Inger and Jeff Latreille
Rainforests and Waterfalls
~Monday, October 10, 2022~
Woke up to our neighbor, bucket washing his medium sized Class A . If I made him a hearty breakfast, maybe he’d extend his talents over to our rig?
Now that the AQI at Mt. Rainier has lowered to 90, we’re going to give it a shot to head on over there tomorrow. To back up the information, we also checked the Rainier webcam to be double sure the mountain was at least visible. It was! So it looks like we’re in for a 6-hour drive tomorrow with a stay of about 4 days. From there we’re going to head southwest to the ever intriguing Mount St. Helens. Ever since my parents paid the area a visit several years after its 1980 eruption, fascinated by what they learned, I have been wanting to see this iconic volcano for myself.
With our plans firmed up for the next week or so, it was time to continue our exploration of where we are now……the Olympic Peninsula. First, a stop in Forks for propane (nice to see more reasonable prices since our summer sticker shock in Alaska/Canada). We had a very nice young man help us, all while hearing about his upcoming plans in joining the police academy. No matter what he ends up doing, this 23-year old has a bright future. Of course being Ace Hardware, Jeff couldn’t help but be impressed with the inventory and the helpful, mostly older staff, even looking at it from an employee’s point of view, as he said, “That sure would be a great place to work for a retired guy!” Who knows….when we plant our new roots, you just might find my hubby working at one of those cool places, being the handy, resourceful man that he is.
On the drive to Sol Duc Falls, we found the Sol Duc Falls Campground which had potable water and trash bins (a luxury when your boondocking spot doesn’t have trash services). With one day remaining, we only filled (4) 5-gallon containers to get us through. Our collapsible plastic containers are dwindling in number with their heavy use. Despite that, they are well worth their weight in gold! We’ll reorder more once we’re in California to accept deliveries.
Our entrance to Sol Duc Falls went much smoother than a few days ago when trying to get into the Hoh Rain Forest. No power outages this time. But there was a noticeable rotten egg smell coming from the nearby hot spring area which we passed in getting to the Falls trailhead. Once we on the trail,
we were immediately relaxed by the old-growth forest in its many shades of green and the canopy offering a more shaded environment. To our left, we spotted a small bluff with a modest, old structure on it known as the Canyon Creek Shelter. To enhance the safety of park visitors, this shelter was built by the CCC during the summer/fall of 1939, one year after the establishment of Olympic National Park. I know if we were in an emergency situation and needed protection from a storm or what have you, this would be the place I’d want to be, looking good enough to inhabit even. The only thing that looked out of shape was the roof. Standing inside made a beautiful frame when looking out into the tall columns of trees surrounded by the dense forest floor below. The trail, as we continued on, was a short and easy one….only .8 miles to receive such an amazing gift at the end. Usually you have to work really hard to get to waterfalls like these.
Prior to coming into view, you can hear the rumble of the 50-foot falls. Unlike other falls on the Peninsula, you view this one from above, on the brink as it falls into the slot canyon below. Having many vantage points in taking in its uniqueness made it that more intriguing. The thing that makes this waterfall so special is that it splits into 4 channels, depending on the amount of water flowing through it. We’re so happy we made the 1-hour and 20-minute drive to see it.
From there, we continued about 10 miles east on Hwy. 101 to get to Lake Crescent, at the foot of the northern foothills of the Olympic Mountains. This is a very popular spot for trout fishermen and a home for the Lake Crescent Lodge, a popular spot for locals and out-of-towners. The lodge was built in 1915, tucked in amongst hemlocks, spruce and cedar trees, right on the edge of Lake Crescent. The afternoon winds were making the lake quite choppy, leaving the paddle boards and kayaks idle for the time being. But the lodge was bustling with guests enjoying their libations in the large, lovely glassed-in porch while
watching the sun drop out of view. The warm, rustic interior with its beautiful lake views, reminded me a little of the Yellowpoint Lodge on Vancouver Island we vacationed at years ago. Once we stepped into the lodge’s warm, inviting lobby I couldn’t help but ask the concierge for a rate sheet.
Since we prefer a cottage vibe to the hotel version, we were more interested in those rates……mid $300/night range, and they do come with a fireplace! The lodge rooms start at $161/night. With the warmth of the fireplace in their cozy lobby and a huge taxidermied Roosevelt Elk staring down at us, we enjoyed a glass of wine and a beer, reminiscing about our day. We had plans to hike the short Marymere Falls Trail right near the lodge, but needed to get back to our Sadie girl, with a stop still remaining in Forks to get a few groceries. Driving back in the dark on windy roads in such a forested setting where the deer and elk play, was not quite the scenario I had planned. It just meant I had to concentrate that much more to avoid a potential collision with those beautiful creatures. Arriving at our campsite safely, the moon was still showing off its beauty for a third night in a row, illuminating the playful river in front of us. It looks like there were a few departures today with no one parked behind us which we’ll allow us an even easier time in getting out of our rocky, sandy setting tomorrow.