Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sol Duc Falls

Olympic National Park has two hot springs within the park. Sol Duc Hot Springs is one of them; the other is Olympic Hot Springs.  The Park literature describes a legend tells how the springs were formed from the duel of two dragons over a boundary dispute. The duel took place on Boulder Peak and ended in a draw. The dragons crawled back into their caves, and their tears of mortification formed the hot springs we enjoy today.

IMG_1935Well, okay.  So much for the hot springs, maybe Mike and I will enjoy the hot pools another day, today our group of hiking ladies drove on past the Springs to Sol Duc Falls to walk the 6-mile trail along the river and maybe, just maybe, catch a glimpse of a few salmon making their way up the river.  We had a party of four today including me, Susan, Mary and Kathleen—all residents of our little Sunland community in Sequim.

IMG_1940We had great weather, but the trail took us over bridges soaked with mist from the falls (Sol Duc Falls in the picture on the left), and through thick old-growth Douglas firs (dugfir, as the locals would say) allowing brief shafts of sun to reach our path.  So, what I am telling you is the forest is somewhat dark come rain or shine.  Really quite beautiful with the moss draping over all the branches.  We had a cushy, mossy seat on a nurse log to eat our lunch next to the rushing Sol Duc River.

We also stopped at the short Salmon Cascades trail leading down to a wooden platform overlooking the Sol Duc River.  The platform is positioned for the viewer to watch the salmon swimming up the river twice a year (late summer and spring).  The Coho salmon are now making their return from the Pacific Ocean to spawn up the river.  Thrilling to watch the fish hurl themselves up and over the falls and turbulent water (downriver from the big Sol Duc Falls).  The salmon negotiate more than 50 miles of river, rapids and pools to reach Salmon Cascades before continuing to quieter pools.   Lots of photographers positioned with tripods and huge telephoto lens ready to capture the salmon leaping up the rushing water.  The salmon were too quick for me—I was not fast enough to capture that perfect picture.

This hike deserves a return visit especially with Mike.  Cannot wait to take him back up there.

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