Seaquest is a 475-acre park offering year-round camping, including some pretty nice yurts to stay in (and you get the entertainment of saying "yurt"). The park includes a 1-mile boardwalk through the wetlands at the edge of Silver Lake where you can also visit the first of several Mt. St. Helens visitor centers. You can see the mountain (if it isn't wrapped in clouds, which it usually is) in the distance beyond the lake, but it's not exactly close to the mountain. They were a little over-zealous building visitor centers after the 1980 eruption.
Back to the park, there is a trail system of about 6 miles (according to the Washington State Parks website, though I could swear there's more) ranging far and wide through the park. It's the kind of park I like, with only a few trails and wide, untouched swaths of forest preserved for future generations. While there are many larger trees in other parks and forests, Seaquest has enough trees with a 6-9 foot diameter to make this place feel like a cathedral of nature.
|The furrows in the bark of this Douglas fir are 4-6 inches deep.|
|The tree in the middle is at least 8 feet in diameter at the base, and towers to great heights.|
|One of the things I missed most while living on the east coast were the towering evergreens.|
I rarely walk the trails this early in the year, as there are sections of the trail that can be almost impassable from our months of rain, but after over a week of warm, dry days the trails were firm enough for a walk. That and I really needed to get away from the house (and the endless weeding, hey we all need a break sometimes).
Besides the behemoth trees, I am incredibly grateful to be back in the land of moss.
|I forget if this was a vine maple or beaked hazelnut, both natives that assume an arching, almost vine-like appearance in shade. But would you look at those gloriously moss-covered branches?|
|This stump was at least 9 feet across and had rotted into 3 sections, each with red huckleberry growing from the top.|
While the east coast may boast more spring ephemerals and more diversity overall, the Pacific Northwest has some pretty cool spring flowers, too.
|Trillium ovatum, Western Wake Robin, is almost indistinguishable from the eastern native Trillium grandiflorum. Seriously, even the experts (the kind who write keys on the genus) have trouble telling them apart.|
Since these are almost impossible to establish in the garden (and such attempts should ONLY be made with plants grown by a reputable nursery that doesn't dig plants from the wild) I appreciate the fairy slipper all the more for its wild beauty.
|The typical color form|
|The name fairy slipper comes from the shape of the pouch-like lip and the petals flaring back like fairy wings.|
|A beautiful amber-colored form.|
|This flower looked darker in real life and on my camera screen, more amber than the cream color it appears on my computer screen.|