Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sol Duc Falls, Olympic National Park

Sol Duc Falls, Olympic National Park, WA
( taken from the foot bridge)
The hike: 1.8 miles round trip, with easy ups and downs

Do you underestimate easy hikes? We don't. We do not choose our hikes because they are the most challenging and most strenuous, or the opposite. Rather, we choose our hikes on scenic rewards. Others will skip an easy hike, such as this one probably, not knowing the rewards they would miss.   

The trail to Sol Duc Falls is one of those easy hikes that is filled with ohs and ahs from trail head to destination. The trail head was beautifully adorned with rhododendrons, 
Beautiful Pacific Rhododenron inside the Forest
and the trail meanders through old-growth forest.
Sol Duc Falls Trail
Sol Duc Falls trail is actually a get-away to a number of more ambitious trails. Those who are into backpacking can apply for wilderness permit, carry their camping gear, and continue to hike further up the mountain. There were several streams to cross in the trail, and at one point, we were so awed by the flowing stream on mossy rocks that we spent some time taking pictures, nourishing our spirits with inspirations from nature.

With the very low light inside the forest, I had to shoot with longer exposure. Since we were lazy to check in our luggage, we decided to only carry what is allowed for carry on, and that meant leaving behind our tripod and trekking poles too. Without a tripod, it was very challenging to take decent picture without camera shake. I made my own tripod by kneeling down and putting my elbow down on the ground. I was in that position to take the picture below, when a well meaning older guy passed by and told me,
 Some of the Streams We had to Cross, with mossy rocks

 "continue will see more wonder".

I responded: "thanks...I know, but I can not let this wonder passed me too. It is very seldom I see rocks so green with moss." 

We exchanged smile, and I believe we understood each other. A lot of times, when I hike, I do not focus on the destination only, but also on what I see around. This makes my hike and my experience more meaningful for me. From this stream, a few more steps beyond we started to hear the roaring waterfalls. We know it can not be anymore from small creeks, but must be from Sol Duc River. With excitement, we continued to follow the forested trail,
    Sol Duc Trail in the Midst of Old Growth Forest
until we finally reached the bridge, which probably has the best viewing for Sol Duc Falls. The first picture of the waterfall above, the picture of the Sol Duc Trail in the Midst of Old Growth Forest and the picture below were all taken from the bridge. 
Sol Duc Falls from the Foot Bridge
Here, even with very low light, I did not have to use myself as the tripod to take this picture, all I did was used the railings of the bridge for camera support to avoid camera shake. The bridge is supposed to be the end of the trail for those hiking to Sol Duc Falls only, while the trail continues to other points of interest. The thundering sound of the waterfall however was attracting us to cross the bridge, curious if how the falls look like at the other end of the trail. 
Sol Duc Falls from Past the Bridge
It was amazing to see the water falling from the river and then, crashing against the rocks producing a roaring sound like that of a thunder. We continued a little further up the river to see what the waterfall is like, and here are some more pictures.
Me, Photographing Sol Duc Fall ( the tree was my support)
Sol Duc Falls and Bridge
The sound of the river and the waterfall, and the shelter of the forest was so relaxing for us that we stayed long here in the river. We enjoyed taking photos of each other, probably you could tell we are not only family of hikers, but also family of photography loving people. 
Our Kind of Family Fun

Definitely, we enjoyed family togetherness at Sol Duc Falls, having the time of our lives. We almost forget the time until we saw from a distant haze from camp fire. Some campers were emptying their picnic backpacks, their tents well put up, and had started a fire. We looked at our watch, and realized it was getting late and time for us to head back to the trail head.
Sad It May Be To Leave This Forest, But We Have to Get Back to the Trailhead

The light inside the forest was getting dimmer and dimmer. How I wished we were like those campers too that would be enjoying this forest at night. But since we were no campers, we had to rush to our place of lodging, which was in Forks, Washington. In my Twilight room at Forks, I dreamed of sleeping here, 
Mossy Tree 

with the mossy tree as our handsome guards. Let me end this post with a quote from Mother Teresa....
"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature- trees, flowers, grass- grow in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence....We need silence to be able to touch souls." - Mother Teresa

Sol Duc Falls Location: Sol Duc Falls is within Olympic National Park, Washington. It is between two little touristy towns serving Olympic National Park visitors. To the East is Port Angeles, about 40 miles, and to the West is Forks, also about 40 miles. The closest lodging from Sol Duc Falls is Lake Crescent Lodge, about 20 miles East. However, we considered Forks as our lodging place because it is centered where most of our desired hikes in Olympic National Park. 
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  1. I like seeing the silky white flow of water. I must make another trip to photograph waterfalls at a forest reserve...which I missed the other time due to rain.

