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Hiking to the Largest Spruce Tree at Lake Quinault

Photo Lake Quinault

 Photo Lake Quinault

February 11, 2005

Driving further north on US Highway 101, I saw the sign pointing to Lake Quinault via the South Shore Road. (For some reason, Lake Quinault brings to mind the annoying local TV commercial jingle telling us about the things we can do "at Quinault Beach". Quinault Beach Resort and Casino is actually located to the southeast in Ocean Shores and run by the Quinault Indian Nation. The Quinault Indian Nation consists of the Quinault and Queets tribes and descendants of five other coastal tribes, Quileute, Hoh, Chehalis, Chinook, and Cowlitz.) Visiting expensive resorts and similar facilities did not appeal to me, but I thought I would take this detour as the sign seemed to indicate that this would be a scenic loop drive down old state highway 9 along the south shore of Lake Quinault. The question was, would I end up on the north shore and back on to US Highway 101? Before too long, I wouldn't be too sure..

The view of Lake Quinault was great, but as expected, it was also the home of expensive looking private cabins, lodges and resorts and other facilities. It would be nice to own a home alongside the lake, but I suspect a lakeside home would be out of my price range. As such, I did not see a stop alongside the lake that appealed to me, although I did stop near a store to park for a few minutes, take in the view of the lake and take a few pictures. I did see a sign alongside the road advertising the world's largest spruce tree, so I thought I would make that my Lake Quinault stop.


Photo Large Spruce Tree

Clip Art HikerDriving further down this scenic highway, I did encounter the sign pointing the way to the largest spruce tree. Getting to the tree involves a hike of about 15 minutes down a trail that is part of the Quinault National Recreational Trail System. The trails provide opportunities for bird watching, nature study and viewing rain forest scenery, streams and falls. My dad was an avid hiker, and my avid interest in hiking dates back to my earliest memories as a child when I went hiking with my dad. There was not time for real hiking on this trip, so I made a mental note to return here when I have time for a hiking trip of a couple days.


Photo Large Spruce Tree

Photo Large Spruce Tree

Lake Quinault and the Quinault Rain Forest are framed by the Quinault Valley, which has been referred to as the "Valley of Rain Forest Giants". One of these rain forest giants is the world's largest spruce tree. It is located down the short trail just past the Rain Forest Resort Village's general store on the South Shore Road. Viewing the tree evokes deep thought about the shortness of our individual life span as compared to the 1000 year life span of this tree, and yet human history tells stories of times before this tree existed and times since. It makes one wonder what life might have been like in the rain forest on the shore of Lake Quinault among the Indians when this tree was born about 1000 years ago.


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