Yes, it did rain today in Hoh Rain Forest

Rain shells?  check

Rain pants? check

Waterproof boots? check

Rain hats? check

raining while we walk Spruce Trail

Okay, we’re ready for the rain forest.  September isn’t nearly the rainiest month,  January holds the honor with 60 inches.  September only averages approx 20 inches of rainfall.  Accordingly, it rained on us throughout our several hour visit today.  And on our way down the twenty-mile paved road back to Highway 101.

Hoh River, carrying glacial melt several thousand feet down

The road in and out closely follows Hoh River, the waterway bringing down glacial snowmelt all summer from a couple of thousand feet high above.  The river bed is rock-strewn and full of glacial-ground rock silt, a distinct gray mud where you expect to see brown.

these spruces get to 300 feet tall?

Along the way is a small pull-out with parking to view the large Sitka spruce.  How about huge?  It is 12.5 feet across at chest height, over 270 feet tall, and 550 years old.  This isn’t the only big tree in Hoh rain forest, but it is one of the biggest.  Other trees, they say, grow to 300 feet tall, while the average height for spruce in Hoh is 220 feet.

We walked the three shortest trails for a combined few miles.  The fourth trail is 17.5 miles each way so we saved it for another day.  Oh, and the elevation change is 3,500 feet, climbing upward toward Mt Olympus.  We saw a lot of overnight backpackers exiting and entering the trail, so we let them have it to themselves.

phone booth at the visitors center sports a growing roof

Everything grows here, and it grows anywhere it wants and with relish.  This is the coziest phone booth we’ve seen.  It reminded Jim of houses he and his family saw in Norway many years ago, but it seems like they had cultivated theirs with insulating soil on the roof.  This phone booth just provides a damp surface for stuff to start, and it takes off.

Hoh Rain Forest's maple grove

The Hall of Moss Trail was aptly named.  It is higher above the river than the Spruce Trail and supports more mature forest.  One area is the maple grove.  The mosses like the strong maples because more mosses can ride on the limbs without downing the tree.

nurse log enabled a colonnade of trees

Opportunistic growing things attach to anything in the rain forest.  Nurse logs are as important here as anywhere, but the effect seems more dramatic in Hoh because the logs are so long and so encouraging to great starts.  There’s no question whether a bunch of trees will take root, but only which ones will win.  The first ones to set their roots down past the nurse log and into soil are the winners.  Hundreds of years later the nurse log moulders away and the piggyback riders, mature trees now, stand above the ground.

Moss above, algae and lilies below, everything grows here

Ephipytes, or air plants, don’t rob their host of water or nutrients but gather what they need from the air.  And so it is with these Club mosses hanging from the limbs.  They might become heavy enough to pull down a limb or tree, but they otherwise are just hanging out.  And sometimes they hang out in the prettiest places.

Club moss drapes from the limbs

We weren’t sure we would get to visit Hoh Rain Forest, and are glad we did.  Even if it rained almost the entire time.  It did stop while we sat at the picnic table and ate lunch.  We wouldn’t have been surprised nor would we have minded if the rain continued unabated — the rain is what makes it a rain forest.

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Advertisements

2 responses to “Yes, it did rain today in Hoh Rain Forest

  1. We loved the Hoh Rain Forest. Visited it in October, when they average 40 inches of rain. Of course it rained every minute, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. The hiking is spectacular all over Olympic National Park, with fantastic mushrooms, banana slugs, waterfalls, huge trees, and massive moss.

    • Hi Rich,
      We agree, the rain was a welcome part of being in Hoh Rain Forest. Good thing too, it rained a bunch that day. And we didn’t mind the rain in Mora Campground but we did start missing sunrises, sunsets, blue skies. And not until last night, our first at Ocean Park Retreat, did we realize how nice a silent night can be. The trees at Mora sheltered us entirely from the sky, but they would save up dew or rain and release bombs of 1″ water drops onto our trailer. One landed in my glass of Rye, that was pretty funny. But we slept better last night. Try anything once, do all things in moderation — even rain.
      Jim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s