on well.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  4. What great views! I love seeing moss hanging on trees!

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  5. Mountains + west = rain. It seems to be much the same the world over. Such a variety of wonderful scenes though - well worth getting wet for. Wishing you a continued speedy recovery.

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  6. Beautiful place though I'm not sure I'd like to hike in the rain. You need to meet a looging truck in Wales where the road is only wide enough for one car let alone a truck

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  7. I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing your images. These here especially are great. There is so much beauty in a moody fall landscape. I love that lake too. The reflections are gorgeous.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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  8. Thanks for sharing your visit to this beautiful park. I love all the lush greenery and the huge trees.. I have been to the HOH Rainforest, but I do not remember it raining? Gorgeous photos! I am glad you are recovering well with no pain. Have a happy Tuesday!

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  9. Wow, Linda, these images are amazing! The clouds look like smoke. What a gorgeous area. How do you ever leave and go home? There are so many images to take here that the time must fly by. Wonderful captures!

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  10. Wow..I really enjoyed my trek through the trails and I didn't mind the rain at all..:) I can't wait to see what else I do on this great trip....as always...living an adventurous life through you!!! Keep it up!..:) You are the only exercise I get...lol

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  11. I love the hugeness of everything - the trees look gigantic. You did a good job of making the best out of your day.

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  12. The thought of soaking wet camping gear just made me shiver. Hope there was a good drying room at the lodge.

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  13. Wow - those views, and your photos, are glorious!

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  14. Wow! Gorgeous, gorgeous photos. The photos of the misty scenes are spectacular. I like that part of the world. Next time we're up there, I want to check out Crescent Lake. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Magnificent nature photography ~ Have a great time!

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

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  16. Spectacular shots! Sorry you got so wet. Take care.

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  17. fantastic images of the amazingly beautiful and huge trees. glad you had a great time in spite of the rain.

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  18. You were smart to leave your good camera behind in all that rain. I'm glad you have a pint and shoot for inclement weather as these photos are delightful.

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  19. Calling by from Our World Tuesday,stunning scenery, thanks for sharing.

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  20. Hi Linda..welcome to Nature Notes... Sorry you came in as I am moving blogs after 7 years. Nature Notes will be at naturenotesmeme.com and my personal blog is now at myramblingwoods.com.

    What a stunning area you live in. I have always wanted to come out west.. maybe.. some day... Michelle from Nature Notes meme

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  21. Glad you're healing well, Linda. These soggy hikes still looked interesting. All that rain would have made ME grumpy, too!

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  22. Oh. I used to live at Lake Crescent and I used to be able to run from the house onto those trails. Nostalgia! Thanks for posting. I do remember one 4 mile or so trail that I used to run one way and turn around for a total of 8 mi. Don't remember exactly where but it was flat. Went to the falls many a time. Oh i miss it now.

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  23. What a neat day and I love your flexibility. Can't wait to see pics of the lodge and am so thankful your foot is healing nicely. Been thinking about you a lot!

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  24. Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. This is one of the places my husband and I have talked of visiting for years! These pictures are wonderful! (I'm glad your foot is healing too...my mom has struggled with bunions her entire life (87 years young).) So far so good for me!

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  25. What an amazingly beautiful place, rain or not.

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  26. I'm glad your foot is healing up well. What a gorgeous hike, it looks a lot like the forests around here. I even spotted a Redwood in one of your shots. :)

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  27. Someday I'd like to visit here. I love waterfalls and that one seemed lovely. So much lush green there (from all the rain) Too bad you had so much but it does look like you made the best of things. Enjoyed all your photos.

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  28. All your beautiful photos of the Olympic Peninsula are bringing back great memories of the area (although we never made it to the coast). Love the reflection photo--sooo peaceful!
    Blessings,
    Aimee
    PS: Wishing you well with your post surgery recovery!

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  29. I am in awe of that stunning scenery. What a fantastic walk and your photos were a great pleasure to see. Thank you so much! Happy to hear you are recovering well after your foot surgery.

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  30. I love the mossy old forests and those trees are so huge! Just beautiful! I'm glad your foot is healing well.

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