The Enchanted Forest


Most everyone has a vision of an enchanted forest.  I won’t tell you yours.  I will tell you about the Sol-Duc River and the accompanying old-growth fir forest of Olympic National Park.  Whatever your imagination is calling up about your enchanted forest now, double it.

We are sort of straddling the line between the eastern and western sides of the hat, if you recall yesterday’s post.  We aren’t yet fully in the temperate rain forest, but we are also not fully in the dry side the result is old growth forest hung deep with moss and lichen.  Quiet, but for the rushing sounds of the Sol-Duc river, and soft underfoot with the spring of decomposition.  It is a forest of every shade of green in the paint box.  Waxy, dark ferns, pale hair-like mosses, and everything in between.

We get a campsite and walk out into the forest.  Every step is a revelation in miniature.  Our pace is steps at a time because we keep stopping to study something else unseen. My son has the best analogy for this place: he calls it the coral reef of forests.  As I think about it, he’s right; these shapes and forms and details would be as at home underwater in vivid colors as they are here in their shades of green.  Their languid, variegated, featherish forms wave in the breeze as so many corals in the current.

It is cold up here still.  Snow remains in patches and the damp air cuts deeper in the 30s than one might expect.  But we are smitten with this place.  We will go higher still tomorrow for  another hike before descending to the coast.  Our first day and night are confirming the “Jordan” status of this park.  We will see if it can last the full game.

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