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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Travelogue: Olympic National Park

Lake Crescent and Marymere Falls

It was the middle of April, rain fell as we made our way to Marymere Falls. Fir, cedar and hemlock trees greeted us by the side of the dirt trail, a roundtrip of about 1.5 miles. Raindrops beaded on our foreheads and spray-painted a grin on my face.

First, we thought of taking shelter in the tunnel, but the winds gave us chills.  We decided to keep moving to stay warm. Puddles gathered on the path and we navigated those after performing a series of complex mathematical calculations. We were going to finish walking the trail even if it meant getting wet to the bone. But I also worried about the cameras. They might not have the constitution or the will.

Soon, the rain stopped but the sky was still cloudy. One might wonder if there is ever a sunny weekend in this place. I didn't mind really. I felt the need to experience the rainforests in their elements. 140-170 inches of precipitation annually, we were bound to chance upon a few inches. 

The last leg of the trail had a short, steep ascent before we were rewarded a full view of the falls. We kissed to congratulate ourselves. The little celebrations of life.

Mount Storm King

There is a Native American legend about the creation of Lake Crescent: Upset with the fights between the Klallam and the Quileute tribes, the mountain spirit hurled a gigantic boulder killing all the warriors. It was so huge that it dammed the river and the water backed up, forming the lake. Many geologists believe that there was a landslide that could account for the myth.

Domain Madeline

The host at our Bed and Breakfast in Port Angeles was gracious, and the suite exceeded all expectations. All our needs were anticipated and taken care of in advance; years of experience and thoughtfulness makes it possible. The blow dryer blew the bathroom fuse, but it was promptly attended to by the staff. In fact, we think we found ourselves a new haunt. The guest book had thank you notes from people who had been visiting for years. It was easy to understand why. A restful place where you can spend your days reading books from the private library or in the bedroom overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

We even caught a rainbow after a short shower on our first day. On a clear day, the coast of Canada was visible across the water. The proximity posed a new challenge - our cell phones caught signal from Canada and went on roaming mode. We soon discovered that we rather liked being inaccessible to the world. Just the two of us.

After the first day of hike, a hot shower, and some warm food later, we lit up the fireplace and fell asleep as soon as we slid under the comforter.

Hoh National Forest

On our second day of stay, we had the most delicious crab cakes for breakfast. The four-course breakfast was spoiling me. The new aquaponics greenhouse in the premises was opening for public the following weekend. The host talked passionately about micro-farming using a sustainable combination of fish cultivation and hydroponic gardening, the misuse of GMO and climate change.

We had planned to go to Hoh National Forest, a two hours drive from Port Angeles. We crossed Forks on our way. The town serves as a backdrop for the Twilight series and celebrates the birth week of Bella on the weekend closest to September 13 each year. There was no Edward or Jacob spotting, but I noticed a movie poster on a shop. 

There are the three trails near the visitor centre- Hall of Mosses, Spruce Nature Trail and the Hoh River Trail. Tapestries of moss drape the forest cathedrals. Lichens, sword ferns, shrubs and trees all grow in the primitive ocean forest in a cohesive community. The crickets and birds add to the symphony of the woods. If you listen hard enough, you can almost hear the trees talk. Everywhere you look, Mother Nature has carefully placed an artifact. You could lose yourself in the sights and sounds. Some primeval spirit took over my existence, and I walked through the forest led by it.

Hurricane Ridge was closed due to snow, and we lost track of time on our hikes, so we missed out on the beaches where starfish, sea urchins and anemones are plenty. But a beautiful place like this deserves more than a mere acquaintance. It deserves dedicated affection. We promised to be back soon.


Ritwik said...

Beautiful writing. :)

Aparna Kar said...

Thank you 😊