Sitka spruces, I have discovered, have their own distinctive "drip code": sparse, widely spaced mega-drops that let go only after the immense tree-maybe 175 feet high-has drunk its fill and dislodged its excess water off the ends of 20- and 30-foot-long branches.
The Olympic Peninsula's quietly awesome cathedral forests of Sitka spruce, western hemlock, Dougla]s-fir, and western redcedar are commanding monuments to the grace and solidity of advanced age.
At the southeastern shore of the lake is an awesome sight: the national cochampion Sitka spruce, listed on the American Forestry Association's register of champion trees.
But I hardly recognize it: Over my trips to Whitewater, it first served as an open-space bear walkway where birds sang as in a jungle, then later nurtured a grove of sprouting aiders in their fresh light-greenness, and now in 1988 supports an alder forest perhaps 40 feet high, with vigorous, shade-tolerant Sitka spruces pushing upward some six to 10 feet.
Green walls of salmonberry, elderberry, blueberry, devil's club, and young Sitka spruce and hemlock trees have made walking impossible.