Living – Places: 8

2012 (continued)

In the autumn of 2012, we took a trip to the Olympic peninsula.

Entering Olympic National Park, heading east of Port Angeles on the road to Hurricane Ridge.

At Heart o' the Hills campground, we found a great hiking trail.

We were lucky the road to Hurricane Ridge was closed due to overnight snowfall, which caused us to decide to explore the campground.

The trees are spectacularly tall.

It's humbling to be in the presence of life on this scale.

Garima and our dear friend Chiara standing in front of the roots of a long fallen tree.

It felt like something out of Lord of the Rings.

The enticing trail.

A trail like this is like a magnet to me, an irresistable force pulling me deeper into the forest.

It's really hard to capture the scale of a forest like this.

In some areas like this all we could see was trunks and a bit of understory. These are towering trees.

In other areas, the forest was too thick to see through, except for just a glimpse of the sky.

Thank goodness for the trail; it would be so easy to get disoriented in a forest like this.

Some of the ferns were 4 - 5 feet high!

We felt a bit like munchkins.

The trunk of a very recently fallen tree.

The scale of things was breathtaking. What a sound this must've made when it cracked and fell.

The trail took us through an enchanting forest that seemed to change at every bend.

I was amazed by how quickly and frequently the character of the forest changed.

This shot gives an idea of the scale of the forest.

We are such small creatures in such a grand forest.

In some areas, the trees were heavily bearded.

There's a tree somewhere underneath all of that!

The bearding adds a whole different dimension to the forest.

Like the path traced by a conductor's baton for a particular graceful movement.

When I think of the Olympic rain forest, images like this are the first that come to mind.

I'm reminded of the forest in Lord of the Rings where the trees spoke so slowly with each other.

Poetry in slow growth motion.

The bearding adds such grace to swooping branches.

Character.

Some of the tree trunks speak of the passage of centuries.

Autumn ferns dressed in camouflage.

The passing of the season is expressed with such beauty!

One of the most beautiful stands of ferns I saw.

They sing: We love living here!

Ferns growing on the old trunk of a long-fallen tree.

I claim this throne!

At one point, Garima spotted this magnificent banana slug climbing a tree.

Previous to this, the largest slugs I had seen where a couple inches long.

It was nearly as long as her hand and retracted its stalks when she pointed at it.

It seemed determined to climb to the top of the towering old tree it was on.

A family of mushrooms growing in the roots of an overturned tree.

Everywhere we looked, there were colonies of life.

Bracket fungi on a long march up a trunk.

I'm guessing they grow upward as the lower ones were much larger.

One thing that is amazing in the rain forest is that stuff grows on every available surface. Here, bracket fungi are growing on a trunk, and a whole little ecosystem is perched on top of one of the fungi.

Here, bracket fungi are growing on a trunk, and a whole little ecosystem is perched on top of one of the fungi.

A side view of a bracket fungi showing its many layers of growth.

Like ancient oysters.

Bracket fungi from above.

The beautifully colored rings of new growth.

And from below.

The pure whiteness of the fresh growth is in such contrast with the old, dark layers above.

One of the larger bracket fungi we came across.

I think this has been growing for many years.

With my fingers for perspective.

It was the size of two of my hands.

Another thing that fascinated me is the every cut log end seems to sport a different ecosystem. Here, a family of bracket fungi.

Cut logs are such alien things in a forest like this, but the forest begins reclaiming them for itself quickly.

This cut log end is being shared by some delicate white fungi and some equally delicate green plant.

I liked the interplay between the very dark green and the delicate white.

This is a forest of macro and micro scale. Little micro ecosystems are growing on every available surface, like this giant fallen log.

After some time has passed, only the uniformity of the shape of the forest carpet tells you a log had fallend there.

A little community of green climbing up a tree trunk.

What is it about this spot and this tree that invited the moss to create a colony?

Another carpeted fallen log.

A micro forest growing on the macro forest.

A closeup of the carpet … a forest in miniature.

I wouldn't have been terribly surprised to see small people walking on pathways through this forest!

A nice arrangement.

Can any of us compose an arrangement of plants as beautifully as nature itself does?

Another little forest.

So much is interwoven in such a small area.

This is one of my favorite of the little plants there.

I found this minature plants particularly vibrant.

Delicate vibrance.

Like hanging gardens

A lush carpet.

There must be a huge fallen log underneath there somewhere.

A well cloaked ancient tree.

Speaking to us of the passage of centuries.

The next generation. Someday long after we're gone, this may tower over the forest.

Amazing that something so small and fragile has the potential to become something so grand and towering.

On the way down from Heart o' the Hills, we got a nice glimpse out over Port Angeles of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

I think Vancouver and San Juan Islands are off in the distance.

Upon returning home to Colorado, we were greeted this morning by our own brand of bearded trees.

All the trees were coated with a thick layer of fresh snow.

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