Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Beauty Behind the Curtain

We arrived in the dark to Lake Quinault Lodge, unsure of much of what we might find in the daylight of the next morning. Sure, only, that we were still in the land of the very tall trees, their towering dark forms following us down the coast from Kalaloch, inland —a narrow, untraveled road winding between them.

By morning, the expected fog had settled into the valley, leaving us looking out upon nothing but white. The chairs on the sloping lawn beyond the dining room, arranged as if in a theatre, facing the curtain—a lake, unseen, beyond.
Certainly there must be some beauty here--some reason people are drawn to look out.
But what upon?

Breakfast passed.
Sweet Potato Pancakes with hazelnut butter,
Applewood chicken sausage
and Starbucks coffee.
Then a stroll down the hill to the water’s edge, the lake still waiting behind fog.


canoes and kayaks on the shore on a foggy morning
Lake Quinault


Wilson's Warbler gleaning insects from spider webs on shore

pretty purple at water's edge


rowboat in fog

In a green Old Town canoe much like ours at home, we paddled out across the glassy surface. Almost like a skater’s blade on an icy pond--effortless. In the quiet stillness of evergreen mountains, a loon's call through the mist from the opposite shore.
The curtain was lifting.

From every side we were surrounded, in dense hemlock, spruce and fir, some a thousand years old, the world's giants. Gravel arms reached out from hidden coves where small streams fed clean, clear water beneath us, before dropping deeply into the glacier-carved basin.
A blue sky, now, transparent above as the water below.

At the far end of the lake we came upon colored sands, of pumpkin, rust and deep red. Indeed, every thing that touched upon the water here, had been tinted in warm, glowing tones.

Iron (?) deposits on sand and stones near inlet of Quinault River

rust-colored sand bubbling on banks

Western Sandpiper feeding on sandy shore


And to the north, stands of Red Alder, like birch, their white bark bright in the evergreen woods.
A landscape painted in blues, dressed in lively shades of green.


We stopped for our lunch on a clean gravel bank, and pulled the canoe just far enough onto the shore to not lose it.
The faintest breeze, welcome.
The day now, warm, as we peeked out from under shady branches.


Then crossed the 2-mile width, back to the base of Quinault Lodge.
The chairs on the sloping lawn, full of spectators in this theatre of wild, natural beauty.

looking east toward Colonel Bob Wilderness



Lake Quinault from Hwy 101

sitting in the lap of the world's largest spruce tree
Lake Quinault, Washington

all photos click to enlarge


See more Skywatch here.

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66 comments:

bobbie said...

Sounds so beautiful, and your photos make it evident that it is as beautiful as you make it sound. Really lovely pictures.

Rebeckah said...

Amazing photography! Each picture is so beautiful! And those pancakes sound 'to-die-for!'

NCmountainwoman said...

So calming and peaceful. One can almost hear the paddles quietly ripple the water as you glide through. Wonderful photographs of a very lovely place. I can hear the sounds and smell the smells.

scienceguy288 said...

I love kayaking. It is one of my favorite pasttimes. I love your photos. They are so eerily beautiful.

Adventure girl wanna be said...

Something about your writing gets me. For some reason I thought of the movie "On golden pond" while reading parts of this.
I wish I lived near you so I could go with you~hehehehe!
Stunning, stunning shots and colors.
Thank you for sharing!

DCup said...

Your writing is beautiful. It matches your images.

Cicero Sings said...

We stayed at that lodge ... a few years ago now! Beautiful photography.

marina said...

Extraordinary photos!!!

The Tile Lady said...

What a lovely, lovely place! Your images and words take us there with you...one can feel the stillness of the morning and see the glassy lake. Nature is such a comfort, enveloping the traveler in its soft embrace.

Weeping Sore said...

What a peaceful and beautiful place. Your text accompanies the photos so beautifully, I could feel my heartbeat slowing down and my breathing deepening. I particularly like the photo of the skyline reflected in the lake: it looks like a Rorschach test picture.

Wren said...

Beautiful pictures, beautiful place.

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

amazing colours in your photos - the first shot almost looks as if a rainbow is sitting on the ground!

Louise said...

Wow! You sure do some incredible things with water and sky. Wonderful post!

Yen said...

WOW! Such beautiful photos and it does looks like an amazing place to visit!~Mine is posted HERE too. Happy SWF!~

Roses and Lilacs said...

All of the photos are beautiful. I love the first. So tranquil and serene.
Marnie

Reader Wil said...

Your photos are really stunning! Very beautiful I enjoyed seeing them.

ChrisC and JonJ said...

I love the photo of the canoes!!
BEautiful pictures!

Ivar Ivrig said...

Interesting, beautiful, stunning pics. Wonderful SWF :-)

Photo Cache said...

You are a fantastic photographer. I particularly fell in love with the canoe pic.

mirage2g said...

A spectacular display of blueness! Love them...especially the foggy photo! Happy skywatching! - Viennadaily

jaejae said...

i've always believed that photos are taken by keen eyes & framed by the mind behind it. your shots are definitely good examples of that!

Alan said...

Wonderful photos & story!

vincibene said...

Wonderful series!

Pam Croom said...

After I got past that no one was going to serve me your breakfast; I scrolled on through and...well...wow! I could once again smell the northwest! Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Wide western expanses are difficult to photograph. I was always apologizing and explaining that, "It is bigger and better than this picture." You captured the northwest beautifully.

