August 15, 2009
Patrick took the navigator seat – one I gladly gave up. Kelly, Megan and I sat in the back and chatted. The day started out cool but the sun was peaking through and it was projected to be a great day.
Surprisingly the trip to Olympic National Park didn’t take as long as expected. Before getting into Port Angeles we stopped at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge considered a haven for wildlife in the area. It is one of the world’s longest natural sand spits that softens the rough sea waves to form a quiet bay and harbor, sand and gravel beaches, and tideflats. The “spit” of land is actually five-miles long with a lighthouse at the tip.The walk to the Refuge was pretty and pleasant and the beach was strewn with logs washed on shore.
We all thought about taking the five-mile hike to the lighthouse but the tide was coming in and we didn’t want to get stuck out there for several hours. Instead we opted to walk along the beach for about one and one half miles It was absolutely breathtaking and the sound of the waves breaking against the shore calming. We picked up rocks from the beach for our collection and dodged the waves as the tide was coming in.
We arrived at the Elwha Dam RV Park around 2:30 pm and had lunch. Ron wanted to take a ride to Hurricane Ridge but the lady at the campground told us to wait until the next day because it would be a clear day and the view from Hurricane Ridge would be spectacular.
We decided to take advantage of the remaining daylight and took a ride along Crescent Lake to the trail to Sol Duc Falls. The lake was beautiful with deep aqua waters from the glacial run-off. Crescent Lake was back dropped by mountains and with twilight setting in looked ethereal. The walk on the trail to Sol Duc Falls was also beautiful with a fantasy forest laden with moss and the tallest trees one could imagine. It was like a fairyland trail leading to another spectacular waterfall.
Ron and Patrick tried to get a shot of the falls with the bridge in the foreground but unfortunately there was a photography club on the bridge that didn’t move the entire time we were there so both had to settle for just pictures of the falls.
Did I mention that Jewel was not allowed on the hike because the falls are in the National Park. There were several people with their dogs so I mentioned to Ron we should have bought Jewel. One man, with his dog, stopped to tell me he had brought two dogs with him on the trail and that one of his dogs was taken away by the Park Ranger. He was heading back to try to talk the Ranger out of the $250.00 fine he was going to pay for breaking the rules. I guess following the rules is a good idea after all.
Next we stopped at an area called the Salmon Cascades where red Salmon were once abundant. Today the cascades are all but void of salmon due to over fishing and two dams in the area blocking transit of the salmon.
With stimulus money provide by the Federal Government both the upper and lower Elwha Dams are going to be taken down to rejuvenate the salmon stock.
Back at the campground we enjoyed a great dinner and spent time relaxing for our next days adventure.