Shine Tidelands State Park

This place is the definition of wasted funds. There is no real reason it should be wasting any tax dollars for something this small and lame. On the plus side the only money being spent on this park is probably the upkeep of the porta-potty, because outside of that there is nothing here. However, there is one thing worth stopping in for, and that is the view:

Tree Bottom

Under bridge

You are casting your gaze on the awesome, and under rated Hood Canal Bridge. This bridge is the essence of time travel for those that live in this area. Not in the literal Back to the Future time travel, just the fact you will literally save two hours of driving if you have to go around the inlet. It also looks quite impressive doesn’t it? Just don’t take your eyes off of it. If you start to meander down the rocky beach you’ll see the remnants of humans everywhere. From bottle caps to screwdrivers we found them all here.

Bottle Cap

Poker

Now the real reason this place is a candidate for even being a park at all, is that just up the beach over the road is a tiny wetlands. It’s a wall of green, that almost makes you feel like you were glad you turned off the road for the 37 second drive. It is inhabited with many birds, and I won’t get into that problem, but you can imagine they are cheerful and greeting you on the way in. You’d be wrong. They’re only there to laugh at what you drive, and will crap on it once you leave its presence. Dammit, the birds took me off track. Back to the mud pool, honestly though, a picture would probably make more sense here anyways.

Wetlands

Okay, so what does that leave. Rocks. Islands in the distance. Fence Posts. Gate. That summed it up pretty well right? Heh, you’re confused about the fence post aren’t you? I’ll have you covered for that in a second. There was one other thing of note, that probably is more important than I think. There was people clam digging! Now that your interest is piqued I won’t tell you more, and that is because these people all left the boundaries of the park to find the lost treasures of the sand. They just parked here, and then took their buckets else where. They walked so far they were out of sight. I was alittle teary eyed about that, because I wanted to get some pictures of them doing it. oh well, your left with the fence post.

Fence Post

Oh yeah, and the island view. I lied though, that is not an island. It is just an out cropping into the bay. There is no islands. Thank you Google maps for crushing my personal memories.

Islands

Conclusion of the matter: This is really a 1 out of 5 kind of place. If it wasn’t so close to highway it wouldn’t be worth your time. For 37 seconds of driving it can be said it’s worth it. Also, this place is so insignificant that Google maps doesn’t even show it on their maps. That might tell you more than my whole review.

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Rainbow Falls State Park

Located about fifteen miles west of Chehalis, Washington, is this interesting little state park. It’s most notable fact is that it is split down the middle by the main road in the area. Which in turn is next to the river, and there is no way to cross the river inside the park. You have to travel several miles past the park to the bridge and backtrack to the main entrance. Otherwise you’ll be stuck on the south bank with nothing but a few trails to wander. These trails are crisscrossed with a main outer loop connecting them all. You could get lost, but thankfully some rather genius human put signs up with numbers to help you on your way.

River

Also on the south bank is a group eating area that looks as though no one has bothered to use it in years. I’m not sure why you would want to use it either, it looks slightly decrepid and the north side has a mammoth sized day picnic area. Maybe you just find yourself as the anti-social/scared-of-others bracket. Then this space maybe perfect for you. Plus with the added element of getting crushed by the structure could add an adrenaline rush that is hard to pass up. Honestly it’s not that bad, it is just next to the road and so I’m discouraging you from making a poor choice. The north bank is flooded with green space and would make for a wonderful day use park. Especially for those with very large groups.

Gazebo

Green

What else did we find? The trails mentioned earlier were gorgeous even if they are very short. This was also because we are here in spring, so the greens are in full mind bending variety. Wild flowers were everywhere, but sparsely spread apart. My wife was in full flower mode, I ended up with almost a dozen separate flowers and bushes from her camera. It had rained earlier that morning; so we even had the rain drops still playing around on the forest floor helping add to the palette laid before us.

