On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
What a great way to celebrate the end of another week of On the Road. I just want to be here in this lovely park. I want to walk down the road and into the forest. I want to see the great blue herons and the nesting sites, and be in or on that stunningly beautiful blue lake. ~WaterGirl
Mike in Oly
I was asked to share more about one of our many marvelous local parks, so here is a brief tour of the Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area, just north of Olympia, WA. You can read details of its history at this link. This park is a bit of the beaten path, but is quite popular with locals. Mainly just a road out to the point and back, but there is also a mile long loop that takes off thru the woods. Lots of plants and wildlife to see here.
The road out to the bay has been blocked to vehicle traffic and is not maintained as a road any longer. The forest is slowly creeping in on the edges. It is lined with our native big leaf maples, covered in moss, that form a verdant cathedral overhead. Look closely at the photo and you’ll see small figures along the road that give you an idea of the scale of these trees. They are massive. And sadly we are losing them at an alarming rate from a mystery pathogen that as yet to be identified.
I love the wildflowers along the trail. This is a native tiger lily – Lilium columbianum. They are rather rare here and always a treat to see.
Our native Douglas squirrels, slightly larger than chipmunks, can be found here as well.
At the end of the trail are the remnants of the old train trestle that used to bring logs here for floating to the mills up north. It is no longer connected to the shore, so it often has many of our local waterfront birds hanging about. In this photo I counted 52 great blue herons waiting for the tied to go out so they could fish again. The trestle is a toxic mess, but was left as it is a summer nursery for local bats. There are nearby floating rafts that are often full of resting harbor seals, sea lions and cormorants.
Looking out over the bay. No mountains in sight from here, but the trees and water are lovely.
People often arrange rocks into little stacks out here. I love them on the old pilings with the water as a backdrop. Very peaceful.
There are large nesting sites for great blue herons and cormorants along the bay shore, and it is a rare day indeed when you don’t see the herons hunting along the shoreline.
I’ll end with one of my favorite photos of this pretty little park. It is the perfect representation of summer in the PNW. Perfect blue skies with fluffy white clouds over forest and water. I live in the most beautiful State. Hope you enjoyed a peek at this small corner of it.
Thank you for the nice write-up and pictures! Last summer, I drove my mom down to the Mount Pleasant Iris Farm after reading your submission on it, and it was awesome, so I’ll bookmark this as another place to take her to :)
Bonus is that Lacey has my favorite Korean restaurant ever (the creatively named Seoul Restaurant), so the half-day trip practically writes itself.
Thanks. Much needed today.
Lovely photos, thanks for taking the time to post them. I’ve never been to the northwest coast but that would be a wonderful trip. I miss living near the ocean, lived in south Jersey for a while; but you have more elevation which would be nice. Ah, just looked it up on a map. That’s way in at the end of Puget Sound, still tidal that far in though. I can smell the ocean!
Virtual travel is one of the things keeping me sane these days — a reminder of the beautiful world out there. Thanks so much for the photos!
Lovely way to start the day. So many good shots. I enjoyed seeing all of the GBHs waiting for the tide to go out. And, the Douglas squirrel!
Mike in Oly
Glad you folks enjoyed the peek into the park. Sorry for the typos! And here the link that somehow got left off. It has more info about the history of the park. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodard_Bay_Natural_Resources_Conservation_Area
What a lovely place. Thanks for sharing it!
All those blue herons in one place. Love it!
J R in WV
Wonderful wilderness area, swell oceanside views, lovely wildlife, great snapshots.
You certainly do live in a beautiful state!
And you take beautiful pictures!
Looking at those lowered my heart rate, which was much needed. It looks like paradise, and I loved the herons hanging out.
That looks like a great area to explore with a canoe! I’ll check it out. Thanks for the photos and info!
Thanks for this Mike.
Olympia is a beautiful city in a state that has many, many other beautiful cities. There is a place in Olympia where you can get a cashew pizza–my very favorite.