Friday, April 14, 2006

But-did it make a sound?

I can only imagine what kind of sound this huge old-growth cedar made when it came crashing to the ground this winter. The Olympic Peninsula was hit with some good wind storms this winter. Coupled with heavy amounts of rain (and snow) and you have the perfect mix for landslides and tree upheavals.

Hey, it's part of nature. Fact: wind is the number one force in the Olympic Old Growth Forests that keep the process of succession moving along. When was the last time a big fire swept through the Hoh? A volcano blew in the Bailey Range? A little critter infested an entire mature stand of fir in the Quinault?

It's wind that keeps the circle of life going in these majestic and climax forests. But, for hikers these wind storms (and accompanying deluges) can cause real havoc on our favorite trails. The above photo was taken on the Big Creek Trail in the Quinault Rainforest. This popular trail (providing access to the Skyline Trail) was hit hard with a massive slide that had 500 year old cedars turned upside down. The trail crews have their work cut out for them this season. And God knows if the Feds are going to release any extra soldi to help get the job done. In the meanwhile-plan for some major speed bumps when hiking the Olympics this year. You can get around that slide-but boy is it a doozy-prepare for a good workout!

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