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Getting Lost on Gravel Roads for Spectacular Views

February 11, 2005

Although the world's largest spruce tree can evoke thoughts that causes one to pause and take in the surroundings, it was time to move on. At this point, I debated whether to go back the way I came or to continue along the South Shore Road. My adventurous streak kicked in and I continued down this road to places totally strange and unknown. I asked myself if I would make it to the other side of the lake. Before too long, I encountered the end of the paved road and the start of a gravel road. As the sign on US Highway 101 had indicated that this was a scenic loop, I continued on hoping for the best.

Driving down this road brought back memories of riding strange gravel roads in the mountains with my dad. Such roads can become quite narrow with no room to turn around and take you along dangerous turns where there is nowhere to go but the narrow road or the steep embankment. My dad's unique sense of humor would have him driving precariously along such roads making us young ones wonder if we would make it to the other side of the road or if we might get a first hand view of the forest far down the embankment. Fortunately, we never did get that first hand view, as I did survive to take this trip.

Photo Quinault Gravel Roads

Photo Quinault Gravel Roads

Photo Quinault Gravel Roads

Photo Quinault Gravel Roads

Today's trip along the gravel road took me to views of the Quinault River, rain forest vegetation and the snowcapped Olympic Mountains. The signs indicated that this unpaved road would continue for 8 miles, so I braved the dust to see the spectacular views and hoped that eventually I would end up back on US Highway 101. After 8 miles, there was a brief break to the gravel but the road continued on. I was starting to wonder if it was a wise move to take this road, but at this point there was a turn in the road, so I took that turn to see where it would lead me.

I was relieved to see a sign indicating that it was 15 miles to US Highway 101. This road would take me down more gravel road and some of the most spectacular views of this one day road trip.

Photo Quinault Gravel Roads

Not too long after this turn, I encountered some large animals in a field alongside the road. It turns out that this part of the rainforest is also home to Roosevelt Elk, named after Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States.

After taking in views of the Roosevelt Elk, the Olympic Mountains and various creeks feeding the Quinault River, I ended up on the North Shore Road, taking me past the Lake Quinault Resort, more private cabins and vacation rentals and back on to US Highway 101. The next stop would be the Pacific Ocean!


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