Did you know there are four temperate rainforests in Olympic National Park? They’re the Hoh, Quinault, Queets and Bogachiel. The most popular is the Hoh and that’s the one we’d visited on prior trips to the National Park. But the Quinault Rainforest is every bit as beautiful and our stay at Lake Quinault Lodge gave us time to explore it on trails that were mostly deserted.
One of my favorites was the Maple Glade Trail. We found it near the Ranger Station on the north side of the lake where we’d gone looking for the world’s largest Western Red Cedar. More on that later.
The walk through the rainforest under giant moss-drenched Maples was refreshing and peaceful on a hot summer day.
It also intersected with the Kestner Homestead Trail which took us to a clearing and an early homestead from 1891. We tried to imagine living in such an isolated location, deep in the woods, with 12 feet of rain per year!
We wandered the grounds and I stopped to watch the hummingbirds. They didn’t look like the Anna’s I have in my garden; most likely they were Rufous Hummingbirds that visit from April to October.
Afterwards we headed down the road with a stop by July Creek for a short walk to the lake. Here we caught glimpses of the Olympic Mountains and the Lodge on the other side.
On our way back, we continued to look for the big Cedar tree but there were no signs anywhere. Eventually we found a ranger and asked him about it.
”Not there anymore,’ he said. ‘Came down in a windstorm back in 2016.’
We were obviously disappointed and he offered to take us there anyway. Only the top was gone he said, and he wanted to see the condition of what remained himself; there were also many other giants in the same area though it might be dangerous getting to them.
‘No thanks,’ we told him. We’d look for the others.
‘Did you see the Sitka Spruce yet?’ he asked. ‘On the south side of the lake. Its the largest in the world.’
Yes, we had, the night before, not far from the Lodge.
But I’ll save that for the next post.