That’s right, we did not get to see the Hoh thing, only part of it. Oh man, we got a lot of mileage out of that joke that Caden came up with.
Ranger: On this trail you will get to see the Hoh River
Caden: That’s great! I thought we only got to see a part of the river.
We were camped just a few miles down the road from the Hoh Rainforest portion of Olympic National Park which was high on our list of things to see. Once again our fancy dancy annual pass got us through the gates and while the parking lot was a little crowded we easily found a spot out in the north forty overflow lot. We all went through a Jr Ranger talk so that Dacen and Brielle could mark that off their task list. It was a decent activity but there were just too many kids. The park is popular enough as it is but the holiday weekend makes it pretty jam packed.
We took the Spruce Tree Trail loop which took us by the Hoh river (just part of it). Even though it was a clear day and pretty warm out it stayed very comfortable under the canopy of the rainforest. The trees were so tall and big around. Their limbs just thick with moss and lichen. There were mushrooms, ferns, grasses and shrubs of all different kinds and Brielle’s imagination was running at full capacity as the landscape inspired settings and adventures for Billy Bob and Elfie. It was so green I felt like I had green tinted glasses on! About the mid point on the trail you pop out of the edge of the rainforst and are on the banks of the Hoh river which has the slate blue color from being glacier fed. The drastic change from dense, shady forest to open sunny meadow with glacial river was bizarre. While there were quite a few other people on the trail it was not enough to make it unpleasant. We also did the hall of mosses loop before returning to the visitor center to get Jr Ranger badges for Dacen and Brielle.
As we were leaving the park the line of cars waiting to get into the park was absolutely insane. It went on and on and on. I am SOOOOO glad we got an early start (and you know how late our early starts are) as this would have been a no-go if we showed up when the line was that long!!
Wachs in the Olympics
Kids in rainforest
Bear stripped bark
On the trail
Across the log
In the woods
Hall of mosses trail
Taking it in
Competing in the Olympics
Jumping in the Olympics
Other highlights included:
1. Seeing 2 sets of mom and fawn deer.
2. We were on the lookout for the “active bear” Mama and bear cub and the “aggressive elk with her calf.” Didn’t see either, but saw a tree where mama had stripped a LOT of bark in search of the bugs or the sap underneath.
3. I loved when the ranger pointed out that looking at the forest you can see there is a lot of trees, plants, moss. But look at just a single 2 foot square you can see how many different kinds of each are in just that one space. It was truly amazing and cool to look closer,
4. The kids all got a picture so that they could claim they competed in the Olympics, or Jumped in the Olympics, etc.
5. The trees in the Hoh Rainforest are 200+ feet high!! Only sequoias and redwoods are bigger. It was cool to see how high they were and how big around some are!
6. We could tell it was crowded but it wasn’t too bad since there are several trails and some people were there to do the really long hikes and camp for multiple days. But when we were ready to go the parking was insane – people had made one area into a one way street (that was a dead end so you had to leave on that particular stretch.) Then the line getting into the park was insane! I was wondering if they were going to wind up turning people away at any point.