Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park

IMAG1002My father and I took a day last week to go to Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park in Washington State. It was the first time either of us had seen this part of the park. The lake itself is a gem, nestled between forested hills. When we arrived, the water was perfectly calm and mirrored the mountains and sky.


Barnes Creek

While we were there, we hiked from the lodge on the lake to Marymere Falls. Along the way, we heard the waters of Barnes Creek, marveled at old-growth Douglas fir trees, and finally climbed to view the cascade falling 90 feet to a clear mountain pool.

Douglas Fir

Old growth Douglas Fir trunk

After I returned home, this past Sunday in church, our congregation sang “How Great Thou Art.” As we sang the second verse, I was immediately back in the Olympic National Forest:

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze,
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

Lyrics by Stuart K. Hine, copyright 1949.

This song is based on a poem written in 1885 by Swedish poet Carl Gustav Boberg, and the soaring melody is a Swedish folk song. Yet the verse describes perfectly what my father and I saw that day.

Marymere Falls

Marymere Falls

But then, the forests of Sweden and of Washington State probably don’t look that different. Douglas fir trees are native to the Pacific Northwest. But Swedish evergreens and creeks probably brought the same praise to Carl Boberg’s lips and pen that later creations did to Stuart Hine’s. And these men’s experiences of the divine were no more powerful than mine in the Olympic forest last week.

What songs evoke memories for you of places you have been?

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  1. What first comes to mind are the “Hooked on Classics” recordings that my sisters and I enjoyed while we traveled more than five-thousand miles of the awesome panoramic views throughout our United States.

  2. The Douglas Fir is magnificent! Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures, Theresa. When I hear a John Denver song, it always reminds me of a trip to the Rocky Mountains with my family.

    • The old-growth trees are really amazing. So much of the land outside of the national park is second growth, but these firs were almost as big as California redwoods.
      Thanks for reading,

  3. I spent the whole summer after I graduated from undergraduate work, at Lake Crescent Lodge cleaning rooms and cabins before my first teaching job in Long Beach, CA. Among my first impressions is the drive from Port Angles to the Lodge following a logging truck along the winding road through forests and marveling in slack-jaw wonder at the sight of ONE, SINGLE LOG filling the truck. Now this memory also makes me sad, given the distruction of our prized forests. Thank God for the foresight of past presidents who established national parks and monuments.

    Another memory is of visiting the Olympic National Park and marveling at seemingly “ordinary” ferns that grew to shoulder height and the heads of clover as large as my palm.

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