Sol Duc Hot Springs!

Ah, we soaked at Sol Duc Hot Springs yesterday!  I feel revived, healthy, and relaxed.

We left Ocean Shores early, taking our time along the way, in no hurry to make the 3 hour road trip out to the Olympic National Forest.  It was a long day of driving, but the day itself was wonderfully dramatic!!

We drove past Lake Quinault. Here it is in the morning mist:

In the car, we listened to a diverse choice of poetry and music: Alan Watts’ Haiku,  Zen and Senryu, Neil Young, Bob Marley…and one of the new CDs that Kathryn presented us by the Nippon Music Foundation,  a piece that Rick plays with Ben, the Schubert Violin Sonata (Sonatina) No. 3 in G minor.  The musicians play on loaned stringed instruments from the NMF. This sonatina featured a Stadivarius violin dating from 1696!  Music and thick green forests fly past, the road unfolds ahead of us:

We drive into the thick of the rain forest.  An almost constant mist envelops us. The giants of the rain forest stand firm:

Sol Duc is towards the interior of the Olympic Peninsula, and about 45 miles outside of Forks, an old logging town recently revived by Twilight mania.  The vampire film Twilight was filmed here and has put the town of Forks back on the map!  We stopped in Forks to fill up on gas and I noticed a group of young tourists excitedly taking pictures in front of the “Forks” sign.  Everything is named Twilight this and that!  I saw Twilight pine scented hand lotion and a hot-red vampire dressing gown in the shop windows.  Rick said this about Twilight mania: “It beats giant logs!!” I couldn’t agree more.

When we got to Sol Duc,  elevation 1,700 ft, we soaked in the 104 degree hot sulfur water.  I once heard sulfur hot springs are beneficial to skin and all stomach ailments.  While we soaked, there was an almost constant light drizzle.  This is the rain forest after all. The fine mist allows shafts of sunlight to create lovely rainbows.  The  light drizzle felt more like a fine cool mist spraying my face as I soaked and it felt refreshing. We took this picture after a day of alternating from soaking in the sulfur hot springs to plunging into the 58 degree F cold pool. The cold plunge was actually warmer than the outside temperature of 55 degrees F.  We felt totally invigorated.

Delicate wild flower Trillium growing near the hot springs:

And on our way back home, the sunset reaffirmed what we already knew: this was a perfect day

Sol Duc is a special place for me.  It is ancient, sacred, and definitely a natural healing and therapeutic place.  The verdant mossy thick rain forests of old growth Douglas fir seemingly cradled me as I soaked in Sol Duc’s natural hot springs.

To learn more about Sol Duc, read on (got this information on line):

History of the Springs

The name, Sol Duc, is an Indian term meaning ‘sparkling water,’ it is very befitting for the Sol Duc Hot Springs in Washington State where folks have been coming for over 100 years to soak for pleasure and also for their health. The Sol Duc hot springs and their curative properties were well known to the Quileutes and other inhabitants of the Olympic Peninsula.

According to stories of the early history of the springs, Theodore Moritz, an early settler on the Quillayute River, was shown Sol Duc Hot Springs by an Quileute Indian man he had aided. In the early 1880s, Mr. Moritz filed a homestead claim on the Sol Duc property. Talk of the curative properties of the hot springs soon drew many to this spot for a retreat. Mr. Moritz built a primitive bathhouse, wood-floored tents, and a dining room to accommodate these visitors. In 1903 a prominent timber man named Michael Earles came to the springs and was so impressed that he purchased an option to buy, which he did upon the death of Mr. Moritz in 1909.

Mr. Earles had big plans for the Sol Duc property, which he saw fulfilled in 1912, when he opened a 164-room, 5-star hotel and resort. The original resort built by Earles was a luxurious resort that drew thousands of visitors not just from the continental United States but also from as far away as Europe. Four years later the resort was destroyed in an unfortunate fire and has never again seen the grandeur of Earles vision but continues to draw thousands of visitors each year looking for peace, relaxation and a little of the miracle cure that is Sol Duc Hot Springs legacy.

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