Sunday, June 27, 2010

Twin Firs Loop

After my disappointing aborted hike on the way up Mt. Beljica, I drove the steep and torturous gravel road back down the steep grades the afternoon of June 27. The five or so miles took nearly a half hour as I concentrated completely on the driving so as to not trash my rental car. At one point there were twin boulders on each side of the road with inches to spare on either side of the car. I am not even sure how a truck or SUV could get through there. But one couple was camped out along a remote mountain stream with their pickup.

I got back on to the main road and headed east. The Longmire entrance was just a few miles away, and I headed into the park. My first hike in the park was going to be the short and easy Twin Firs loop, a half mile interpretive nature trail through a forest of large trees.

The interesting thing about this pretty hike was not only the living forest, but the giant trees that were now slowly decaying logs, putting their nutrients back into the soil (and their carbon back into the atmosphere). The trees were beautiful, and it was like walking through a magnificent cathedral designed and built by God. As I walked along, there was an interesting mix of the big dead logs, huge living trees, and the young growth that will become the giant trees of the future, if Mount Rainier doesn’t erupt in their lifetime.

Here are a few photos from the Twin Firs hike. In this first, I set my camera for a self photo, and posed against a large downed tree.
This picture gives a sense of the easy trail, and also shows the various components I wrote about: dead trees, large living trees, and the future generations.
I laid my Tilly hat along this tree's base to give you a sense of scale. My hat is just over a foot in diameter.

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