I love to escape on my birthday. Like last year and the year before, I gravitate toward remote off-the-grid locations - away from the city and immersed in nature for a quiet and contemplative celebration of life. Lake Quinault Lodge provided just that. Three hours west of Seattle, we drove through winding roads and foggy evergreens to our historic 1920's hotel in the middle of the Olympic National Rainforest.
We settled into our cozy fireplace room with a private view of Lake Quinault. My poor love was sick and buried himself under the covers while I enjoyed some tranquil alone time on the deck with my book and a glass of red.
Exploring the grounds, I discovered secret trails and picturesque resting spots. Although it was chilly and a bit muddy, I couldn't have asked for a more peaceful place to stay. For a brief moment, the sun appeared from behind the clouds and all was right in the world.
According to their totem rain gauge, I'm apparently 6 foot 1 - who knew? The friendly groundskeeper who took my photo told me that the Lodge received a record 19 feet of rain last year!
And inside the grand lobby - the fireplace of all fireplaces. This photo doesn't do it justice. The logs were almost as long as my entire body! People were gathered around the flames, resting in leather sofas, reading, sipping warm winter drinks, playing chess and enjoying the rustic ambiance. I would have been happy hanging out here for the entire weekend.
But there were other adventures to be had. After an early dinner in the Roosevelt Dining Room (named after FDR himself who lunched at the Lodge many moons ago), we were told that the 80's version of Annie would be showing in the ballroom! What?! How did they know that movie was my favorite as a child? I couldn't believe my luck. Hal and I claimed our front row seats with a big bowl of popcorn. Since we were the only people watching, it felt perfectly acceptable to sing along.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early for a special Quinault Rainforest Tour, guided by the knowledgeable and entertaining LeRoy, and accompanied by two other couples. Both wives were also celebrating their birthdays! Our first stop was the world's largest 1000-year old spruce tree.
Despite the fog, it was big day for wildlife. We spotted a family of elk lounging in the grass. A total of 18 bald eagles. A few salmon swimming in the river. And a rare sighting of Mongo the Mossquatch!
I forgot what this clover-like plant was called, but LeRoy told us their stems tasted like green apples. I immediately had to try - and yep, they sure do! I was ready to forage up a salad.
We arrived back at the Lodge just in time make a souvenier penny and watch the Seahawks kill the Panthers! The perfect victorious end to a cozy celebratory weekend.
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