November 2, 2010

Olympic Peninsula Magic

This past week the Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program students went on a several day adventure to the Olympic Peninsula. We visited the incredible collection at the Makah Museum in Neah Bay on our first day. Practically all of the artifacts found in the museum came from a site at Cape Alava, where a landslide buried and preserved an entire Native village.

The following day, we explored the boggy cedar forests and wild coastline of the Ozette area. The collection in the museum came from this same area!

Students got the opportunity to get to know the seashore life, and learn more about edible seaweeds and other edible seashore creatures.

The tide pools were rich with a wide assortment of life forms.

One group of students found a freshly dead adult brown pelican. The bird had no obviously apparent external injuries. We wondered if this bird was perhaps a victim of the red tide that was happening out in the ocean.

Though sad, this animal provided close looks at the details of its beautiful plumage and amazing beak. It's 6 foot plus wingspan was also incredible to see!

Deer are incredibly tame along this stretch of coastline as they have not been hunted here for many years. The area is abundant with many kinds of wildlife, including bald eagles, sea lions, sea otters, and many other sea shore creatures.

Our last day on the Olympic Peninsula was ended with a visit to the Hoh Rainforest, home of incredible old-growth forest full of huge and ancient cedars, spruces and Douglas firs. Students were deeply impressed with the magnificence and abundance of this ancient forest.

Our last day came to a close with a blazing sunset over the Olympic mountains, as we headed east back to Seattle.

The trip was absolutely amazing, and blessed with abundant sunshine and great encounters with the natural world. More stories from the Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program to come soon!

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