QUINAULT RAIN FOREST
Name: Quinault Rain Forest
Placed by: Eliza B./Moderngypsy
date placed: 06/21/02
nearest town: Quinault, WA, USA
location: Maple Glade Rain Forest Trail, Olympic National Park, WA
county: Gray's Harbor
difficulty: directions and trail are easy and kid-friendly.
From highway 101 in either direction through Olympic National Park, watch for signs for the Quinault Rain Forest (roughly 45 miles north of Aberdeen and 45 - 60 minutes south of Forks). Turn onto the SOUTH SHORE road (North shore will also lead you there, but is roughly 26 miles longer, around a scenic loop.)
Park down the road from the Quinault Ranger Station (before it by a mile or so) in the Maple Glade Rain Forest parking lot. There is a day-use permit required, available at the informational kiosk at the trailhead for a whopping $3 (which goes to maintain trails, so it's worth it.).
Find the trailhead kiosk and start up the Interpretive Trail. (.5 miles long, very little elevation gain/lost. Good for kids.) Take the left fork and go past the huge Douglas Fir. Continue down the Interpretive Trail -- it breaks off into the Quinault Loop Trail in two separate places. Follow the signs for the Interpretive Trail. (For a side-stop, though, if you take a left at the first branching of the IT and the QT, there is an amazing bridge over a two-cupped waterfall that's stunning, and not too far out of the way -- less than a tenth of a mile, easily.)
After the placque about the causes of tree death in the forest (the one that discusses wind damage), the trail goes downhill. At one point, the path ahead seems to be blocked by a strange mass of trees. The "nurse log" has nearly rotted away to the left, and the path follows around this "tree on stilts". About ten steps down, on the right, is a wooden bench, and another five steps is a placquard about what a nurse log is. Read up on your natural history and go back to the skinny tree on the end.
From this tree, take ten steps BACK the way you came. To your left is a small path that goes over to the huge tree that's grown from the same nurse log as the weird skinny tree.
At its base is an open cubby within the roots. Poke in it with a stick to make sure nothing will bite you, and then find the letterbox on the left side of the cubby, under some bark and twigs.
This is a well-traveled trail -- please take caution in removing the box and returning it, and make sure it's well hidden. (And all the usual precautions apply.)
please also see the letterboxing USA site for all the regular disclaimers and waivers that you assume when you decide to go out looking for boxes. (blah blah blah, legalese saying that you know it's your own fault if you get bit by stuff, fall off a cliff, or if things aren't where they're supposed to be. That kind of thing.)