The Olympic Peninsula is the gem of Washington state. It's a mix of the best aspects of any National Park. From glacier capped mountains to ocean beaches still barely touched by man. Rich with Native American culture and home to a huge verity of animals, some only found in this corner of the world.
One of the most spectacular characteristics of the Park is the temperate rain forests that line the western slope of the mountains. The Hoh, Queets and Quinault (all named after local native tribes) host some of the world's largest specimens of Western Redcedar, Western Hemlock, Sitka Spruce and three different Fir. This is also the wettest place in the continental United States with a average of 12 feet of rain per year! It's no wonder that these trees can grow into unfathomable giants.
The Hoh River trail seemed like a highway for families and seniors. But for good reason, the flat trail is easily navigable through the big trees and drooping mosses. After a 3 mile hike we turned back and headed south to the Queets Rain Forest.
The Roosevelt Elk were in rut while we were visiting in mid September. The "rut" marks the time of year when bull elk bugle and battle for breeding rights. It's amazing to listen to them bugle at each other, but to actually watch the majestic creatures call out is breath-taking. It was a truly magical sight to see.
After spending the night in the Queets, we continued south to the Quinault. What was meant to be just a quick stop but we were both in awe of the picturesque, almost fictional creeks and nature trails. We nibbled on plump berries, counted no less than 8 species of fern, and hugged a 400 year old Douglas Fir tree. This was our favorite of the three forests. Perhaps we'll start a hike from here next Summer.