|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.