I have been hiking in the Pacific Northwest forests for many years and have tried to capture with my camera some sense of the grandeur of the old-growth trees--the Douglas-firs, Sitka spruces, Western hemlocks, and Western red-cedars that measure six-plus feet across and two-to-three-hundred-feet high. I have failed. Just look at the tree in the photo above--it's probably 250-feet tall. Does it look it? No.
One reason is that there is no sense of scale. Most photographers know to include a person in their photographs of big trees. This definitely helps, but I learned a trick yesterday from an accomplished wildlife photographer. He told me where to have that person stand to make the tree look as big as possible: behind the tree. Take a look.
These photographs were taken along the Lower South Fork Skokomish River trail i(#873) in Olympic National Forest. This is a spectacular trail through an old-growth forest of Douglas-firs with some Western Hemlock, Western Red-cedar, and Big-Leaf Maple mixed in. Today was the perfect day for a hike--a bit of fog in the morning, golden maple leaves falling slowly the forest floor, an end-of-summer sun, the autumnal chirp of the crickets, still-gushing waterfalls, and a gentle breeze in the trees--a day to savor all winter long.
Here is the Washington Trails Association's description of the hike, brought to you by Mountaineers Books and hiking guidebook author Craig Romano. Thanks to the WTA volunteer work parties for all their work this summer on the trail. Several trail washouts and blowdowns had made the trail impassable. There is still some areas of erosion, so be extra cautious after the rainy season starts.