Only a few hours drive from the beach leads to the Hoh Rainforest, one of the largest temperate rain forests in the U.S.
My grandma — who inspired the trip around the peninsula — didn’t advise visiting Hoh Rainforest for the very appropriate reason of rain and big trees being all too easy to find in Washington. But it was close, so I went and enjoyed a rare sunny afternoon walk.
The depth and patterns created by luminous leaves made for lovely photographic subjects.
Of the approximately half-dozen beaches visited on the Olympic Peninsula, Klaloch and Rialto seemed in a league of their own, each vastly different.
The Dungeness Spit, technically in Olympic State Park, earns an honorable mention for one of the longest sand spits in the world and a light house.
At Klaloch, limited but amazing camp sites overlook truly vast expanses of gently sloping sand and minuscule tides. A quaint resort is nearby with cabins for rent. Rialto beach is the opposite — strong waves crash into pebble beaches, pushing rocks up the shore before drawing them back out to sea with an almost violent crackle. A lovely 1.5 miles paved road connects the campground to the beach — perfect for a light jog past a pond of croaking frogs.
For years my grandma told me Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is her favorite place to vacation. Last spring I finally took some time to check it out — and immediately understood her enthusiasm. From expansive beaches to the rain forest and climbing into the high alpine, all in one day, Olympic National Park has something for everyone.
Being a land-locked Alaskan familiar with world-class mountains, I was most excited by the stunning beaches and joys of exploring tide pools. This post I’ll featuring a few of the sea anemones and star fish I photographed at Kalaolch’s tide pools.
Next post I’ll highlight the dramatic scenery of expansive beaches.
Today is (observed) Alaska Day. The official Alaska Day is Oct. 18 and recognizes the U.S. flag raising at Fort Sitka on Oct. 18, 1867.
The U.S. flag replaced its Russian counterpart following the purchase of Alaska for roughly $7 million. Alaska Day is being observed a day late this year because it is a paid holiday for state employees.
Since I didn’t post about it yesterday the observance also gives me another opportunity. It’s impossible to find one photo, or even a group, to represent all Alaska has to offer. Instead I chose Alaska’s state flower: the forget-me-not.
The tiny blue and orange flower is hard to spot, and equally difficult to photograph.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”
My happy place is a state of being — the culmination of numerous factors. A breath of fresh air in sun or snow. Freedom to run through the woods, twisting along a skinny trail. A beer and a dance floor with great live music, or a slow sunday with a cup of hot coffee.
Of course looking through a viewfinder is often a happy activity for me.
Above: Expect more of a “fishing perch” than a “fishing hole” when dip-netting the Copper River in southeast Alaska. Spirit Mountain pokes above the big and fast glacial-fed river that’s full of silt and very cold. Copper River Reds, the salmon in the net, are some of the most sought after in the world.
The river is also an excellent of the Weekly Photo Challenge of boundaries. Rivers are some of Earth’s most common boundaries. For the fish in my net it is a boundary of left and death, or for a person if they fall in.
Sometimes sweeping is necessary — a time- and labor-intensive technique during which the fisher sweeps the net with the current, resets and repeats.
Even when fishing is done much work is left to be done. Here a king salmon is butchered.
Tracks diverge — one true, one to the right — distances diluted by Georgia’s morning fog.
Sky blends with river and birds take flight in anticipation of morning light.
Soon, sun cuts the clouds.
Berry picking is a passage of fall, and provides delicious and healthy food for a long winter.
Fall is a harbinger of winter, especially when snow begins dusting mountain tops.
Colors create abstract patterns.
Forest fires are an important mechanism for regrowth in the boreal forest, and berries frequently find their nutrient-dense soil.
Above: The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute, with a satellite-receiving dish on the roof, sits tucked among trees as a runner makes her away along trails far below, visibly only by a bright blue jacket. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game the boreal forest, that which is found around Interior Alaska, is largest terrestrial ecosystem on earth.
Interior Alaska’s fall comes fast, and leaves even faster. With only a small variety deciduous trees we don’t get a large variety of color, but the bright yellow leaves among dark green spruce still make dramatic scenes. It can take less than one week for trees to shed their leaves if a hard frost is followed by a strong wind or rain.
A sunset on Orcas Island, Washington, illuminates smoke from a nearby campfire.
I like how the qualities of the above photo mesh with the two following abstracts photos: grass floating in water. All three pictures have a smooth quality and share cool green tones. The sun streaks, a more literal picture, still offers plenty of room for the imagination to wander. In contrast the two grass pictures offer very little reference, perhaps a few small dragonfly if you look closely.
Mt. Constitution sits atop Orcas Island and is the highest point in the San Juan Islands, Washington. Views on a clear day are spectacular! Oregon’s Mount Baker is the prominent peak in the upper-right of this photo.