The Course of the Sol Duc River

Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Olympic Peninsula, which is not irregular for me, but the unpredictable conditions steered me away from my original intention of visiting the beaches and drew me to almost exclusive focus on the Sol Duc river. I will share some of my observations from various spots along the river. . .

Sol Duc Falls plunges down the canyon that is now filled with light with the creeping sun. The shaded and relatively cold shadows above the falls transform the spray crystallizing it into a brilliant design around the falls. The spray refracts the light beam and together they paint rainbows of color. The power of the falls is both energizing and deafening.


soleduc rainbow

A light mist billows through the forest and merges with angled-morning sunlight. The forest begins to awake out of a dense silence; a few birds begin to shatter the quiet in their melody. Lichens and mosses become alive in new color with the highlights of the morning sun. Echoes of the rolling Sol Duc river are heard as it moves with a broader chorus with the addition of spring snowmelt; layered in turquoise it rolls and tumbles over large boulders as it moves downstream.

Sol Duc forest web

Large old growth trees provide shelter and habitat to a large number of species and act like a sponge and filter for the river. These trees are great temperature regulators; I can feel the cool and crispness to the air as they split the light beams that move over a tributary creek that runs into the Sol Duc River.

Sol Duc Stream

The morning sunlight illuminates the light fog that hangs over the Sol Duc River as it is nearing completion on its 78-mile journey. The river begins to shift to a more oceanic ecology as it nears the Pacific; neighboring forests become less dense and the river becomes wider .The westward wind carries fragments of the ocean as it entangles the flora. Contrasted with its powerful beginnings emanating from the glaciers and cutting through the canyons with much force; the Sol Duc is seen in relative silence as it moves softly during a quiet morning.

soleduc web

The moon hangs over the Sol Duc River and warmly lit trees at this popular fishing spot along the river. The Sol Duc River eventually joins the Bogachiel River to form the Quillayute River which leads to the Pacific Ocean at La Push. The Sol Duc watershed is an impressive 219 square miles!

River Fishing

A brief poem I thought up along the river:

When nature comes to life
When silence springs to sound
The complex chorus of the earth
Speaks to the inner stillness that is found.

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