OK, I still haven't gotten over the sweet potato pancakes with hazelnut butter!

Kim said...

So much to see, great job on all of your photos.

Carletta said...

A wonderful photo essay! These are varied and gorgeous. My favorite is the colored canoes in the mist.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Wonderful series of photos for Sky Watch, Nina, and poetic commentary to go with them. Thanks!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a beautiful lake and surroundings behind that curtain. That spruce tree is unimaginable.

reluctantfarmchik said...

Your shots are almost as yummy as your breakfast! lovely pictures, well captured.

Sara G said...

Great great photo's.
We must not live too awful far apart for you to have Caesar's Creek Lake and Cowan Lake listed as just down the road!
Really enjoy your site. I am going to add it to my list of blogs I like to visit and read it more if you won't mind.
Take care

Sara G said...

Hi Nina,

Waynesville/Springboro area here. I have heard of your town but not sure I have been there.

Gnome at the Bottom of the Garden said...

Amazing photos from a beautiful part of the world

The Birdlady said...

Oh my! These images are simply glorious! Thank you for visiting wingsnthings.

mick said...

Magical! and your photos are great.

eyestothesky said...

I want to be you! I want to be there!
sigh> I can smell the fresh air.
Great sky watch photos!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Sounds like an idyllic time away. Thanks for taking us along with you.
Happy Sky Watch!

Deborah Godin said...

Such a beautiful, peaceful series - I feel cleansed and renewed after viewing them! Thanks!

Arija said...

What a wonderful wilderness experience with so many beautifully memorable photos to share. Thank you.

Enigma said...

I want to paddle all these places! My gawd you make me feel like I am right there! Thank you for sharing!

Larry said...

Hi Nina, My favorite is the lake with the canoes. Beautiful colors and that feeling of morning dew everywhere.

Woody said...

Very Nice Photos. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate it and hope you stop back sometime..

ilanadavita said...

Beautiful photos! Thanks for visiting my blog.

Life's Lessons said...

amazing photos...they are all beautiful!

thanks for dropping by in my SWF entry.

Cathy said...

I love fog pictures. Nice.. happy Sw

Shellmo said...

So many gorgeous photos - my favorite was the canoes & kayaks on the shore....something so wistful about it.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Breathtaking travel photos and post, Nina.

I wonder if you saw micrometeorite landings along the lakeshore. The fall from the skies all the time.

Blessings! JJ

fishing guy said...

Nina: What a great series of photos, a place that you can really enjoy spending your time. Thanks for sharing, I would enjoy a trip to that lake.

Dewdrop said...

Such beautiful mountain, lake and sky captures! Beautiful collection. It looks so peaceful there. I will have to visit.

piedmontperspective said...

Fantastic series of photos! I felt like I was there. Love the one looking east toward Colonel Bob Wilderness. Great captures!

Luiz Ramos said...

A Nature shot lecture. Beautiful work.

Q said...

Dear Nina,
When my husband and I stayed at Lake Quinault Lodge I thought this was the most beautiful place in the entire world. The hikes in the temperate rain forests and the lake "wowed" me. The meals were delicious.
I can still remember the forest. I long for it.
Thank you for bringing those treasued memories back. I might need to travel again.
Sherry

nina said...

Q--I have come to the conclusion that it is, indeed, the most beautiful place in the world.
I have been fortunate to have seen many, and though natural wonders are difficult to compare, so diverse and beautiful in their own character, I was surprised at the effect this place had on me.
If measured by personal impact, Olympic blew me away.

Go there.
Then go there, again.

Denise said...

These are awesome photographs. What incredible scenery!!!

Mike said...

Wow! What else can I say, except that I really need to visit the Pacific Northwest soon?

nonizamboni said...

Lovely photos and the prose made them come to life! Olympic Penninsula is gorgeous for sure. Have you had your canoe in Minnesota's Boundary Waters?
Thanks for sharing!

nina said...

Nonizamboni--no we have not!
Should we make that a destination? I know Minnesota has much wilderness to offer, and much water. But I am not physically strong enough for portage. Is it necessary?

Sandra Carvalho said...

What a great selection of pics!Absolutely gorgeous!
Tkx for passing by.
Have a great weekend.

leslie said...

Incredible shots! I especially love the ones in the fog! Just gorgeous. Come & visit - I just decided to start doing SWF again. :D

Sparverius said...

Oh my gosh, Nina. Those pictures are beautiful, so smooth, so soft. Perfect! Thank you.

esnorway said...

good pics have nice weekend

The Tile Lady said...

Really beautiful place, and the narrative was wonderful! I know I commented before, but I just wanted to stop by again and tell you that you have won an award! Come on by my blog and retrieve it! I wanted to let everyone know what I think of your blog!
Marie

Tootie said...

Beautiful photos!

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Wondeful pictures, you must have been on your belly for some!

Celeste said...

The combination of still waters and sky is always so peaceful and calming. Your pictures are beautiful, thankyou for sharing.

Catherine said...

Stunning captures ~everyone! I love the capture of the foggy morning and kayaks, and if I had to pic a fav~which is almost impossible to do they are all such beautiful captures~I would go with the rowboat in the fog~love that!
Happy sky~watching!:)
Your captures always leave me in awe!
Cat

mirage2g said...

Thanks for your comment over at DriveBy Photos, sorry I was so late to drop by.

I have commented already with my other blog but still looking at your fotos I am again awed, have a nice week!