Part 1 of 3: Visit Olympic National Park in Washington State!

There’s a long bridge between Astoria, Oregon into Washington state. As I drove across the bridge, I realized my west coast visit was continuing with misty fog into the next state! Is there any other weather happening on the Pacific Northwest coast? The good news: my front windshield is so clean!

Highway 101 is closer to the Oregon coast. Where fog lifted, I saw waves and shoreline, but not at Cannon Beach so I skipped that visit. In Washington, Highway 101 is further from the coast with plenty of trees between me and the coast. When along the shore, it is mostly mudflats. I visited Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge in Hoquiam, Washington. Walking the boardwalk with a couple from San Diego helped me enjoy and pass the time since few birds were in the area.

My first stop at Olympic National Park: Lake Quinault. There are 4 rainforests in the park and this is one. Here I visit the world’s record oldest sitka spruce tree. This tree is 1,000 years old and people standing at its trunk are puny compared to the tree’s girth. The branch that fell off the tree has been determined to be 400 years old, wow! 

1000 year old Sitka spruce tree
Branch fell off…it is 400 years old!

This park has 4 rainforests: Quinault, Hoh, Queets and Bogachiel. They are moderate temperate rainforests, different from tropical rainforests. When I climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro years ago, one of the biomes you trek through is tropical rainforest. Being close to the equator, it was a hot moist area with dense vegetation where rains fall year-round. The moderate temperate rainforests in the northwest USA coastal areas also have dense vegetation with milder temperatures and seasonal rainfall. Everywhere you look, there are beautiful, huge trees! The misty fog certainly provides moisture for these trees to grow. There are also many beautiful ferns, wildflowers, fungi and goatsbeard lichen which hangs from the tree’s branches. 

Goatsbeard lichen

My next stop was to be the Hoh Rainforest; however, it was not to be. With its small parking lot, park officials monitor the number of cars in the lot so there is no gridlock. I did not want to wait an hour or more hoping others would be leaving the area. I continued miles down the road to La Push Beach. With three beaches in this area, people park their vehicle, walk to the beach and I suspect many stay for the day. I went to First Beach and had my lunch after walking the area. Here are photos from this beach:

First beach at LaPush

Most people are stopping at various vistas and hiking trails as I am. For others, their visit is a backpacking or bicycling trip through the area. The hiking trails vary in their steepness and the road through the park is not the easiest to cycle. After few hour’s drive, I decided to stretch my legs near Lake Crescent. Amazingly I saw an American dipper playing around in the lake’s edge! This is a new bird for me:

American dipper

Highway 101 is right through Port Angeles, a busy sea port with ferry service to Victoria Canada. I checked out the waterfront and spent little time in the city. My campground was about 10 miles away and I was ready to end this day. I had been traveling 11 hours … driving and sightseeing all on the park’s west side. Already I am realizing I needed to plan more days to visit this park.

Protect the Grand Canyon…and All our National Parks!

I love trees and when in combination with a beautiful canyon all is wonderful. I want to see them together!

A beautiful tree & canyon.
A beautiful tree & canyon.

Another tree and canyon sight!
Another tree and canyon sight!

Trees help frame a canyon sight!
Trees help frame a canyon sight!

I hope many of us understand the importance of protecting our national parks, outdoor spaces, and even our local greenways whether we are using them for hiking, bicycling, bird-watching or relaxation of any sort!


I am forever thankful to our predecessors who had the foresight to set land aside to be protected. Now if we can keep them protected, future generations will enjoy what we have been able to enjoy yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Food When in Wyoming and Montana!

Well I wish I had taken some pictures of the delicious bison burger, elk burger, lamb burger and emu tartare I had eaten while visiting national parks in these states. For me, being gluten-free, I opted for no roll or bun and really enjoyed the different meat tastes. I am not usually a regular hamburger-eating person, yet in these states the burgers went great with a beer and French fries! Of course too, there are so many microbreweries throughout the states you cannot drive to far without seeing another place! Oh, how is it I do have one picture of beer!?!?

But to see more of my top 20 Glacier and top 20 Yellowstone National Park pictures, check them out at Flickr by clicking here. Enjoy the views, and plan to visit the parks in your future.

Beer, would rather have a stout, but sometimes an amber will do!
Beer, would rather have a stout, but sometimes an amber will do!

I Hope More of Us Protect Wildlife

A generation of young people may be attached to their video games and other technological gadgets, but there is no reason why the person can also not step outdoors every so often! It could be to simply see the crack in a sidewalk or a local dog park where one would find an insect or two, or a small reptile or mammal running by. With small appreciation for those critters, a person may venture further to a creek, pond or lake or a garden, field, or forest. Whatever it takes…a small step to simply appreciate wildlife, small or large, one or many…if more of us do not encourage others to notice and appreciate wildlife, there will be none!
You do know we lose many species per year; destroy vast habitats; don’t appreciate our forefathers who helped set lands aside for us all to now enjoy….I hope there are enough of us to understand why we need natural areas for our wildlife and to help protect the areas for multi-use while also allowing our wildlife a home.
I had hoped our country would be as progressive as Costa Rica where at least 50% of that country is natural. While we may never be to that percentage, let’s hope we can protect what we can. Humans need wildlife, I hope we never forget …I hope more of us protect wildlife.

4th Graders & 4th Grade Teachers…Visit a National Park

Wow, I wish I was still teaching a fourth grader or was a fourth grader! If you are, then be sure to take advantage of the Every Kid in a Park initiative before August 31, 2016 arrives!

Any person who interacts with a 4th grader through religious or school programs, camps or home school, or actually is a 4th grader, then gets a free admission to a national park, refuge or protected area. But this is only the offer till August 31, 2016….so get going! Visit now.

Do not miss a Grand Canyon visit.
Do not miss a Grand Canyon visit.