Olympic National Park – Friday

Friday, as I drove north and then east along Highway 101 towards Port Angeles, Washington, I went in the westernmost north entrance of the Park.  This road would end at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.  There are two western entrance to the Park much further south which lead to the Quinault and Hoh Rain Forests respectively, but I did not go to either of them.  I had been to the Hoh Rain Forest when I visited Seattle 20 years ago and had no particular desire to return there.  I had driven up to Quinault Lake, and the Lodge which is on the entrance road, earlier in the week when I was staying in Hoquiam but it was an overcast day and the few pictures I took weren’t blogworthy.

My first stop when I went in the Sol Duc entrance on Friday was at the Salmon Cascades.  This is a spot along the Sol Duc River where, at the right time of year, one can watch the salmon jumping over the rock “ladders” as they swim upstream to spawn.  Of course this wasn’t the right time of year so all I could see was the river and a portion of the falls, but the water was incredibly clear and it was a very pleasant place to spend some time.

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Next I headed deeper into the Park to visit the Hot Springs Resort.  A huge hotel and Spa first opened here in 1912 and attracted visitors from far away places.

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Unfortunately, much of that building burned only four years later.  A much smaller resort opened in 1920 and operated until a problem developed with the water source and it was forced to close.  The modern facility which exists today opened in 1980.  In includes a (much smaller) main building with a restaurant and gift shop, and there are many cabins on the property which may be rented, as well as a campground.

Next I drove about two miles further to the trailhead where the road ended and walked down to see the Sol Duc waterfall, which was .8 miles away.  Along the way I saw this tree base which I found interesting:

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I’m not quite sure why it grew that way, but there it is.

I finally made it to the falls, which were definitely worth the walk:

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On the way back to the car I spotted a small Douglas’ Squirrel, like the one I had seen briefly in Oregon.  You can see the progress it was making on what it was eating by the outer casing which was discarded on the rock it was sitting on.

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