Transparent

Trail

Thorny

Then my worst nightmare came to life. We came across this tree bottom with holes larger than my tiny head. It sunk into my brain that only a ginormous woodpecker could make a hole this big. After that I had to walk with very shifty eyes; not knowing whether or not he was plotting to peck my head. I figured I was likely not large enough prey for such a monster, but still the chills would crawl over me whenever I heard a distant thumping of a tree. The thumping was probably not a woodpecker in the distance, but just the beating of my heart. It was terrifying.

Woodpecker

You should know that I just don’t trust birds, I’m not actually scared of them. If I was truly scared of birds I’d hunt down the person who slung their shoes onto the wire over the river. That is a skill I could use to defend myself!!! The excitement this person must have felt for achieving such a useless act of awesome must be applauded by others. Alright, I’ll admit it, I’m a jealous shoe thrower. The best I’ve achieved is flinging my flip-flops into a laundry basket from about 9 feet away. I must practice more.

Shoes

Conclusion of the matter: 3 of 5. The space is split down the middle with no crossing, that is annoying. The road that separates the two spaces is actually quite busy, and even when you’re at the back of the woods on the trails you can hear the cars roaring by. On the flip side the north picnic zone is by far the largest we have seen yet and a church of thousand members could have a service there with space to stretch. In the end though, this state park is average at best.

Kanaskat Palmer State Park

We set out to find Black Diamond Bridge State Park on Google Maps and instead ended up at Kanaskat Palmer State Park. The other, as far as I can tell, doesn’t have an entrance. If you find it put it in my comments please. These state parks, along with several others in the area are the result of Green River Recreation being broken into state parks. Which is maybe why the other doesn’t have an entrance yet, it may have one in the future, or it could be that it is only accessible by using the river itself. Either way, this is about Kanaskat Palmer and not Black Diamond Bridge.

Now that we have that exhausting explanation out-of-the-way. What is the first thing you’ll notice about Kanaskat Palmer? Moss. There are acres and acres of it. This park must be in a rainforest like zone. It was gorgeous and a delight to behold. There is definitely something magical about the moss in Washington. I’ll likely miss it when we start venturing east to see the parks on the otherside of the mountains. It also helped we were there before the sun really started shining, so human punishment hadn’t been a factor in the viewing.

Picnic

Roots

This park is really designed around a few ideologies. One: Picnic. Two: River play. Three: Using it as a launch for kayakers setting down the river to the gorge. We saw a pack of people gearing up to make the trek, and after some Yahoo-ing… (That sounds much worse than googling, and even alittle dirty huh?) I discovered that this is indeed their intent. I wouldn’t say you need a kayak to enjoy the river though. The river is good-sized and probably a blast in summer time. We were there during a mini flood so staying to the bank was really our only option for enjoyment. It should be said you can camp here as well, and it does have a spacious zone for it; privacy is better than “normal” here.

Sign

There is something gratifying in photographing raindrops, and it seems to be my wife’s newest obsession. Thankfully being slightly genius and bringing an umbrella to protect the cameras from the rain that came; we were unswayed by the downshift in fortunes. This opened ample oppurtunities for my wife to bust a move with her macro lens. I will say, her skills are starting to take shape into something resembling actual skill, and not just luck anymore. Soon her limitations of equipment will stymy the growth of education and land her skill in a flatline of quality that can’t be improved until our bank account can swell. Until then, she is doing clever with what we have, and my pride swells at her accomplishments.

Moss

Rain

As far as picnicing goes; Kanaskat has two seperate areas, and we almost overlooked the second. This second area sits right at a U-shaped bend in the river. This is the defining moment for this state park. It is gorgeous. No doubt this is an awesome place in summer time to hang out. Sadly for us, the rain had picked back up, and I wasn’t able to get a great picture out of the spot; I may revisit this just to get the picture I wanted.

Rock

Conclusion: 3 out of 5. We were blessed to be there with only about 10 other people in the area, and that, with the rain, just felt amazing. However, there is no doubt that with a hot summer day this place will be packed and it will feel VERY cramped. Also with Flaming Geyser State Park not far away this will not be the prime place in this area. Picnic zones are nice here, but there isn’t room to stretch your arms, even if it is private. You must like the forest if you’re going to be here.