WA – Olympics – Hoh, Hoh, Hoh . . . it’s a Rainforest!

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 moss makes it feel like a spooky lagoon.

What do you see? I see a giant ant. 

The benefit of plentiful rain is . . .

You can see why the bears like this area. So many berry bushes. It was nearing the end of the flowering season. 

But there were plenty of other blooms to add a little color to this otherwise forest of every shade of green imaginable (the paint store color wheel has nothing on nature).

Where there’s water and flowers, there’s also little forest friends like this shy little guy.

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. 

The front of this tree measured 30 feet. The protrusion reminded me of an elephant’s foot.

How tall is tall?

Date(s) Hiked: 5/10-11/16

Road Trip Day(s) #81-82


Jan’s Tips:

  • 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

4 thoughts on “WA – Olympics – Hoh, Hoh, Hoh . . . it’s a Rainforest!

  1. I worked at Olympic NP for a year. Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot of sun in the interior in summer. Winter is another story! You must go back and hike the alpine trails when you can. Mary

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