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Published: September 4th 2014
We got a later start today, leaving Forks, WA about 11am on a warm and sunny day, so we had the top down on the Miata right away. Our first stop was the Hoh Rainforest, just 12 miles south of Forks then 18 miles east off of Hwy. 101. The 18 mile drive was a beautiful, rolling, curving narrow road through high, thick trees; just perfect for the Miata! There's a $15 fee at the gate which is good for a week at any of the Olympic Park areas. It surprised me that the large parking lot was already full so we drove on to the overflow parking. There were a variety of hiking trails available and we chose one listed as a 1 1/2 hour hike. It was a beautiful walk through lush rainforest and along the Hoh River and we only came across a few other hikers even though there were a lot of cars in the lot. This is one of the least disturbed rainforests in this region, with a thick, wet blanket of ferns, mosses and lichens covering the ground under the massive hemlocks, cedars and towering Sitka spruce, all nourished by about 140 inches of rainfall
After we got back to Hwy. 101 it was only a short drive to reach Ruby Beach which is the beginning of a 20 mile stretch of easily accessible, wide, nearly deserted beaches, backed by rocky bluffs and packed with tidepools, piles of driftwood and the water dotted with a huge variety of sea stacks. Although it was getting very warm on the highway, it was misty and cool along the waterfront. It was inviting enough to wander the shoreline all day but we only stayed an hour or so before moving on to the beach at Kalaloch Lodge, at the end of the 20 miles stretch of beaches. This lodge has a couple dozen small cottages along the edge of the bluffs overlooking miles of wide beaches.
From here we travelled a little further down the 101 to Lake Quinalt, another area surrounded by rainforest. This lake has been a popular resort destination since the 1920's and is surrounded by cabins, a few stores and a couple of lodges and old-growth forest. Our actual destination was at the South-East end of the lake at the Rain Forest Resort Village to see the World's Largest Spruce
The World's Largest Spruce Tree
A Sitka spruce, at Rain Forest Resort Village, Lake Quinalt.
Tree which measures 191 feet tall and nearly 59 feet circumference.
We drove another 90 minutes or so along the coast to reach our last stop of the day, the 1885 Tokeland Hotel, off Hwy. 105 on the north shore of Wilapa Bay at the SW tip of Washington. We passed the Ocean Spray cranberry operation on the way in as well as cranberry bogs that we hope to tour tomorrow. The hotel itself feels more like a B&B with the few guests here gathering in the various reading rooms and lobbies after supper and the owners lock the doors and leave around 8pm. There's a photo here of Robert Plant who stayed a night and ate here in May 1995 on his way to a concert in Tacoma. The owner told me the story about how he wanted someplace quiet to stay the night before performing so he came along with his bodyguard and they were the only guests that night. He gave them free tickets to the concert and they met him backstage after.
The owners gave everyone in the lobbies a free drink this evening so I'm having a glass of merlot as I sit
here writing this before ending my day.
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