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John Tangney | profile | all galleries >> Mt. Rainier & Olympic NPs, Aug 23-26, 2020 >> Hurricane Ridge and Kalaloch Area, Aug 24-25, 2020 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Hurricane Ridge and Kalaloch Area, Aug 24-25, 2020

We set up our trailer at Port Angeles KOA then headed up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Unfortunately, it was rather hazy with clouds constantly blowing along and over the ridge. Still we got some shots of the Olympic Mountains, including Mt. Olympus (7,980 ft.). Then we saw some Columbian Black-Tailed Deer on the trip down. Next, at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, down near the bottom of the road that went up to Hurricane Ridge, there is a short 1/2 mile loop trail, Peabody Loop Trail, that dogs are allowed on, so we took our dog, Maizy for a hike there. The next morning we were going to hike to Sol Duc Falls, but the parking lot was full with nowhere to park. We were hoping to find both a parking space, with shade so we could go on the hike (dogs not allowed here), but since we couldn't find suitable parking, we continued on past Crescent Lake to our next night's camping at Bogachiel State Park. After parking the trailer, we first headed down to the Kalaloch Ranger Station to get our dog, Maizy, registered as a "Bark Ranger". She gets a nice medallion for her collar with that. Then we stopped at the beach behind Kalaloch Campground to see the "Tree of Life". Basically, all the soil under the tree washed out a number of years ago, but the tree is clinging to life by the roots on either side. Then finally, we headed to the Hoh Rain Forest (next gallery) before heading back to our campsite at Bogachiel State Park. Here is what a park botanist said about the "Tree of Life":

Most of those tangled exposed roots are structural - they have bark and serve primarily to hold the tree up like the tangled twigs of a raptor's nest. They are still mostly alive or the tree would have collapsed long ago as dead roots decay. The parts of the root system that anchor the tree in the bluff are the actively growing tips with fine root hairs that pull moisture and nutrients from the soil.

In general with conifers, the extent of the root system below ground is roughly the same as the extent of the canopy above ground. That doesn't leave this tree with much margin for erosion...

I've never cored the tree but I don't think it's super old - maybe 150-200 years, 350 at most. The bonsai shape is the result of sculpting by strong, salt-laden winds off the adjacent Pacific - the tree's adaptation so that it doesn't get blown over by a winter storm.
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