Forum Index > Trip Reports > ONP - Ancient, Hidden Duncan Cedar Grove & Ira Spring Wetland Loop
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lcometto
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PostTue Apr 30, 2019 8:53 am 
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Last week, I headed out to the Olympic Peninsula for more big-tree hunting/documenting in two locations: the hidden Duncan Cedar grove and the Ira Spring Wetland Loop that leads to the Bogachiel River Trail. The photographs I collected here are now part of a guide to the ancient forests and giant trees in the Olympic Peninsula here: http://www.lucascometto.com/cascadia-olympic-peninsula

Many visitors to Olympic National Park are aware of the coastal giant, the Duncan Cedar (which also goes by the name Nolan Creek Cedar). It stands among clearcut that was leveled long ago, leaving the tree exposed to the sun for years. The exposure has bleached its massive trunk to an off-white color, helping it stand out from the surrounding newer, green forest. With the fall of the Quinault Big Cedar by Lake Quinault, the Duncan Cedar was crowned Washingtonís largest cedar.

Duncan Cedar
Duncan Cedar

However, far less known is a small patch of old-growth forest on the drive to the Duncan Cedar preserved among a second growth exterior (pictures two and three). It is located about two miles from Highway 101 and the entrance is only marked by a drawing of a tree that points to a boardwalk trail across the road. Very few visitors explore it or know about it, so it has retained a particularly wilderness feel to it. The very short trail leads to a few big trees, some 8-9 feet in diameter at breast height.

Duncan Cedar Grove
Duncan Cedar Grove
Duncan Cedar Grove
Duncan Cedar Grove

Having satisfactorily explored that area, I headed to the Ira Springs Wetland Loop next to the Bogachiel River. Circling a dense stand of old-growth Sitka Spruce trees growing on a flat watershed, the Ira Spring Wetland Loop is a wonderful introduction to the Peninsulaís ancient forests. The loop is situated entirely in Olympic National Forest and leads to the National Park boundary.

Ira Spring Wetland Loop
Ira Spring Wetland Loop
Ira Spring Wetland Loop
Ira Spring Wetland Loop
Ira Spring Wetland Loop
Ira Spring Wetland Loop

The trailís north section rises above the watershed, passing a diverse mix of flora. However, the southern end, closer to the Bogachiel River, is where the true giant trees grow (including the massive Sitka spruce in the pictures below that I found by bushwhacking around). These specimens are among the biggest in the Park and have benefited from the perpetual saturation of the rainforest environment.

Ira Spring Wetland Loop
Ira Spring Wetland Loop
Ira Spring Wetland Loop
Ira Spring Wetland Loop

The loop is a short hike and a perfect day-trip alternative to the Bogachiel River Trail, a lengthy (often multi-day) overnight backpacking trek further inland.

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Portfolio: www.lucascometto.com
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iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
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getting old
PostTue Apr 30, 2019 9:54 am 
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stellar stuff there!

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

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Nancyann
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PostTue Apr 30, 2019 10:01 am 
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Thanks for sharing! I donít get over to the peninsula very often, but your photos and detailed guide make me think I need to make a trip over there one of these days. smile.gif
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



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Have camera will use
PostTue Apr 30, 2019 12:33 pm 
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Great photos, great subject matter! up.gif

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
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lcometto
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PostTue Apr 30, 2019 12:38 pm 
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Thanks, Nancyann! You should definitely try to get back soon. The Peninsula is such a magical place: mountains, forests, wild coastline. What else can one ask for?

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Portfolio: www.lucascometto.com
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lcometto
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PostTue Apr 30, 2019 12:39 pm 
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GaliWalker and iron - thank you for the kind words!

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Portfolio: www.lucascometto.com
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Anne Elk
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PostTue Apr 30, 2019 9:19 pm 
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Your Ira Springs wetland loop shots look truly magical, Lucas.  Is there a story behind the Duncan cedar?  Kinda weird that those old loggers took down the whole forest, but left that one giant.  Amazing it never fell over in a good storm.

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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lcometto
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PostWed May 01, 2019 6:41 am 
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Anne Elk, I really have no idea why the loggers kept the Duncan Cedar. Usually, I find that cedars left behind have some sort of deficiency (burned or rotting wood) but the Duncan Cedar looks find to me. So I'm really not sure!

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Portfolio: www.lucascometto.com
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tinman
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PostThu May 02, 2019 5:56 pm 
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Here is the story behind the Duncan Cedar.  In the mid 70's, Wiley Duncan, a contract timber faller, was cutting the trees in the clearcut surrounding the cedar.  When he got to it, he looked at the size and determined that there were not that many cedars that size left and maybe it should be left.  He asked the timber owner if it could be left, they then went to the DNR and asked if it could be left.  After much discussions and I believe even a trip to Olympia by the local Forks Garden Club the tree was left.  (This is on State Trust Lands and at that time, no valuable trees were left to maximize the Trust income.  It was quite an ordeal to determine the trees value and deduct it from the sale price.)  Anyway, the tree was left and has been adopted by the Forks Lions Club who petitioned the DNR to name it after Wiley.

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Wherever you go, there you are.......
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Midnight Slogger
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No heroics
PostFri May 03, 2019 7:00 pm 
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Thanks for this history, tinman--and thank you to lcometto for highlighting some phenomenal flora in our area! I shared your photos and site with others who appreciate our unique natural treasures. Hope to see some more photos from you. Cheers.
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Anne Elk
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PostFri May 03, 2019 10:10 pm 
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Great story, Tinman.   up.gif  Thanks!

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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puzzlr
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PostSat May 04, 2019 1:41 am 
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That first shot is amazing, and the story behind it is encouraging. I'd love to find out why some other isolated giants were passed over, some right next to a logging RR grade.

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Mid Fork Rocks ē flickr
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > ONP - Ancient, Hidden Duncan Cedar Grove & Ira Spring Wetland Loop
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