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Random thoughts and pictures from our travels in a LazyDaze motorhome.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rialto Beach, WA

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We moved out of South Beach and headed for Mora Campground near Forks, WA. Mora is a very nice campground in Olympic NP, but it is in a mature rainforest. So, not a lot of sun. You are not far from the ocean. This is Rialto Beach.

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Getting a sunny day or a foggy day is the luck of the draw. Note the low cloud bank/fog not far away.

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Some sea creature creates these holes. There is an explanation!

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The water is not too cold, but it’s not warm either.

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Those sea stacks used to be connected to land. The ocean undercuts the rock and eventually it separates. That hole to the right is how the process evolves.

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Rialto Beach is just north of La Push. Here you see a portion of La Push’s seawall. There are other beaches south of La Push, but you have to travel to each individually.

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Reminds me of a Star Wars creature. There is a face in there somewhere, isn’t there?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hoh River Trail

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This is the view outside the Kalaloch Lodge just up the road from South Beach. We had just finished a nice breakfast with our friends before heading to the world famous Hoh River Trail.

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Right off the bat, size matters here.

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This is the base of the above Sitka Spruce.

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If you are familiar with aviation, Sitka Spruce was and still is an important tree. They make very strong wings when most airplanes used to be made out of wood. Plenty of homebuilders of aircraft still use Sitka Spruce wood, when you can get it.

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As with the Quinault area rainforest, this one is no different.

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The Hoh River, with the trail right next to it. The water is milky in appearance due to glacier melt. It would be a great river to kayak, but you have to put up with what you see downstream, a tree in the river.

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Close to the river, dampled sunlight occurs. The trail is about 15 miles long. The first 13 or so is relatively flat. Imagine hiking this during a downpour. Rainfall is measured in feet.

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Ferns and trees, trees and ferns.

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If you lie on the ground long enough, you end up covered in moss. Heck, you can stand up and get covered in moss!

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The easiest way to travel through the park is via the rivers. Hence the trails follow the rivers. Back in the very late 1800s, a exploring party left the northern end of the peninsula and traveled to Quinault Lake. It took the party 6 months and near death before reaching their destination. Now you can hike in 4-5 days.

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A nice end to a hoh-hoh time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ruby Beach, OR

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After looking at trees all day, we were ready for some beach action. Our friends discovered that a ranger-lead hike of the tide pools at Ruby Beach several miles up the road would occur the next day. Tide pooling is a popular pass time, so it pays to know what you are doing, since it is so easy to destroy habitat. We arrived by 8 AM and headed for the beach just as sunshine was reaching the near shoreline.

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There are several zones of activity in tide pools, the lowest zone, mid zone, high, and the splash zone. These squishy creatures inhabit the mid zone. Sea stars and anemones. You can see a few anemones are open while others are closed. Sea stars are essentially the predators.

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These are muscles. They inhibit the high zone. They also like to take over as much area as possible. So they are expansionists. Barnacles inhabit the high and splash zones as well.

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I believe these are snails. Notice the Sea Star nearby. He is probably thinking lunch.

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An anemone that is open. They sift the water for food and can sting whatever comes by. DO NOT touch one of these creatures. You will regret it.

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More squishy anemones of various sizes.

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Tide pooling requires low tide. The difference between high and low tide is 6-8 feet!

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We revisited Ruby Beach, but at higher tide. Here you can see water reaching the rock face of the beach.

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During the tide pool session, we were nearly to the distance rock in the fog on the right. You can see the splash zone on the near rock covered in barnacles and some muscles.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quinault Rain Forest

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We left the Quinault Casino (you can stay at casinos free in an RV) after the weekend and drove north to South Beach Campground in the southwest corner of Olympic National Park. South Beach is essentially a ledge of land between Highway 101 and the Pacific shoreline. The next day,  we took a road trip to the Quinault Rainforest and Lake. The lake and portions of the southern side are owned by the Quinault tribe. Here Carla is chatting with our eldest daughter as I climbed the stairs to view a huge cedar tree. Amazing where you can get cell service.

