(Events of Sunday May 3rd, blogged Sunday May 10th)
So, when I optimistically told everyone I would be staying at this beachfront campground in Klaloch for three days, and was myself anticipating a lot of downtime, I underestimated how far apart stuff is in this park, and how slowly you have to drive to get from place to place. I also sussed out that the coveted campsites right on the ocean were going to be hard to come by. Maybe I would have to think about moving around a bit. But for now I was enjoying where I was, so after a slow paced morning of lazing around camp, I decided to drive northwards a bit toward the Hoh Rainforest and check out an entirely different aspect of the park.
Not too far down the road I saw a sign for GIANT CEDAR, so we decided to pull over and have a look. It was indeed quite large.
As we ambled back to the campervannie, a wave of exhaustion over took me. All my energy and excitement from the day before was a distant memory. I sat in the parking area for a bit, taking advantage of a rare spot of cell service to catch up online and even blog a bit, and finally decided that the best course of action was to find a different campground, closer by, and settle in for a nice mid-day snooze. We drove a bit further and found a gorgeous, primeval looking spot just outside the rainforest area. After nearly strangling some innocent children who had the audacity to make cheerful noises while I was trying to check in, I found a site not too far from the Hoh River, and crashed big time.
By late afternoon I was feeling moderately refreshed and Annie was suitable fed up with the lack of activity, so it seemed an opportune time to stroll over and wander the nearby trials. One problem. No dogs allowed. So, throughout this trip I haven’t always strictly adhered to such draconian admonishments. You may judge if you wish. But I wanted to hike with my dog in a rain forest dadgummit! So, we waited until the tiny trailer Visitor Center had cleared out (it was right across the parking lot from the trail head) and made a ninja stealth foray into the jungle. . . where we were immediately met by two twenty something dudes who persisted in commenting on how old Annie was. They were dog lovers, and meant well, but what would either of us want to hear that for?! Annie gave them a death glare (OK, cheek nuzzle) and we moved on. The trail we chose is called “Hall of Mosses,” and you will soon see why.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to convey how GREEN everything: moss, ferns, swamp, leaves… everywhere you looked it was fifty shades of green. The late afternoon light filtered through it like stained glass so that we seemed to be almost swimming in it. And the air just reeked of freshness.
Speaking of swimming, all the water in here is from melting glaciers higher up in the park. And since the glaciers were formed before we started polluting the water system, all the water is crystal clear and extremely pure. Unfortunately, it’s our polluting the atmosphere and other questionable practices which are causing the glaciers to melt and provide us all this lovely clean water, but you win some you lose some glaciers. In the picture below, the green in the creek is algea/moss at the BOTTOM of the bed, there is at least four inches of water above it.
And everything wasn’t just green, it was tall and twisted and gnarled.
Seriously, don’t you just expect a dinosaur to come around the corner at any minute?
But no dinosaurs appeared, and, as I feared we had already pushed our luck, I decided not to explore a second trail, but instead to head back to camp. Only now I was WIDE AWAKE and full of energy after my afternoon nap break, so on a whim, I thought it might be fun to take Marigold for a spin (the fact that I was at an exciting point in my audio book, The Night Circus, played no part in the decision, I assure you. And lo and behold, as has so often happened on this trip when I nudge myself out of routine or the easy path (although not when I try to force myself through exhaustion), we encountered a bit of serendipity in the form of multiple elk happily dining on the side of the road, with not a care in the world to our approach (and excessive photography session).
These dudes (or dudettes) are known as Roosevelt Elk-their protection was one of the primary reasons this National Park was established, and they are named for Teddy Roosevelt who was in some regards the father of the National Park Service. They are also the biggest elk in the country. So that was cool. But I was still tired, and a little down, and a little lonely, so we headed back to camp and cuddled up and hoped for a cheerier tomorrow.