Friday, September 17, 2010 Skies clearing until early afternoon, then clouds and rain, 63 degrees
Fog rising from among the trees looked like steam rolling off a boiling cauldron as we headed to the Storm King Ranger Station, located on the shore of Lake Crescent. We walked to the shore and looked into the crystal clear, turquoise waters. No one was on or near the water this cool, damp September morning, but it was easy to imagine boats motoring fishermen out into the lake and children splashing and playing along the shore. This was not our destination, so we moved on to the coastal region of Olympic NP.
Rialto Beach is a very rocky beach with its red, green, black, and speckled stones polished smooth by the tumbling of the sand and the waves. It was a very rigorous walk as we were pushed up against huge tree trunks piled on the beach by the high tide. Those trees had been undercut by heavy rains roaring down the creeks and rivers, then carried out into the Pacific and returned to the shore where they will be tossed seaward and back for many years.
Offshore, jutting up above the waves, are large and small boulders called seastacks which have been eroded from the mainland. They are an amazing sight. They are jagged and rough, yet some have trees sprouting from their tops. Further down the beach is one of the larger seastacks called the Hole in the Wall which, as you would guess, has a hole eroded through its middle. When the surf rolls in, it splashes through the hole and sprays into the air. After sitting and enjoying this special oceanside vista for awhile, our return walk was much easier as the ebbing tide freed up room for us on the beach.
From there we moved on to Second Beach where we walked a mile long trail through a thick, damp forest to reach the shore. Once there we had to climb over multiple huge tree trunks to reach the beach which, although only a couple of miles from Rialto, is sandy. More seastacks of many different sizes and shapes are offshore. By now it was low tide, and tidal pools had formed around the bases of smaller boulders. Gazing into the water we could see green, purple, and pink anemones, some as small as a button and some as large as the top of a coffee mug. Clinging to the sides of those same boulders were spiny, red starfish. We walked on down the beach and perched ourselves on one of the huge tree trunks and soaked up some of the sun's rays which we hadn't see in days. We decided that the Great Northwest is no place for anyone who experiences SAD, seasonal affective disorder. While New York has its share of cloudy days, somehow the daily fog makes gray days even more dismal.
We chose the coast today to enjoy the sunshine since the forecast for tomorrow is for rain, and since we're headed to the rain forest, will we know the difference?
Miscellanea: We are in Twilight Heaven. The author of this popular series was born here, in Forks, WA, and apparently, this is the setting for her novels. All over this small town are stores featuring Twilight paraphernalia, motel signs welcoming fans to last weekend's festival, and tour buses ready to transport fans to all of the sites relevant to the story line. Almost makes me wish I'd read one of those books.
TODAY'S ROUTE: US 101W to WA 110W, retrace to US 101W to Forks