Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Grove of the Patriarchs

My last Rainier hike had the biggest trees - Western red cedars, Western hemlocks, and Douglas firs - that I have ever seen, outside of the redwoods at Muir Woods. The Grove of the Patriarchs nature trail wanders along the Ohanapecosh River, crossed the river on a cool “one person at a time” suspension bridge, circles through a small grove of giants, and returns the way it came. The trees are too large to get the full scope of them with a typical camera. The trail a mile and a half round trip and gains less than 100 feet in elevation. It was fairly crowded due to the jaw-dropping trees, the short length, and the easy trail conditions.

It is amazing to think that hundreds of years ago, this type of old growth forest would have covered thousands of square miles of this part of the world. Some of these trees are estimated to be 1,000 years old. They were gigantic when the Declaration of Independence was being signed.

In this case, pictures will do better than my words in describing the area, so here are a series of photos of the walk in, the river, the suspension bridge, and the Grove of the Patriarchs. After this point, I gave my emergency matches to someone, repacked my stuff, got out clean clothes to change into for the flight home, and started driving to the Seattle area. It was a great 2.5 days of hiking here, and of seeing Nature’s beauty in a new place.

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