Lake Quinalt Rain Forest

For a desert rat such as myself, I found my first Olympic Peninsula rain forest to be disorienting, other worldly, over stimulating and just a tad frightful.  Interestingly, Tom and I had driven through what would certainly qualify as 'rain forest'.  But, to be in the bowels, the inner and most intimate part of a real rain forest is something difficult to describe and most certainly difficult to accurately capture with a camera.  We got our beginner's start at the rain forest surrounding Lake Quinalt.

Many trees in the rain forest are HUGE, some hundreds of years old.  Yet, they have a shallow root system and can be toppled over in a big storm.  When they die they become nurseries for other trees and plants.  Walking beneath canopies that are hundreds of feet above you puts many things in perspective (I will let you come up with your own list on this observation).

Moss, as it turns out, is not damaging to the trees.  It does not 'steal' nutrients from the tree.  Rather, it uses the tree for support and gets in nutrients form rain, which is very plentiful in the rain forest.

I began to imagine these as 'Hobbit' houses.  Their structure revealed a complex growth pattern that was both art and miracle.

We followed one of the easier trails.  The signs at the trail head ask that we stay on the trail.  Easy, no bush-wacking tools in my camera bag!  The growth is so thick I could not imagine earlier peoples creating paths and then keeping them from being overgrown.

An overcast sky is best when photographing a rain forest.  We had a period where the sun came out.  Not good!!  The dynamic range becomes so great that photography is very challenging.  Here the sky is overcast.  That white sky is OK.

Once you get used the idea of the really tall trees, the canopy and the sheer magnitude of the 'place' you can begin to find 'micro worlds' on the ground.  They are everywhere!

Those are shelf mushrooms.

The sun came out.  Notice how the other trees become very dark.  Short of using exposure blending, this is what the photos look like.  It was not really that dark!

Well, the leaves on the fern were not really blue!!  But the trunk was really red.  Hmmmm . . .

Hobbit house with a window.

What!!??  Black and white in the rain forest?  Tom has gone daft!

After our hike we drove back to the Quinalt Lake Lodge for lunch.  It would compete easily with the old lodges at the South and North Rims of the Grand Canyon.  Lunch was unremarkable and expensive.

The lawn between the lodge and Quinalt Lake.

Kayaks for rent.

If you stand still long enough in one place you may get 'moss head1.

Leading into the lake.

On the road getting there.  We were already there!!

We seem to meet photographers along these paths, stop and compare notes.  We were told that the Hoh Rain Forest was very different with older trees and a more dense floor.  We were planning on going there after we got set up in Forks, WA.  We hoped we had learned a bit about photographing a rain forest, a foreign land for desert rats!