Camping ONP with Tarzan (II)
Waking up on day 2 of our camping trip in the middle of a small new growth forest with no one around was great. Advantages of not camping in a camp site include no neighboring campers making noises while packing their tent or cooking breakfast, no strange footsteps treading by one’s tent suspiciously making creaking sounds, no camping fee, and one feels truly amongst nature. Perhaps that’s why the hardcore true campers would choose wilderness camping.
I disliked in the past camping because of all the hassle one has to deal with just to be outdoors. Most of my girlfriends refuse to go camping because of the lack of access to facilities. I am content with no shower up to three days, could be longer without companions but I haven’t tried. Going potty in nature is one of the most appreciated and liberating experience in my opinion. It’s cleaner, smells better, fantastic better views, no touch, AND one contributes back to nature. The only problem I have is frequent mosquito attacks on my exposed sweet derrière while in a very vulnerable position. Ten seconds are more than sufficient for lethal hits and there has never been an exception.
After breakfast, we drove up north from Lake Ozette to Capt Flattery, the west most point of mainland US. There was again a short board walk hike to the view points. It was a busy spot. I was happy to be able to find other SLR carrying hikers to take pictures for Peter and I. Alas, the pictures turned up horrid either with us out of focus or had completely no sense of composition. Peter’s one arm self portrait, with some PS meddling, turned out to be the best of the lot. I am content. Upon arriving at the final view platform, I was relieved to find no tacky giant buoy sculpture painted in bold colors and large letters “west most point” as was the case in Key West, Florida.
Despite of busy traffic and limited access to the sea shore, Cape Flattery was truly gorgeous. The greenish cerulean blue ocean laced with white caps swayed and bounced off of giant dark rocks on the shoreline. Atop these tall dark cliffs were evergreen trees extending the hill tops even further towards the sky. One could take up a spot facing the ocean breeze and meditate about life philosophy or nothing. It would have been a purifying experience of the spirit and mind. Perhaps Tarzan would forgo swinging in the branches and become a Zen poet.
After some pleasant small chats with fellow hikers from nearby East WA to Maryland, we left Cape Flattery looking for a peaceful escape, headed for Hoh Rainforest. The drive was mesmerizing, making curves along milky aqua marine Hoh River, with the river only insight once in a while through breaks of trees. We made a pit stop at Salmon Cascades to take some pictures. Coincidentally a large family was also making their pit stop except at this stop, the mother and her two daughters were diving into the icy emerald green at the bottom of the rapids. The three men from the family stood on the side to take pictures and failed because their camera battery died. Mom went first and her daughters followed. It little one took a very long time to finally jump, but after her first dive, she wanted to go again! Brave and adventurous spirits propagate in the women of the family.
I took some sequences of rapid firing shots and then another two hours to stitch the individual shots together in photoshop. It was only afterwards did I realize that I had ventured into sequence action photography, something I’ve never tried before and it was only through experimentation that I had found the right method to do it by creating masks and layers. I need to figure out how to choose the layers to overlap others. Here’s another sequence with daughter’s dive.
It took a while, but we finally made our way to Hoh Rain Forest around mid-afternoon. Seriously I have lost track of time riding in the Bronco allowing my eyes to soak in all shades of green. The forest was much more mesmerizing than I remembered. It’s a moss lover’s oasis. Due to lack of time we only went on the couple of short hikes around the visitor center. The “hikes” were a bit crowded at times but every turn, every pocket of sunlight in the forest looked like scenes from a fairy tale book. I tried and tried but couldn’t get a shot I really like. So watch this short video clip for a better experience.
Day three, we visited Sol Duc Falls. I’ve been confused for a long time why a waterfall’s name is often pluralized. Triplet Falls, Ponytail Falls, Snoqualmie Falls… It’s as if the names contain hopes for the waterfalls to run forever. Falling is just a present tense.
The forest around Sol Duc was beautiful. I couldn’t taking pictures but found the contrasting lighting in the forest extremely difficult. Some spots would be in the shadow while others in extreme light. I lingered by the waterfall for a very long time trying to get some HDR shots. The trail passing Sol Duc lead to Seven Lakes. The beginning was steep with only a few people hiking on it. We drank water from springs along side of the trail. We caught scant sights of bigger and faster waterfalls high up in the mountains roaring downhill. After many switch backs and crossing snow fields, we finally had to turn around because Peter wasn’t wearing shoes for the snow. We’ll be back!
The weekend long trip ended in an even longer drive home. We were rested but exhausted at the same time. This new relationship between Tarzan and Jane survived the mountains. Now is time to return to civilization where their relationship is to be challenged with the more boring daily grinds.