<< A Taste of Home

11/19/07 - A Visit to the Spruce Railroad Trail

There was a big windstorm last week. We were lucky and got by with a fifteen minute power outage followed by a six hour DSL outage. West of Port Angeles power was out for days, and even some people in town had to wait days for the lights to come back on. The PUD, and the town electrical people, were running ragged. Trees were down all over the place, and the roads were a mess.

Even now, the park is still digging out. Hurricane Ridge Road is still closed, largely due to downed trees. We decided to take one of the more accessible trails at Lake Crescent, so we set out for the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north side of the lake. We didn't get far before our first obstacle. There was a big tree with lots of branches down across the trail (see the photo below). This did not bode well. We figured that we'd be clambering under and over tree trunks the entire walk, but we figured wrong. We actually made it three miles down the trail, to the "point", as we call it, and there were four, maybe five, trees down across the trail in all.

For our efforts, we were rewarded with the silvery lake, and some fantastic views of the mountains to the south. You can see the river clouds hanging over the Barnes Creek Valley in the photo to the right. There was a touch of snow on Storm King, but no solid snow line. There were lots of downed branches, and that gave us a wonderful opportunity. Rain forest trees, especially the big old maples, are covered with lichens, moss, Spanish moss, little ferns and the like, but these can be hard to see except rather low on the tree. There's just an overall impression of life and green-ness. With all the branches down, we got a better view. Below and to the right, there's a photo of a rather common lichen. It looks like a bunch of leaves, but the back is white. The algae get the sunny side and the funghi get the shady side, and they do very nicely together.

Clouds over the valley

This is the worst of the four or five trees across the trail

It looks like leaves, but it's windfall lichen

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, storm king, trails, barnes creek