Monday, May 6, 2024

Federation Forest State Park: Walking among the Elders

I'm still here! Sorry, it has been a while since my last post, although I'm still posting photos regularly on other social media platforms (see links at bottom of this post). Enjoy!

While I've spent the majority of my life in western Washington, I can still be surprised by places I've passed often but never visited. Recently I had the surprising pleasure of walking through some remnant old growth forest at Federation Forest State Park near Greenwater, Washington. 

I've seriously driven past this park hundreds of times on my way to skiing at Crystal Mountain or hiking at Mt. Rainier or Chinook Pass and beyond. But on this day, I drove alone to pick up my skis at Crystal Mountain (long story). So I decided to stop wherever on the way home and stretch my legs.

After my usual stop at charming Wapiti Woolies store in Greenwater for some hot tea (and a hat that was on sale), I drove a few miles west on Highway 410 to the park. Only one other car was in the lot when I pulled up; then I started walking through younger forest carpeted in extensive green moss.

Along the way, I spotted springtime treasures, like native trillium that's already past its spring peak in the lowlands.


Did I mention that it was a drippy, gently raining day in the mountains? (It was snowing up at Crystal Mountain a few thousand feet higher.) Our Pacific Northwest forests and their inhabitants love a quenching rain, especially the moss.

 As I neared the White River, I started seeing bigger, mossy-trunk trees scattered amongst the youngsters.

I found a side trail heading down to the river's edge and snapped a few shots of the fresh spring green trees across the river. 

While strolling with an eye to the forest floor as much as to the towering trees above, I spotted several tiny fairy slipper native Calypso orchids. I felt that same thrill as when spotting morel or chanterelle mushrooms.

Do you ever tell yourself you should think about turning around, but you're drawn onward? That's how I felt while walking through this forest. I lingered longer than I planned, enchanted by the lush green life all around and sensing secrets held by this ancient forest. And I felt bittersweet, knowing our whole region used to be blanketed by such forest, and today it's fragmented and so little remains.

After about an hour, I turned around and headed back to my car, with a couple other stops to make. I'd like to come back and spend more time on these gentle trails. Have you been? 

Do you have a favorite old growth forest in the region or beyond? I'd love to hear in a comment below!

Happy trails and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons! In between blog posts, visit Pacific NW Seasons on FaceBookTwitter, and Instagram for more Northwest photos and outdoors news.




Suezy P said...

Hi happy to see a post on your blog spot!!! What a gorgeous place! You mentioned that you were on your way to pick up your skis...are these the skis that went missing a while back? I hope so!! I love that you lingered longer than planned....there's such an investment of time to get there.

Glad you are out and about and sharing your adventures...your blog spot is fabulous.

Your #1 fan from AlaBAM!

Suezy P

Anonymous said...

I actually follow a few blogs- still find them enjoyable and I always love yours. Mary Lou

jill said...

Thanks Mary Lou, there are still people blogging? Most of my other blog links I feature are "dead."

Thanks Suezy! Yes, my skis were found and delivered to the office for me to pick up.....6 weeks after they disappeared and I had already spent $$$ to replace them. Hmmm. They couldn't tell me the story of how they were found, it's a mystery, and now I have two pairs of almost identical skis....