The next best thing to a vacation is a stay-cation, and we enjoyed a mighty relaxing one over Memorial Day weekend. Some friends came to visit from my hometown, and with one of them recuperating from a broken ankle, we decided to pick a short, flat hike to share a local outdoor experience. The Rainbow Falls overlook is about 1.5 miles from the trailhead, making it a perfect easy excursion. Parents might want to consider the steep drop-offs at the overlook if hiking with young children.
Our friends are avid birders, and I learned a lot from them along the way on our hike about the local bird life. They were excited to see some species that don't frequent the Olympic Peninsula, and noted the diversity we have in our backyard.
We also made a new friend along the way while observing all the banana slugs out and about on the trail.
At the trail's end, a rock viewpoint juts out where you can walk out and get a view of the waterfall and the expansive Separation Creek ravine below. It's a little daunting if you're afraid of heights, but well worth it. The trail continues as more of a way trail directly to the falls, but the other hikers we met reported it was pretty rough. We were going for low-key with a mending ankle, so we were happy to stop at the view point.
These are the kind of photos that scare your mother, but there really is more of a ledge below than it looks like. I promise, Jeanette!
It's always fun introducing old friends to a new spot.
We were chatting with some other hikers and noticed something strange about this tree. It had a strip of bark peeled off all the way up to the top. We were guessing as to how this could have happened when we finally realized it was the tallest tree and this was the work of a lightning strike!
From what we pieced together, a bolt hit this tree and rather than causing a fire, the electrical current blew out the strip of bark on its way down, exploded the root out of the ground and burned this dead log where it grounded. It was pretty wild, and we were glad we hadn't been around to see it happen.
Friendships that span the years of our lives are so important. Lindsey has been a friend since high school, and through him I was fortunate to meet his wife, Carolyn. We all share a love of the outdoors, and for Carolyn it's not just a passion but a career! I wrote a story about her Eco-tour guide business last year: Hiking the Elwha with Experience Olympic Tours. Visits from them are always a treat, and I look forward to the next time we pay them and my hometown a visit in turn.
It is also important having an adventure partner to share life and these amazing places with.
I am feeling rich in the people in my life.
Here is a USFS link to the Rainbow Falls Trail:
And William Sullivan's link: