Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Olympic National Park

What a great place. I started by driving from Bremerton up to Port Angeles, a beautiful hilly at the north end of Washington and right on the water. I visited the main vistior center there and got some advice on where to go for the next couple of days (I always reccomend visitng the information center's at national parks - they are very helpful. From Port Angeles I took 101 to the Mora Campground at Lapush stopping insdie the park for some great hiking. First I took the 2 mile hike down to the large and surpisingly powerful (for this time of year) Marymere Falls then drove a little further and took a 1.5 mile hike to Sol Duc Falls. Sol Duc Falls was fantastic. The river leading into the falls had 3 very large rocks creating essentially 3 seperate waterfalls all coming down at once.

The interior of Olympic NP is rainforest. Its really beautiful and reminds me of the scenes from Avatar. Some people have been getting depressed after seeing Avatar, because they want to live there. Seriously. . . I don't think its about the natural beauty for these people (they could get beautiful rainforests in many places). Its more about the lack of a rule based culture. Freud had a theory (proposed in Civilization and its Discontents) that the reason so many of us civilized people fantasized about "making it in the wilderness" was because the rules, economics, etc of modern culture had so weighed us down that we needed to fantasize about a kind of wilderness society (like avatar). However, in the wake of Marcell Mauss (and plenty of similar research) its become clear that even the most "primitve" of peoples have always lived in rule based socities complete with commodities, spiritual rules, social rules, etc. And those rules are no less complexity or depth than our own (apologies to the very funny movie "The God's Must Be Crazy"). I guess the depressed could try to go it in the wilderness alone, but that's not a very good option either. They're stuck (and to some degree we're all stuck . . . reminiscing about a past that probably never existed.

After the hikes I went to Lapush and stayed at the Mora Campground. The Rialto beach there was incredible. It was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to see. Fast waves. Big rocks jumping out of the ocean. Fantastic.

The next day I drove down to the HoH Rainforest area. I've been noticing that maintaining trails in a rainforest is a real problem. The rain and flooding can wipe them away at any moment. The constant rain also seems to create puddles in the trails which people inevitably try to walk around, which widens the area and seems to erode the area (although maybe that’s not as big of a deal in a rainforest).

After HoH I saw the Ruby beach was another fantastic rocky beach. It was probably cooler than LaPush.

La Push

Sol Duc Falls

Ruby Beach

Trees growing on a fallen tree, apparently this is a common here. Competition is very fierce so the decomposing nutrients and warmth make a good nursery for seeds.


  1. These pictures are awesome. I don't see why National Geographic isn't seeking you out.

  2. Ah, reminiscing about a past that never existed, my favorite activity. Today it's snowing in Helena... does that make you nostalgic for the times we used to go sledding and then come home and Carolyn had made hot chocolate for us while we sat by the fire? Good times...

    Glad you liked Olympic! I loved it there so much! Also, today your electric razor part came and also an acceptance from GW, congratulations!

  3. Wow John, awesome photos! I love Sol Duc Falls- so beautiful! Sounds like you are having some great times exploring nature and doing lots of great reflections.

  4. "we needed to fantasize about a kind of wilderness society (like avatar)"... socialist