Hoh Rainforest, Rialto Beach – Day 10!

Hoh Rainforest is the largest temperate (i.e. not tropical) rainforest in the US. Storm clouds roll in from the Pacific, and get blocked by the Olympic mountain range, so the rain and fog and damp just hover & fall over the area. Roughly 137 inches of rainfall/year (compared to 42″/year in Boston). We took the Hall of Mosses and Spruce Trails. Lush, green, with mosses hanging in sheets or like green tinsel from the trees – the mosses get their nourishment from nutrients in the moist air (the chameleon’s dish, promise-crammed – [points if you get the reference])!

Tall, huge trees, with tons of dead ones toppled on the ground, and younger trees growing up over them. Nurse logs – seedlings take root on downed logs, drawing nutrients from them. The seedling roots keep growing till they reach and enter the ground. As the nurse log decays away, the younger trees look like they’re growing on stilts, all in a row where the nurse log used to be.

The tall trees have very shallow roots. 80% of the fallen trees were blown down by wind. Then they fall into rivers, and get washed down to the ocean – hence, all the giant logs in the surf, on the shore.

Even though we didn’t take the Hoh River trail, we did get to have lunch by the river – the usual PB, banana & jelly. Wildlife – giant yellow banana slug, trailing pine needles in its slime. Black-tailed doe & faun strolling down the road.

From the hot sunny rainforest to cool, cloudy Rialto Beach, across the river from the town of La Push. At the river, sunshine. Turn to face the beach, windy, gray, and hundreds of giant bleached driftwood logs that once stood in the rainforest.

Dinner for 13 in the river/beach-front restraurant in La Push, so we could watch the sun set into the Pacific. Service was so poor – open only 4 days, short-staffed, that we started serving ourselves what we could find – thank you, Jay! I had to run outside, before we were quite done, to catch the spectacular sunset over the “seastack” rock formations. Ended the night sitting along the beach, watching a family set off fireworks.

Click a photo to scroll through full-size.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Al said,

    totally gorgeous!


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