The Hoh Rainforest Area

IMG_3569
Giant Maple Trees covered with moss.

Ruby Beach

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.

IMG_0089
In my Kermit Chair with Harley

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.

IMG_3509
With his short legs, Harley didn’t appreciate the rocks. We carried him most of the way across the beach.

Destruction Island off the beach has a lighthouse.

IMG_0075
Destruction Island Lighthouse

The large rocks are called Sea Stacks.

IMG_0086
Sea Stacks
IMG_0093
Rugged Beauty
IMG_0094
Viewed from the path.

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!

IMG_3525
Old, unidentified (by me) trees.

You pass a nurse log, which is a decaying log which supports new plants to grow.

IMG_3523
Nurse Log

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.

IMG_3535
Pacific Water Parsley – Oenanthe sarmentosa with butterfly
IMG_3526
Bridge across creek

At this point the trail the trail turns to the right and begins a gradual uphill climb by the creek.

IMG_3537
The worst incline of the trail

At the top of the hill you come to a loop trail.IMG_3540

Here you enter a thick forest of evergreen trees and large leafed maples.

IMG_3548
The Elders of the forest

The moss, which is sustained by the moisture, is everywhere.  The average yearly rainfall here is around 150 inches per year.

IMG_3590
Everything is lush and green
IMG_3598
Moss covered bark

 Moving on around the trail loop you come to The Hall of Mosses.  A grove of huge maple trees.

IMG_0134
Marker

 

IMG_3580
Moss covered Big Leaf Maple Trees

Here are a few more pictures we took along the way.

IMG_3588
Bruce heading down the path towards the end of the trail
IMG_3600
Light showing the pattern of a fern frond
IMG_3563
Sometimes it seems the moss is smothering the trees
IMG_3561
A hole the root of a tree frames these ferns

The Queets River

On our way back to Hoquiam we took the Queets River Road.  We were the only ones on the road which was a nice change as both the beach and the trail had been very crowded.  Bruce had taken the top off the jeep and I filmed this.

IMG_3618
Late afternoon on the Queets River

This mother Common Merganser and her brood of adolescents paddled down river.

IMG_3614
Follow Mama!

 What a peaceful finish to the day.