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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another National Park--Olympic coast visit

Just a quick note that we visited one of our sister national parks last weekend--the coastal section of Olympic National Park.
Simply amazing. I've been going to the coast/San Juans regularly since the late 1960s. I've been going to LaPush twice a year every year since the early 1990s. I've never seen red rock crabs behave this way--indeed, I've spent many an hour/many a year in tide pools turning over rocks to hopefully see a "big" one (carapace the size of your palm) and usually finding very few. In recent years, most tide pools have been devoid of red rock crab entirely--a sign of changing ocean chemistry, I surmise(d). And then this--literally hundreds swarming about. We couldn't take a step without having to carefully look first--they were everywhere along a 100 meter stretch of beach. Nowhere else, this 100 meter stretch. From fingernail-sized to super-big, they were out and about on a rather warm spring day (65F).

And with most creatures that come with attitude, some of these guys(and gals) went with the "Captain Kirk" approach: claws first, and discussion later! Sweet! This one would put a serious hurtin' on your finger if you were silly enough to take it on!

Of course, that didn't stop the resident raccoons from enjoying the ready-made crab feast. Surprised that birds/gulls weren't taking advantage of the bounty.

We saw plenty of whales too, and of course eagles, seals and the usual. Best of all was the sound of the waves, the peace and quiet, and the time to enjoy all of it.

Wilderness coast and the opportunities offered, for humans and for every living thing, are profound. There is always something new to experience along the wild Washington coast-Olympic National Park, and I'm so thankful for the desire, energy and ability to explore. I'm also thankful for people like William O. Douglas and Polly Dyer (and a host of other conservationists) had the energy and foresight to protect these special places. The wild Olympic coast is truly a timeless place...

1 comment:

John Webber said...

Comment copied from Phil Fenner's Facebook post:

I'm also a LaPush fan, with sporadic vacations there over the years. I remember seeing a grey whale in the surf about 10-20 yards offshore once. The Hoh Rain Forest is also fantastic.
Another place I used to go to a lot is Cama Beach on Camano Island. I bring that up in regards to you story, Phil, because once in the 80s they had a huge influx of large red rock crabs, as big as Dungeness and suitable for eating, if not quite as meaty as the Dungeness.
Thanks for sharing your pictures and story!

Tom - I think we know each other from Whitman - I was class of '80.