Written by Steve Pogge. Photos by Panorama resident, Karen Romanelli. May 2017
On May 7th, ten hearty adventurers took off from Panorama to go on a 3 day, 500 mile journey to the far reaches of the Olympic Peninsula. The trip was planned and run by Steve Pogge with Wren Wolf as his trusty assistant and botany expert. Our mission was simple: to experience firsthand the largest temperate rainforest in the world, walk the beaches of the most pristine coast line known to man, and see a few world record trees that are known to inhabit the peninsula. Not a small undertaking by any means, but one within our reach.
We were decked out with our full waterproof rain gear: our Gore-Tex pants, water resistant boots, rain proof jackets and hats. With the area getting 12 to 15 feet (not inches) of rain a year, you are pretty likely to get wet. However, our trip fell within a bizarre weather pattern that gave us sunshine, blue skies and 50 degree days (near perfect hiking temperature) for the duration of our trip.
We focused on three major rain forests: the Quinault, the Hoh, and the Sol Duc. We were not disappointed. The Forests being so close together you would expect them to be quite similar. They are not. They had their own unique special beauty and awe inspiring wonders that marveled our group of explorers.
Interspersed between these forests, we stopped at 3 renowned beaches that were also jaw dropping in their power and majesty. They were Ruby Beach, Beach #1 (south of Kalaloch) and Rialto Beach.
We based our adventure out of Forks, WA and stayed at a lovely Inn that offered each of us a bedroom, kitchen and living room. Our choice of restaurants was limited but we tried to pick the best down home eateries we could. On the education side, we incorporated into the trip not only birds and animal life but also history (both Native American and early settlers) geology and of course some facts on the ancient giants that inhabit this forest. Even for seniors, one feels young when you stand next to a 1,000 year old Sitka Spruce, an 800 year old Western Red Cedar or a 350 year old Douglas Fir. There is almost a magical feeling that takes over. Or as Al Walter puts it, “I thought I was in a Harry Potter movie.”
It was a wonderful trip and I just want to thank the participants of the week for being such great sports to push themselves to get out and experience the peninsula in a way that very few people get to do.