After exploring Lake Crescent on the day we arrived, the next day we made our way over to the beaches & coastline the Olympic Peninsula is known for. There are many of these treasures, but we picked 2 of the most recognized ….Rialto & Ruby Beach. It didn’t hurt that these were also the easiest when it came to traversing our way to them. In my never ending search for anything driftwood related, I’ve been particularly fascinated with the amount & size of the logs & root systems that find their way to the shores of the Northwest coast. These trees are actually known as drift logs & are found as far as the eye can see & in some places are stacked like cord wood. Western red cedar, Douglas fir & Sitka spruce are the signature trees of this temperate rain forest & these monsters make their to the beach when huge winter storms cause rivers that flow through the forest to flood and trees on the edge can topple in. After a time the bark will rot away, the wood will become smooth & turn to a silver gray patina. The majority of the driftwood was certainly nothing I could use for my furniture but it was definitely a treat for the eyes.
Also of particular interest were these giant rock formations known as sea stacks. As I came to find out sea stacks are blocks of erosion resistant rock isolated from the land by the sea. They began as part of a headland or sea cliff but relentless pounding by the waves eroded the softer, weaker parts of the rock first, leaving harder, more resistant rock behind. This would also explain the trees that continue to flourish on the larger sea stacks. Obviously, there has been quite a bit of erosion over a long time period as some are hundreds of yards offshore.
Reluctantly it was time to leave, but I did have to stop at this roadside display on our way back to the lodge. For a mere $1900 I could have this magnificent root system to display in the yard of my shop.
Although we didn’t have time to visit all that Olympic is known for, we did manage to make our way up to Hurricane Ridge (named after the hurricane like winds that occasionally blow through). At the top, most of the trails were closed due to snow which I thought made it more interesting.
Next…..catching the train to Vancouver to board the m/s Nordham departing for Alaska.