Day Trips: Hoh Rain Forest
We slept pretty well at our new site AND we had hot showers for the first time in three days! Bliss. You may be wondering why we don't just use the shower in our trailer, especially when we have water hook-ups and a hot water heater. Our gray water holding tank is only 26 gallons and with two very short showers and minimal dish washing, it would fill up very quickly in three days. Of course, when we're not dry camping, we have the option to dump our tanks either at the site or at a dump station. However, our bathroom is a wet bath which means the shower is in the same room as the sink and toilet. And, it's not very large. So, we've decided to to make do without showering in the trailer unless we're absolutely desperate. We love it when a campground has hot showers available, even at a cost, but if none are provided we're willing to rough it until the next campsite. Of course, three days is probably our limit...
Photo Credit: Forks Chamber of Commerce
Photo Credit: Forks Chamber of Commerce
The focus of this day's outing was the Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park. The drive from our campsite to the Visitor's Center is roughly 40 miles, but it took us close to an hour to reach our destination as the road from Hwy. 101 to the park is very narrow and windy.
The weather couldn't have been more beautiful for the drive, with blue sky and a few puffy clouds. There was no rain in the forecast, which turns out to be unfortunate when visiting a rain forest! The trees were beautiful, draped in their thick layers of moss, but the visual impact wasn't nearly as impressive had they been dripping with rain or even dew drops. It was still a lovely hike and one I'd do again.
Throughout the winter season, rain falls frequently in the Hoh Rain Forest, contributing to the yearly total of 140 to 170 inches (or 12 to 14 feet!) of precipitation each year. The result is a lush, green canopy of both coniferous and deciduous species. Mosses and ferns that blanket the surfaces add another dimension to the enchantment of the rainforest.
The Hoh Rain Forest is located in the stretch of the Pacific Northwest rainforest which once spanned the Pacific coast from southeastern Alaska to the central coast of California. The Hoh is one of the finest remaining examples of temperate rainforest in the United States and is one of the park's most popular destinations. (National Park Service)
We took the Hall of Mosses trail, which is a short (.8 mile) loop through the forest, and came across this stream at the beginning of the trail. It was full of green plant life swaying gentle current and the colors were quite vivid, especially with the reflection of the blue sky. It was very enchanting and somewhat surreal.
One of many enormous trees along the trail.
I love how the ferns just settle in and grow wherever they find nourishment.
These trees almost look as though they're dancing among the ferns, their lower branches extended like arms.
People see all sorts of animals and creatures in clouds. With a little imagination, I see the same in these enormous trees. Trunks look like a back or legs. Branches look like arms, pointing in different directions. Large clumps of moss look like a head peering down at the trail.
We stopped for lunch at the Hard Rain Cafe just outside of the park on our way back toward 101. With no indoor seating, we were thankful it wasn't raining so we could eat at the picnic tables on the patio. It's too bad I can't say that I'd return for another one of their cheeseburgers... Pretty mediocre.
We spotted a herd of Roosevelt elk in a distant field and stopped for a photo. They paid no attention to us and refused to wander any closer. Little did I know we'd see a larger herd in our campground in another week.
Anyone who has read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga will recognize the name of these towns.
With no burn ban here, we were finally able to have a fire!
And roast marshmallows.
And have S'mores. Rod's very first ever!
Click on the photos for a larger view of the image.