We drove through the rain for the last hour or so of the trip yesterday. Since we had rain for the whole week we were here last year, I expected that the rain would continue, but we awoke this morning to bright sun.
We decided to take advantage of the good weather by visiting nearby Hoh Rain Forest. We had hoped to go last year, but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. It’s about a 30-mile drive from the lodge to the visitors’ center. (See the map in yesterday’s post.)
(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)
Located 30 miles from the coast on the west side of Olympic National Park, Hoh Rain Forest receives about 140 inches of rainfall annually. Some of the largest trees in the world grow here. Western red cedar and western hemlock grow up to 200 feet tall, while Sitka spruce and Douglas firs can reach 300 feet.
The rain forest environment is also perfect for ferns:
We took the trail called the Hall of Mosses. Mosses cover the trees, making trunks and branches look like green fuzz.
The heavy moisture in the air muffles sounds. If you look up, you’re likely to see the tops of the evergreens swaying in a breeze that you neither hear nor feel.
Roosevelt elk live here, where they find a rich food source of all the plants that grow on the forest floor. Elk are especially fond of salmonberry bushes, which they keep trimmed well below their growth potential of 15 feet. We didn’t see any elk, but we did see evidence of their presence: