Story by Cara Patten
Photos by Emily Deering and Bret Wirta, Video by Emily Deering
Hike Distance: 1.5 miles – Time out: 1 hour
Degree of Difficulty: 1 – Pet Friendly: No
May 22nd 2012
Marymere Falls and Lake Crescent Lodge
We drove to Lake Crescent and pulled up to the Marymere trail parking lot, slightly tired from rising early and ready for a leisurely hike and lunch at Lake Crescent Lodge. This was the perfect road trip for me and my friends Becca and Emily. College classes had just ended and the summer just beginning.The Marymere Falls trail is about 1.5 miles, beginning at the Storm King Ranger Station and ending up at the beautifully flowing Marymere Falls, with a trail branching off to the Lake Crescent Lodge. Its easy pace and location just off the highway makes the hike a great break.
The entrance to the trail was lined with sweet, purple forget-me-nots leading into a scene which was utterly green. The forest was covered in moss; hanging from tree branches, sprouting from the ground and taking over. Adding to the thick verdure of the forest were numerous ferns, spruce trees and evergreens allowing rays of sunlight to pass through and create a magically sunlit world.
In typical northwest fashion, it was raining lightly the entire way to the waterfall, an appropriate addition to the fresh, almost magical atmosphere provided by the tall, leaning trees and the omnipresent scent of wood and sound of the splashing waterfall.
We hiked through the rain forest, passing over Barnes Creek by way of a wooden footbridge giving off scents of sawdust and stopping for several photo breaks. Soon the source of the water I had heard throughout the hike came into view. The waterfall is nearly 90 feet of rushing, white water pounding against huge rocks set against trees and moss.
The ease of the hike was in part due to the flatness of the trail. However, once we neared the waterfall, the trail began to incline, giving way to a set of wooden stairs which we climbed higher and higher in order to accomplish new views of the waterfall. This was the most strenuous part of the hike, and well worth it. At several points the staircase would level out to create a viewing area to stop and enjoy the terrifyingly beautiful image of Marymere Falls.
We finished up the hike and stopped in at Lake Crescent Lodge for lunch. Outside of the lodge was a row of cabins overlooking the lake for overnight visitors, and a dock equipped with kayaks. I walked into the building and was immediately comfortable and relaxed. The lobby was paneled with wood and showed off two large and dominating elk heads mounted on the walls. In conjunction with the notes of jazz music and old-fashioned telephone booth off to a corner, I was transported to a different time where real life didn’t seem to matter so much and my mind eased into vacation setting.
We approached the restaurant and were immediately seated and helped by several staff. Entering the restaurant portion of the lodge brought me into a final world, one contained in white walls decorated with intricate and intimidating Native American masks and large windows. We were seated at a table right by the window and helped right away. I ordered a bowl of clam chowder and looked out over Lake Crescent as I ate. Fog began rolling in over the evergreens surrounding the lake to create a beautifully eerie atmosphere as we ate a warm triple chocolate cake, complete with vanilla ice cream, in a matter of seconds. Dessert was doubly delicious because the Lodge donated a dollar of the price to the Washington’s National Parks Fund www.wnpf.org.
After devouring our meal, we headed back to the car through a small trail. On the way I become distracted by a deer standing off to the side of a road, finding food among the grass and trees and entirely indifferent to my curious eyes and camera lens, not even noticing the cars passing by. Soon the deer became bored and trotted off, sending us off with a perfectly natural and magical goodbye to the peaceful Olympic Peninsula.
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