ONP – Graves Creek

A final post from a trip around the Olympic peninsula. This area is at the back of lake Quinault, which is mostly tribal and national forest land.

The road out from the lake was beautiful, eventually you hit the national park boundary, but there isn’t a manned station or anything

Majestic mountains and rushing rivers characterize the west side of the park, I loved these cloud formations among the trees

So many waterfalls being fueled by the rains every day of my perfect trip!

Called Merrimen Falls

Another one with fun fingers on one side

Called Bunch Falls

The Quinault River (north fork) was so full it was kinda scary

That bank on the other side only has a foot or so before flooding

That bridge in the distance gets you to the north shore of the lake

Slightly calmer further up the valley

But then I got to this one spot…

And the road and river became one, the river level was just below the roadbed, so there was only a bit of water on the surface but the whole road was clearly in a semi-liquid state

The park service was keeping it clear enough though

So I soldiered on in my nice little truck

Loved this island

Then it became a one lane road

It might be manned in summer, but by early November it had been closed up for a while

Some helpful info and maps

And after I saw this one I wished I had seen others for each of the areas I visited on my trip

Graves Creek looked more like a river to me

With a bridge to prove it


Cute little valley

I headed back to the campground to hunt mushrooms, as the river was in the way of the easy summer trail and the other way went up a mountainside

Super pretty, and lots of these fun, shiny beetles

A slimy, viscid amanita with its former veil making a ring around the stalk

I think these were candy caps, which smell like maple syrup

One of the most picturesque helvella’s I’ve seen (helvella lacunosa)

A very pretty milkcap russula

And where you find those, you often find these up in this part of the world

Yep, another wonderful lobster mushroom! This is the result of another fungus enveloping one of those russula’s and is a very choice edible, tasting of seafood

Alloclavaria purpurea

Looks a little more purple from this angle

Pretty woods

So much moss

And as I was leaving it darkened and the ferns seemed to glow

Next time, a world record spruce tree and the Tacoma Botanical Conservatory.

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ONP – Maple Glade and Lake Quinault

Back to my trip around the Olympic peninsula, where I stayed at the Lake Quinault Lodge after the last hike and a late trip into a maple forest on the north shore.

Rainforest indeed! It was a rainy afternoon with lots of moss and ferns growing everywhere, even on the trunk of this tree

The maples were done with their leaves for the year, showing off their shaggy clothes of moss

Many were several feet across and clearly very old

Only a very few colorful leaves were left, for some reason the fall season started here in the south and moved north the year I went, so I went back in time on my trip

Kestner creek bridge

Looked more like a river to me

Like a little highway through the forest

So much water that it started pooling everywhere

I loved how these mushrooms were growing on the log just above the water line

One of my favorites, sets the mood and feeling of my late visit correctly

Fun lichens

More mushrooms 🙂

Even growing on the bottom of logs suspended over the trail

Heading out towards the lake, there were some immense trees

A western red cedar

A pair of giants

And then a trio

It was really mystical with the giant trees heading down

And the sun hit that blue water just right to be a beacon

Wow, so big and pretty

Heading over to the lodge, I stayed for a very reasonable rate in nice accommodations in this very historic property

The view out the front was spectacular and I can see so many people out there in the summer

But inside the history permeated everything, almost 100 years old, you can imagine President Roosevelt discussing the creation of the national park here with officials from the state

The details even in this rustic property were stunning, from some patterns painted on the beams to the forest etching in the glass of the light

It was so very comforting to sit in front of this fire, but the deer was a bit disturbing since it was really old and I’m not a big fan of taxidermy

Next time, an even more precarious river road to Graves Creek and the end of the national park portion of the trip

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San Francisco’s Newest Park at Salesforce Transit Center

We interrupt this series on the olympic national park to bring you a more local and recent post.