  2. The waterfall is serene! What a place to be!

  3. You've covered most of the earth's beauties with your stunning photos..

  4. "continue will see more wonder".

    Yes, I'll continue on.

    And I'll use your tips while going on and on.

  5. Wow...the purple flowers are so gorgeous and the little streams...they are so surreal. are living in heaven. :D

  6. The moss trees have such a wonderful feel to them, Betchai. Your waterfall photos are stunning!

  7. 1.8 miles sounds like a lovely hike, that won't leave you in bed the rest of the week LOL. What a beautiful place to hike.

  8. Wow, that is some amazing waterfall! I don't think I have seen one like that. You're making me nervous standing on the slippery edge like that.

  9. Such a beautiful place. The moss that's on everything is special. And the waterfall is great. The quote at the end is perfect. That's exactly the way I think about nature.

  10. Bets, thanks for showing us the place beyond our reach. The mossy tree is beautiful and the waterfalls are out of this world. This is my kind of vacation!

    How brave of you to be leaning on the edge!

    I have enjoyed each and every photo!

  11. Nice recap of what happened... And the quote at the end, it reminds me of what I always say, "I can never be alone with nature." For in the midst of it is a silence full of music, wonder and tranquility that brings me closer to God. - RCA

  12. Sol Duc Falls is awesome! I love the multiple layers of the waterfall. Must be very slippery around there.

  13. I love the rhododendron. They don't turn that color here. It is beautiful.

  14. I love the mossy tree, Betchai! :-)

  15. Those are humongous trees, betchai! and look at u taking pictures from atop,wasn't it scary that u could slip?you're one adventurous soul i envy,lol!

  16. Awwwwww... falls! Love them. Someday I will take hundreds of photos of falls... the only question is... when am I decided to go hiking. wink*

  17. So very pretty the white color surrounded by greenery. I absolutely love and afraid of the falls at the same time.

  18. "A lot of times, when I hike, I do not focus on the destination only, but also on what I see around."- love this line reflects your outlook in life, i am so happy i can finally post comments here hehehehe, and yah i am bathing in blue!

  19. OH MY! Rhododenrons are so gorgeous! Reminds me of a poem, too, by Gary Snyder.

  20. You trailed the beautiful place wherein you took these pictures with gusto. Such a bonding with your family.

  21. These pictures make me want to just lie down in the grass and breathe in all that oxygen rich air...

  22. beautiful place, fresh air to breath in, i love nature too, we go camping and hiking once in a while :)

  23. Whew the oh so green moss on the rocks and trees is so refreshing a sight! Wishing next time you could go camping there and I could join you! I could almost hear the wonderful sound of the falls calling out to me!

  24. Love these AteB, reminds me of the Black Water Falls here in WV.

  25. i envy you most for being with nature and take amazing pictures. my goal this coming 2014 is to go somewhere every weekend and atleast explore malaysia first and travel more and see nature like you

  26. This is amazing, you are right, we shouldn't underestimate easy hikes for there are still great rewards that we can find / see along the trail. the falls are magnificent..and the trail man! it seems like always spring there.

  27. Words once more escaped me! I so love your kind of family fun and adventure, Te Betchai. Everything is simple breathtaking!

  28. Stunning photography! I like the mossy tree, something that grows with time

  29. Wow! I really like all your pictures Sis :-) My family will love this activity :-) The flower is really beautiful :-) The falls is inviting as well :-)

  30. The more I see your outdoor adventures, the more I desire to move out of New York. You see, you can do this kind of treks year round in San Diego. Here, everything is on hold until, the weather gets better.

    Beautiful pics once more. Can I join you next time? (lol)

  31. Wooooooooooooooooo! I would love to do hiking there! So beautiful!