Prior to this visit to the Olympic Peninsula, my preconceived notion of the entire area was wetlands. I’m sure my brief experience living in the Pacific Northwest didn’t help with this perception as I clearly remember how much I detested the gray dreary moisture-laden skies, all too much for this blue sky sunshine gal. But here I was on Day 8 in the Olympics with not a drop of rain to date.
One of the benefits of my current lifestyle is TIME where I can turn perceptions into realities! I don’t rush from one location to another, instead my senses are wide open and I take the opportunity to absorb the unknown. During this visit for example, I learned that the Olympics is home to several weather and environmental zones, including areas of rain shadow such as Sequim where annual rainfall averages 16″ annually (as compared to the Hoh Rainforest which receives about 160″ annually making it the winner in the continental US). I would have guessed otherwise given the predominant color green accented by the colorful rhododendrons. I bet you want to say, “ha, fooled you!”
Unlike Northern California and Southern Oregon where this year’s el nino provided plentiful rain and snow, the Olympic Peninsula remains in drought, which may encourage visits by folks like me, but even I can appreciate how much more beautiful this area would be with a regular misting.
There is nothing quite like a night in the rainforest. Waking to bird song has to be the best alarm ever!
The notches in this log made for much easier access by short-legged humanoids like me. Genius!
Oh snow covered mountains, how I want to visit you. The Hoh River Trail is the gateway to Mount Olympus. You’ll love knowing I took off my shoes to walk to the middle of this river to capture this image. The black sandy river bottom was very inviting although the water was glacial cold.
How many charismatic mega fauna live in this forest? I recently learned of this very popular phrase used in National Parks to categorize the big animals that we all want to see and photograph like elk, moose, bison, bear . . .
As for me, as much as I like the big animals, I also am happy to see charismatic mega flora (mine and Joan’s phrase). There are lots of big old forest trees in the Hoh Rainforest. Just how big is big? I tried to find a way to show size perspective.
Date(s) Hiked: 5/10-11/16
Road Trip Day(s) #81-82
- Hoh Rainforest – NPS
- Map – NPS Olympic Wilderness Trip Planner (free from Visitor Center)
- Trail Guide – Olympic National Park & Vicinity by Douglas Lorain
- Map – USFS Olympic Peninsula 2014 edition
- Barefoot Jake (lots of local trail intel and amazing photography)
- The Hoh NP campground provides for convenient overnight car camping. It’s a $20 per night, no-reservation CG.
- If you want to camp on trail, you’ll need a permit. You can stop at the NP Information Center in Forks or the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.
- Nearest resupply is Forks.
- Link to my other jaunts in Washington