I was lucky enough to be working in SF last summer and took time to go to Salesforce Park, the newest botanical garden in the west. This was about 1 week before the $1 billion bus terminal was shut down for nine months after a major support beam started tearing in half

The center is covered in this Penrose design from a famous bay area mathematician

It’s OK, but the original glass facade was much more striking

It undulates across three blocks south of the financial district

It is primarily a transit station, but until caltrain and high speed rail get up here, it’s just for buses

The buses from the east bay can take this special offramp from the bay bridge that skips a bit of traffic

From above

Not many buses at the time in this bright, clean contrast to the former bus station

A bit of an homage to the era that old station was built in


These giant boulders show you to the rooftop park, which is several acres and includes a veritable botanical garden

I recommend the elevators up and escalators down, these cages will fill in with the vines in the years ahead

A fun playground in one corner

The views up here are spectacular, with all the new soma buildings showing off. This is the leaning millennium tower

And the salesforce tower, tallest in the west coast (that one in LA doesn’t count to me, I count habitable floor height, not spires)

A japanese maple glade

Fun and weird plants were featured in several sections

I think australian

This Chile section includes puya and araucaria, very rare plants

The monkey puzzle tree is badly named, there are no primates where this grows, but the name alludes to those very sharp leaves and deadly giant spiked seed pods

Agapanthus, or lily of the nile

Cycads, very botanical garden/arboretum

Ancient plants, they produce cones and spores

Gunnera just getting started, these giant rhubarb type plants can get 10 feet tall

Tons of seating areas and lawns in the center areas, with the cool plantings along various borders and along the edge of the entire park

They had an oak grove, with both natives and old world varieties

A good contingent of California natives


Our flowering lilac and coral bells (ceanothus and heuchera)

And lovely yarrow

Even some coast redwoods

Some small flowers around as well


Along one of the grassy lawns was a palm garden with palms from all over the world

I should have recorded the different types, sorry

Loved this squat one

This regal palm was so well proportioned

Along with these mexican fan palms were more puya, I’ve been growing a bright turquoise flowering one for about five years and hope it blooms soon, these will bloom much sooner but are a less interesting purplish

All around one of the sky lights


Then there was a dry garden with very exotic flora. This is a dragon’s blood tree from the island of Socotra off of yemen, a critically endangered species prized for the blood red sap it excretes and disappearing due to changing weather patterns

There were several agave trees and australian kangaroo paw type plants

Different aloe tree


And succulents

There was even a surprise water feature

When the buses go by underneath, the fountains come up

It was very fun, but frustrating due to so few buses this time of day

Funny how they can have trees 60 feet up in the air on top of a bus station

These vines were quickly filling in

I even saw a nesting set of birds in a quiet corner!!

The bamboo was very calming

Another plaza, they had games and vendors up here, remember the dome and the tiles for later

One of many public art pieces around the park

Then I went down into the main station entrance on the first floor, the lettering was poetry flashing by, spinning around the glass in a very futuristic art installation

The tile floor is quite spectacular, so many hidden gems

The only consistency in design though was the bright color

Looking up, you can see those tiles were in fact semi-see through!

Many animals were included in the tiles, most were sparkly

And there were these bronze insects scattered about

A poppy, unfortunately some of these will be destroyed as part of the train station development below, but a solid foundation for now

Portal down into the empty box awaiting train service?

Looking up one last time at the Salesforce tower and the wonderful dome sky light

Back to Washington next time, but for now go see this wonder for yourself after the first of July

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ONP – Queets River and Sam’s Trail

On my way south down the Olympic Peninsula I was lucky enough to have gotten a 4-wheel drive truck for my trip, so I headed down some crazy roads to the upper Queets river area.

The gravel road out here bypasses a major slide where the forest service abandoned the main road along the river and goes through private timber and forest service land that had many clearcuts

I approached the river and found it very, very full and eroding its banks

That bluff was slowly giving way

Believe it or not, I’m driving on a gravelish road right here along the river, it was absolutely insane with so much water I was driving over an inch of water on top of the gravel

But then I arrived at the national park station and it was so 1930’s

Lovely lawn and trees around this cabin, not sure if still in use, most likely during the summer

I headed around this trail to hunt for more mushrooms, after my spectacular success up north earlier in the week, I was ready for more

But the forest was the real star that day, along with that raging river

So much pretty!

The vine maples near the river edge were finishing their leaf-drop

And then I found them, can you see?

Yes, more chanterelles! I love that apricot color and the intricate gills

One of the other best shots of the trip, if only I had gotten the cap more in focus

A tired, old banana slug, they loose color and get spotty as they age

More chanterelles?

Nope, these are not really edible, but not poisonous either I think

The ferns were so verdant and more than two feet high

Felt very primeval

A rainforest for sure

A lovely amanita

Another set of crystal clear pools on the forest floor

I think these were the most unexpected aspect of my trip, so pretty

I noticed this sign at the national park boundary on my way out, mildly interesting

Wish I could have crossed the river to see one of the biggest douglas fir trees in the world, but that is definitely an end of summer activity. Next time, approaching Lake Quinault

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