Sunday, March 8, 2015

On the way to Hoh.

Something happened on the way to check out the Hoh rainforest.  Lots of things actually.  Let's take a look.

We started out with the best intentions.  Drive north and go check out the Hoh rainforest visitor's center and maybe hike a trail or two.  Simple plan.

We packed up our gear and hopped into Hondo, the adventure car (210,000 miles, one owner.)  The trip was something of a last minute adventure, so we didn't have specific plans.  We knew we wanted to see the place and knew how to get there. We got out a little late.  Let's be honest, we got out about the time we normally do, but if I say it was late there is this illusion that we normally get out earlier.

Anyway, we left.  We drove north past Quinault Lake and kept on going.  There is something really cool about driving on a stretch of road that is new to you.  The road turned west and we were skirting the coast.  Glimpses of ocean flashed through the trees and we passed descriptive signs like, 'Beach 1'.  Every once in a while, the trees would open around the drainage of a stream and we were treated to a look out.  Sarah spotted a distant island with a lighthouse and looked it up on her map.  It was called Destruction Island. Hey honey, add that to the list of cool places we want to see.  Already did that?  Awesome.  We just need a boat.


We made it to the scintillatingly named 'Beach 4' before we couldn't resist it anymore and had to get out and walk around. 
Peer through the branches and there is a lighthouse.  It's tiny.
A short trail led us down to the beach and rocks.

I love these log bridges

Look, there must be a whale right behind those rocks!

Eagles!  Cool.
We explored huge driftwood deposits and rock formations.  Sarah dubbed this one rock, 'dog's head rock.'  It was nice just to sit there and feel the waves crash.

Dog's Head Rock

Michael and Max sorted through the driftwood and found treasures.  Most of their treasures were weapons.  They found pistol sticks, knife sticks, rifles sticks, laser rifle sticks and clubs.  Mommy found a future bowl and we each tried to find a good walking stick.

Ever creative, Michael turned a weapon into a chair.

As we walked along, I spotted this little driftwood sculpture that someone had left.  

I love how the rocks behind look like faces too.

Max standing guard.
We were trying to get back to the car, but kept finding cool things to check out.  There was this cave formed from a washout that just HAD to be seen.

Max, the intrepid explorer, had to be the first.

Looks cool.

There was enough room to stand fully upright in there.
And there was room for all of us to stand upright at the same time.
OK, seriously guys.  We have to get back to the car.  We have a destination to get to and still have quite a bit of a drive.  You can keep finding driftwood treasures, but keep moving while you do it.

To show that they didn't only find weapons, Max found mommy a driftwood rose.

Michael said, "We found Guns and Roses...get it?"
Back to the car guys.  Time's a wastin'.

Daddy's just going to stop for a second for another picture. 
OK, OK, back on the road and driving.  We are getting closer, still plenty of time.  We just won't take a long hike.  Maybe something medium, you know.  Just something to give us a taste of the Hoh rainforest.  Wait.

What did that sign say?  Big Cedar Tree?  Down Big Cedar Road?  Well, maybe just a quick look.  It says 0.3 miles.  That can't take long, right?

So we drive the 0.3 miles down crater filled road (Sarah now trusts me to drive these things in Hondo).  We find a trail that leads to this place.

It was the remains of a huge tree.  This monstrosity had several species of tree growing out it.  Was this the Big Cedar tree in question?  It was really cool, but it looked like it had been down for a long time.

But, you know, the sign didn't say Big Cedar Remnant.  The trail does continue on past this this one.  Maybe we should check it out.  This tree is cool, but what if there is a bigger, cooler tree just over there somewhere.  We really should go look.

Well, it's a big cedar.

Max started climbing around the base of this one.  He was going to try to climb on top of this burl in the bottom left of the pictures.  I discouraged that because I noticed this hole just below his chosen route.  If he slipped, he would fall in.

Doesn't look like much.
I stuck my head in to look around.  It was huge in there.  I could have comfortably camped in there overnight.  And yes, I could have fit in that hole.  We didn't send Max in to explore.  I didn't want him to face some cranky critter only armed with his driftwood rifle.

Hard to get a good picture without going in.

Maybe I'll just stick my arm in as far as it goes and take a picture.
So, that was a big cedar.  The trail continues on.  Are there more?

Yes, yes there are.

This one had split open somehow.

And then there was this one.  It had other trees growing out of it that were bigger than many free standing trees.

See it way up there?
Even the fungus was huge.  That one blob is probably 5 feet high.
OK, turns out that there are lots of big cedars here.  This could be all day.  Time for one more stop at what is probably the Big Cedar before we hit the road again.

Back on the road.

There is still a ways to drive, but we have some time.  Maybe we can just stop of the visitor's center and pick up some information.  Maybe we could do a short loop trail.  They usually have those near a visitor's center, right?


What did that sign just say?  Ruby Beach?  Well, they gave it a real name.  That other cool beach was generically numbered. This one is named after a gemstone.  We kind of have to stop....right?

Another short trail down, another beach and...more eagles.

The place is lousy with 'em.
And beauty, the place is lousy with it.
Don't forget the weapons...uhhh, driftwood.
So, of course we have to stick around and check this place out.

Perfect skipping stones, lousy with 'em.

It's all in the wrist.

Destruction Island still out there.
Another face in the rock

A giant stone gorilla following Michael

Rock formations are so cool
Or maybe a giant face staring out to sea.
The eagle still watching from the tall skinny one on the left

I saw a boomerang.  Michael saw angry eyebrows

I think this picture came in last frame I bought.

Can't stop seeing the gorilla.
Yeah, we never made it to the Hoh rainforest.  Maybe next time.  Of course, I know of another big cedar tree along the way and who knows what might be on the road between Ruby Beach and the Hoh visitor's center.