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Washington Trip: Part 3

With a successful first day of shooting behind me and a good night's sleep, I set out to visit a couple waterfalls near the hotel. My plan was to hit Merriman Falls and Bunch Falls during the day, then make my way out to Ruby Beach for sunset.

Lower Cascades of Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Quinault Rain Forest - Olympic National Forest, WA

I'd only seen these two waterfalls indicated on the map. I hadn't seen any previous photos, read any material on them or gotten details like height. With such little research, I had low expectations. I thought I'd see a couple of waterfalls maybe 20 feet tall at the most, do my best to make some good shots and just take what I could get.

Boy, were my expectations wrong. To put it simply: these waterfalls were insane!

It wasn't just the intense volume of water or the height with Merriman at about 45' from top to bottom and Bunch Falls around 60'-70'. It was the form of these falls with the artfully placed deadwood and rocks, the lush moss and ferns, the gorgeous tiered drops at the base... They were "designed" so perfectly. I'd go so far as to say they are 2 of the most beautifully crafted waterfalls I've ever seen (and yes, I've been to Yosemite).

It's one thing to have a big waterfall, but one that is just a flat out work of art is a real treat. I photographed each one of these falls for over an hour, and in between the two falls was a beautiful stretch of forest. This blog post covers my shots from Merriman Falls and the forest. The next and final post will showcase my photos from Bunch Falls and Ruby Beach.

Oh, and the interesting thing about these falls is that neither of them seemed to be a big deal. They were on the side of the road with no information panel, no marker, no viewing platform - nothing. If either one of these waterfalls were in Southern California, they'd have an entire parking lot dedicated to it, a big information panel, a deck to view it from a safe distance, a visitor center and, since it's So Cal, tons of graffiti and trash. But not up in Washington. I didn't see a single piece of litter, nary a tree carved up with some deadbeat's initials (that was really new for me) and really no evidence of any human before me. They must just be better people up there in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe the rain weeds out the dregs of society.

Anywho, here are the results. Take a look at this first picture with yours truly in front of the falls. This gives it a little bit of a sense of scale, but it still isn't completely accurate. I'm about 6'4" with my shoes and hat on, but I'm much closer to the camera than the waterfall in the back. The main drop behind me is around 35'-40'.

Self-portrait in front of Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Oxalis Near Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Lower Cascades of Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Lower Cascades of Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Quinault Rain Forest - Olympic National Forest, WA

Quinault Rain Forest - Olympic National Forest, WA

Quinault Rain Forest - Olympic National Forest, WA

^ Click this pano to see it big!

Oxalis Near Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Quinault Rain Forest - Olympic National Forest, WA

As always, thank you for letting me share these photos with you. Stay tuned because there's only 1 post left with my pictures from Washington!