Thursday, September 18, 2014

A dry day in the rain forest

From Forks, WA, we took a wonderful day trip to Hoh Rain Forest on the west side of Olympic National Park. Wow. In addition to a couple dozen different shades of green, we saw moss, huge trees, ferns, and plants growing on top of other plants (called epiphytes).  It's beautiful.

We also lucked out on the weather. The Hoh Rain Forest gets gets between 12 and 14 feet of rain a year. I can't even imagine that; where we have a home in Utah gets about 17 inches a year.  Where I grew in Ohio gets maybe 40 inches (and that seemed wet).  Even Portland only gets about 42 inches a year. 

But the day we visited Hoh it was unusually sunny and dry.  
This Sitka spruce is one of many huge trees at Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park.  Other trees common to Hoh are big-leaf maples, western hemlock, Douglas fir, western red-cedar.
Moss hanging from a tree.  You'd think such moss would smother a tree, but according to signs in the park the moss does not harm the tree and only feeds on light and air.  
Mossy branches as seen by my camera's water color setting. When we were at Hurricane Ridge I met a fellow visitor who described Hoh as a "beautiful and dripping" and with all that moss I'm sure it usually is.
When one tree goes down, many others sprout on top.  Aa the fallen tree decays, its organic matter nourishes the new trees.
Jim by a tree that once had a "nurse" tree under to support it as a seedling.
We hiked about two miles through the Hoh Rain Forest.  We saw backpackers heading off on the 17-mile trek up Mt. Olympus, but for that you need what the park calls "Glacial travel skills and equipment." 

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