Mount Rainier National Park, Washington – Silver Falls

The Grove of the Patriarchs is a small island of old growth forest just north of the Ohanapecosh Campground. We crossed the Ohanapecosh River and entered a serene environment of huge old trees.

Mosses and Lichens thrive here, and while this may look like some kind of decay it is actually a sign of health in a forest. Clean air and water are essential to the growth of these organisms and they do not harm the trees.

An ancient Cedar tree, almost almost 20 feet in diameter.

Here new growth springs from the decay of the old. The mound that these trees are growing on is the trunk of a long fallen tree.

Ohanapecosh River Trail

Ohanapecosh River

From the Patriarchs we hiked south along the Ohanapecosh River Trail, a beautiful trail through an old forest, to view the Ohanapecash River as it rages through the narrow basalt passages it has carved over many years.

The striking blue-green color of the water is due to the refractive powers of dissolved minerals in the water. The Ohanapecosh flows from an inactive glacier. The glacier is no longer moving or growing, but minerals crushed by the glacier long ago into a powder the consistency of flour melt out of the glacier and are suspended or dissolved in the water. White light (which contains all the colors of the spectrum) passing through the water is absorbed and diffracted such that what we see is blue, blue-green, or green, depending on the minerals, their size, shape, etc. The water is actually very clear if you look at it in a glass.

For a more detailed explanation of this here’s a link to Wikipedia…or you can just accept it and enjoy it’s beauty. It is utterly fantastic to see. These pictures are not retouched in any way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_of_water

Silver Falls

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