Friday, October 12, 2007

Gallivanting

If one shifts from actual blogging to hypothetical blogging, is that a cause for concern?

I've been in that mood lately...we'll see something or do something, and I'll tell M that hey, I really should blog about that, and for a moment I get really excited about the prospect, but by the time I actually sit down at the computer the mood has passed. Somehow I managed to catch myself off guard this time, so here we are.

My in-laws visited from Rhode Island and stayed for about 2 weeks. We took the opportunity to play tourist ourselves, though to different degrees--I, for one, did NOT go camping at Mt. Rainier on Columbus Day weekend when there was snow on the ground. We hiked in Olallie State Park and visited the salmon hatchery in Issaquah.

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Waterfall in Olallie State Park (photo by M)

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Salmon leaping in holding pen at Issaquah hatchery (photo by my FIL)

We went to the Ballard Locks and watched boats come in from Puget Sound. We also saw some salmon jump around in the lake. I wish I'd gotten a photo of that! Apparently they do this when they move from salt to fresh water to clean the salt off of their scales before swimming upstream to spawn and (probably yes) die. I think these salmon were stragglers--most of them have already entered the smaller rivers by now.

We stayed overnight on the Olympic Peninsula and stopped at Dungeness Spit, the Hoh Rainforest, and Rialto Beach. The spit is several miles long, so the only way I could get a picture of the lighthouse at the tip without walking out there was by jamming my camera right up against one of those binocular contraptions set up on a viewing platform.

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The spit. Trust me, there is a lighthouse out there.

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Lighthouse at Dungeness Spit. It's at the right side behind the tree branch.

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Forest near Dungeness Spit.

My in-laws hung out at the B&B (the Miller Tree Inn--I highly recommend it) while M and I hiked a bit in the Hoh Rain Forest. The moss there was incredible! It grew everywhere, even on phone booths.
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We felt like we were in Tolkien's Fangorn Forest.
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(photo by M)

This sign was posted near the start of the trail:
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I didn't pay too much attention to it at the time. Halfway through the trail, though, M suddenly said, "Wait! There's an elk." Sure enough, a lone female was standing about 15 feet away and chewing on the greenery. As M took photos, I spotted a second elk a bit farther away. We were totally psyched and feeling at one with nature, so when I thought I saw a third elk I attributed it initially to overexcitement. Then I took another look and realized it really was a third elk. A few seconds later two more elk appeared. By now we were recalling all of the signs we had seen in Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks warning people to stay away from the animals and not taunt the bison, etc. (fine, I'm paraphrasing), so we decided to move on and bid the elk farewell. We wondered a bit if they would get aggressive, but M said we should be fine as long as there were no youngsters or males around. This was when the scene became really cliched; as soon as he said that, we noticed that two of the elk looked suspiciously small, we spotted a male, and one of the females stepped onto the trail and started walking towards us.

M and I haven't agreed yet on her intentions. I'd like to think that maybe she was just curious, but M, who was standing between me and the rapidly approaching elk and thus in a better position to know, insists she was glaring at us. Regardless, we decided to retreat since our path forward was blocked; thus ended our brush with nature for the day.
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Rialto Beach was beautiful too, even though it was a bit misty/cloudy that day.

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1 comment:

Rachel said...

Wow, dude, that is a LOT of elk. Also a lot of moss. I'm glad to know you survived your encounters with both.