Last Monday, July, 22, 2015, we returned to The Olympic National Park to see The Hoh Rainforest. We traveled north from Hoquiam, Washington, up Hwy. 101 and stopped for lunch at Ruby Beach.
This beach is on the Pacific Ocean and is in the far western area of the park, where the national park has coastline access. I was curious to see the beach because it is named after the red crystals that are in the sand, which I read in one article make the sand appear pink. The sand didn’t look pink the day we were there, but there was an abundance of driftwood and beautiful, smooth rocks that resembled river rock.
Destruction Island off the beach has a lighthouse.
The large rocks are called Sea Stacks.
Hall of Mosses Trail
It would have been easy to spend the rest of the day at this beautiful beach but we trudged back up the hill, got going in the jeep and soon arrived at the Hoh Rainforest Entrance to the park. There’s an Interpretive Center there and several trails that start by the entrance. We took the Hall of Mosses Trail. Its an easy, popular 3/4 mile trail.
The trail is paved at the beginning and has informative signs describing the types of trees and ways to identify them.
The Douglas Fir has thick, furrowed bark. The Sitka Spruce has sharp needles growing all around the branch and the Western Hemlock has drooping tops. When looking at these old giants, some over 200 years old, I can’t identify each species to my extreme frustration!
You pass a nurse log, which is a decaying log which supports new plants to grow.
Soon you leave the paved trail and come to a bridge crossing Taft Creek. We stopped, for awhile transfixed by many small, butterflies landing on the water plants.
At this point the trail the trail turns to the right and begins a gradual uphill climb by the creek.
Here you enter a thick forest of evergreen trees and large leafed maples.
The moss, which is sustained by the moisture, is everywhere. The average yearly rainfall here is around 150 inches per year.
Moving on around the trail loop you come to The Hall of Mosses. A grove of huge maple trees.