Merriman Falls, Olympic National Forest

We left Eugene, Oregon Saturday morning on a trip to Olympic National Park, Washington and the surrounding area. Lake Quinault area was our first stop off Highway 101. After visiting the Lake Quinault Lodge, we headed up the South Shore Road.

The first stop was Gatton Creek Falls Trail. We came around a corner on the trail where the light was hitting a patch of ferns. I was playing around and fogged the lens to give it a dreamy look.

The sun came out to highlight a small section of the Gatton Creek trail

Gatton Creek Falls is hard to get a good angle for pictures, so I took an image of the cascades above the falls. The light was a little harsh, it would have been better if it was overcast and raining, but who am I to complain when the sun comes out in the rain forest.

A series of small cascades in Gatton Creek above Gatton Creek Falls

The Oregon Coast Range is also a temperate rain forest, but there is a difference here of between 80-100 inches, and 120 – 144 inches of rain in the Olympic rain forests.

Rain Forest Fungi

Salmon berries were just starting to bloom.

The Salmon Berries are just starting to bloom

Further along South Shore Road there was a thicket of Red Alder trees that made for a nice abstract image.

Red Alder Thicket along the Quinault River in the Olympic National Forest

Next up on the menu was Merriman Falls, which is in the Olympic National Forest.

Merriman Falls in the Olympic National Forest

Merriman Falls in the Olympic National Forest

Along the road we came across a small unnamed creek as we drove to Bunch Creek Falls.

A small unnamed creek in the Olympic National Forest

The Olympic National Park boundary with Bunch Creek Falls visible in the background.

The entry sign for Olympic National Park, located on the South Shore Road

Bunch Creek Falls

Bunch Creek Falls in Olympic National Park

Next, we drove up to Graves Creek campground, along the Quinault River, to spend the night. Exploring along the river and a trail where we noticed a lot of glacier scored rocks along the river and glacial silt along the banks. You could see where the river used to run, because that is where the alder thickets were growing. Lots of elk sign in an open meadow.

Moss covered Maple Trees surround a small meadow near Graves Creek Campground

Early the next morning we left the campground planning to drive the North Shore Road back to Highway 101. We saw 4 different herds of elk on the drive out.

Part of a small herd of Elk about 1/2 mile from Graves Creek

One elk out of several herds we saw in the Quinault River Valley

We stopped at the Kestner Homestead Trail, which is connected to the Maple Glade Trail. The Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station is nearby but is not staffed at this time of year. Due to budget cuts the only Ranger station open, other than the main one in Port Angeles, was the Hoh Rain Forest Ranger Station. It is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the spring.

While I was shooting this maple tree, Vicki walked to the homestead and spooked a large herd of elk.

Moss covered maple tree on the Kestner Homestead

If you get tired on your walk along the maple glade trail, you could always relax on this old moss back bench.

Moss covered bench along the Maple Glade Trail, in the Quinault Rain Forest

There was a small creek running through the glade with several ponds.

A pond along the Maple Glade Trail

Next we headed north for the Kalaloch area beaches and Ruby Beach.