Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Break Adventure, Day 3

The day was a bit gray, so first we perked it up with coffee and a snack at Blackbird, then headed west for Lake Crescent. Although we were relatively late to the trailhead, we were early by most peoples' standards and the parking lot was not full. The big draw at this trailhead is Marymere Falls, a 1.5 mile lollipop-looped walk to a beautiful waterfall in a deep gorge. But first, a stop at the toilet; why do I mention this – the bathrooms are heated and wonderful. I almost had to send out a messenger to tell Rich that I would be delayed, as I was soaking up the warmth to guard me against the inevitable cold and damp of the hike.

Marymere Falls
After pushing myself out of the rest room, we set off toward the falls first, as the crowds were minimal and the veered off to Barnes Creek. The start of the trail, in which all trip reports that I have read mention that very few people are seen on the trail, has overgrown trees and a few branches blocking the way. I think those are deterrents for anyone might want to venture out of their comfort zone and up the trail, because the trail is very well maintained after that point. In fact, as though experienced hikers were in cahoots to keep others off this trail, the map indicates there is a ford a couple of miles in. In the summer, a ford might be an adventure, but in very early spring, it is a threat. Too cold, too deep. But there was no ford; there was a bridge made from a fallen tree, with a railing to one side. Even my "I'm a wimp and I know it when making crossings" fiance was able to walk across without constantly holding on to the rail.

No Hands!
There were a few more creek crossings and, in between, a lot of green: moss, trees and ferns. I postulated whether all the world's moss had originated right there, in the Olympic National Park. Moss grows in damp areas and reproduce via spores carried on wind or by animals. The ONP has plenty of spores to spread all around the world. Here's what Wikipedia had to say about moss and the Pacific Northwest:

"In the cool cloudy damp Pacific Northwest, moss is sometimes allowed to grow naturally as a lawn substitute, one that needs little or no mowing, fertilizing or watering. In this case, grass is considered to be the weed.[19] Landscapers in the Seattle area sometimes collect boulders and downed logs growing mosses for installation in gardens and landscapes. Woodland gardens in many parts of the world can include a carpet of natural mosses.[16] The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Washington State, is famous for its moss garden. The moss garden was created by removing shrubby underbrush and herbaceous groundcovers, thinning trees, and allowing mosses to fill in naturally."
that clump was the first moss

The moss can't help but grow, unrestrained and unabashedly. And we love this area for all that green, many shades of green.
We were treated to some glimmers of sun through the trees, a foreshadowing for tomorrow's adventure, as we headed back along the trail.

The drive east toward Port Angeles had me feeling a little sleepy, so we made our 3rd stop of the weekend at Blackbird Cafe for an afternoon pick-me-up.

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