Thursday, August 11, 2011
Lake Crescent

   As the tide comes in, brown pelicans and seagulls waddle in the sand and float on the waves. A dog paddles around the cove and jumps through the water, a picture of unbounded joy. There is always a happy dog on the beach. I love this beach! This is a real beach - wild, strewn with logs and seaweed and shells and the water rough, too rough and dangerous to swim.
   After Forks the landscape changes to river valley with lush green farms and horses and cows. We pass up the Ozette exit as a detour too far and continue on. Around a bend in the road Lake Crescent appears sparkling in the sunlight, nestled between mountains and surrounded by forest.
   The road to Sol Duc Falls is slowed by construction. We don't want to wait, so we turn around and drive toward Hurricane Ridge outside Port Angeles. More construction and another long wait, but we finally wind up the mountain road to reach Hurricane Ridge. The Olympic Mountains rise in a string of white ridges. We are surrounded by fields of wildflowers: lupine, spring beauties, glacial lilies, avalanche lilies. Deer cross the parking lot and graze on the mountain slopes. Chipmunks scamper over logs. There are several short trails from the Visitors Center, some sections still covered by snow. From Sunrise Ridge we look down into the valleys and east to the Cascades. We can see Port Angeles and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to British Columbia.
   The sun has almost set at Lake Crescent Lodge. Small, white cottages shaded by tall pines form a line to the main lodge. Small children still play on the narrow beach, carrying pails and shovels while their parents watch from the dock. Lake Crescent is settled in thick, old growth forest , where Douglass squirrels run up and down giant fir and hemlock trees. Built in 1916, the main lodge with its old fashioned sun porch and wood paneled lobby, glows in the moonlight. At the end of a long day, we walk along the lake and relax in the Adirondack chairs by the lake, taking in the view as the sun disappears behind the mountains.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2011