(Blogged by Brad from inside the Quinault Rain Forest 8/25/04 at 9:42am PT...to be posted whenever I find net access again.)
Who even knew there were rain forests in the U.S.A.? I didn't. But after having spent the last several days in the Quinault Rain Forest just south of the Olympic National Park in Northwest Washington state, I couldn't be happier about it.
Awesome. Be sure to spend some time to check 'em out if you ever happen to be up in this corner of the country. The hikes among the gi-normous Douglas Firs, Western Red Cedars and Western Hemlocks are awesome. Towering. And even as I write, I'm no more than 100 yards or so from the largest Sitka Spruce tree in the world.
Best thing about spending three days here, in virtually non-stop rain in the Rain Forest? Nobody ever complains about the weather! Truth in advertising. Toss on your raincoat, get out there and enjoy!
Two related political notes:
1) When driving up the near-coastal 101 Northwards toward the Olympic National Forest, it is at times like driving through the apocolypse as the landscape features thousands of acres of once-towering pines that have been devastatingly clearcut for miles in all directions from the highway. It's awful. And then suddenly, a sign that we are "Now entering Olympic National Forest" at the exact point at which the trees once again shoot up towards the heavens, replacing the scrappy, dry hillsides of scarred stumpage with thick, lush, breathable greenery --- hopefully --- protected (by the Government!) for generations to come. Sadly, trees don't get to vote, or have much of a lobby to protect them. So, it's up to folks like you and me. Don't let either party screw up that legacy of a country once smart enough to protect our natural resources. And don't let George W. Bush tell you that he's "protecting the forests" by letting his Timber Lobby have at 'em!
2) Since leaving California, we've been able to drink the water right out of the tap! And it's great! From Oregon up through Washington, we've not once had to pay for clean water. Why isn't clean, drinkable, delicious water out of the tap a top priority for all Americans? If I ever run for office, I believe I'll have to form the W.A.T.E.R. (Water, Air, Trees, Earth, Renew!) Party and run with "Clean Drinking Water from the Tap! For All!" as my number one platform. Someone's gotta do it. Apparently.
UPDATE 8/30/04: Pictures from Lake Quinault Rain Forest and the rest of the Road Trip now online here!