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The tree was dead. What a bummer, but it was still huge.

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You can walk inside and look up! The wood is like concrete.

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Its been topped and someday, it too will become a nurse tree.

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These are fungi. The name has been misplaced in my brain.

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This is a nurse tree. It was a huge Western RedCedar. That trunk is probably 5 feet in diameter. Yes, those are small trees growing out of the fallen trunk.

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The loop around the lake is about 30 miles long with the north side mostly in moderate to heavy forest. With abundant rainfall, moss is everywhere. It was in the low 80s for the drive, so above normal temperatures.

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If it was pouring rain, this would be a good place to see a velociraptor stick her head up.

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After crossing the Quinault River to the south side, the view opens up. You are looking upstream. This would be a super river to kayak. You can see the bottom anywhere.

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This is a big honkin’ Sitka Spruce. Easily 150 feet tall.

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Near the end of the loop are several hikes that explore the rainforest near the lake. The northern side was noticeably drier versus this side. Moss grows on everything. Can you imagine getting 12-14 feet of rain in a year? Better have a good roofer handy!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Across Washington

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We exited beautiful Coeur d’Alene and headed west across Washington. The Columbia River at Vantage WA along I-90 is about the half way point on your way to the Seattle area.

This is an impressive slice in the ground caused by the Missoula Floods. Far upstream is the Grand Coulee Dam. We usually visit dams, but for some reason we did not take the extra hour out of our way to visit. This view is looking north.

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Same view but with sand beaches!

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Downstream. That is the I-90 bridge. More cloud in this view, or is it an illusion?

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A view upstream, close to the water level. Pretty big river at this point.

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We overnighted at a Snopark off I-90 just before the climb up Snoqualmie Pass. This is a shot just past the summit. At the Highway 18 turnoff after completing the downward run, we experienced our first breakdown ever in the rig. The serpentine belt failed. Just at a turnoff no less! Luckily I had a spare and we were on our way in about 40 minutes.

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After a bit of slow traffic getting around the southern edge of the Seattle-Tacoma nightmare we headed towards Aberdeen, Hoquiam and the Pacific coast. Hoquiam used to be an upper air station years ago before it was moved to the Quileute Airport near La Push.  This is the beach near the Quinault Casino near Ocean Shores WA, where we met our friends Jim, Gayle, Debbie and a new friend Kim!

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Here is what greeted us the next morning, KITES!  You know it will be a good day when someone is flying kites. In this case, huge kites with slow moving tails. The winds were 15 knots sustained along the beach, nearly all day. Probably too gusty in Iowa to fly something like this for long, unless you found the perfect spot somewhere. I would imagine you could do this most of the time here.

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We did some hiking south of town on a spit of land later in the day. This is the view to the east. Mt. Baker is off the left and Rainer is off the right. It was a hazy day, but you could still see snow on the mountains!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

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Our campsite is beyond the picture to the right. That is the interstate bridge just east of Coeur d’Alene.

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You can drive down the east and southern sides of this large natural lake. Many very expensive houses inhabit the area.

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A shot out the door of our Beauty Creek forest service campsite with light rain.

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This was after a couple cracks of thunder. Plenty of low level moisture.

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The city has a very nice waterfront on the lake. This is just a small portion.

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On the world’s longest floating boardwalk, 3,300 feet long and 12 feet wide. It surrounds the 372 slip marina to the right. In the background, where my hand is on the railing, you can see a small beach.

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Looking west from the boardwalk. Yes, you can go for an amphib plane ride.

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From the marina area you can take a 1 1/2 mile hike around a fairly large rocky tree-covered hill that juts out into the lake. During winter, many Ospreys dive into the lake to catch fish.

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A longtime friend, LeAnn. She was one of my interns in the National Weather Service, and an excellent meteorologist. She is a crazy funny girl. Her husband is a Senior Forecaster in Spokane. We were very happy to spend some time with her.

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A road leading away from our camp. Essentially single track for miles upwards into the forest. An excellent walking road with no traffic and a running stream. Watch out for morning slugs though!