Monday, June 22, 2009
VALLEY OF THE GIANTS, OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK
We moved the motor home to Ocean City, WA. despite the six day forecast for rain. Instead we've had lovely days on the beach with sunshine and blue skies. Father's Day, we repaired to the nearby Quinault Loop part of the marvelous Olympic National Park comprised of 3,500 miles of rivers and streams, pounding waves on tortured beaches, stately spruce, hemlock, red cedar, sitka spruce, giant maples and douglas fir. Did I say giant maples? This area of temperate rain forest is called the Valley of the Rain Forest Giants. The world's largest living specimens of Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Yellow Cedar, and the largest tree in the world, (other than the California redwoods), is a Western Red Cedar at 63.5 feet in circumference and 174 feet tall. It isn't stately. Its a knobby old man with bumps and tears and broken parts, with life clinging to it. Its entire insides are open and I stood in awe of this massive tree and took a photo up into its broken interior that could still offer one such as me shelter if I needed it.
Nearby giants are diminished by this masterful tree, but they, too, comprise this impressive and diverse wilderness with its complex mosaic of trees and under story.
Heraclitus once said: "You cannot step twice into the same river." Well, you can't visit this living and breathing masterpiece without a sense of respect and awe.
I'm thankful for this treasure. I became conscious of World Heritage Sites while traveling in Europe and appreciated the premise that some places are so special, so beautiful and irreplaceable, they are world treasures and must be protected for the whole world to see and appreciate. Consequently, all countries who comprise this identity chip in to help keep these places in good shape. Think Taj Mahal, The Louvre, Sistine Chapel. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Olympic National Park in the State of Washington is globally recognized as an International Biosphere Reserve AND a World Heritage Site. Right in my back yard and I didn't even know about it.
For more pictures of this place click on the link: http://picasaweb.google.com/1579penn/OlympicNationalPark#