Monday, September 12, 2011

Olympic National Park (Part 2)

We woke up to a beautiful but foggy Friday morning.  We took a walk on the beach and took in the views before heading to the Hoh Rain Forest about 40 miles northeast.

Being used to the east coast beaches, it was strange to see the huge trees and rocks on the shore. 

It was an easy ride and the temperature rose steadily as we went inland.  It was fascinating to see the change in the landscape as we approached the rain forest.  We did two hikes, but will have to return another time to do the 36 mile round-trip hike to the blue glacier.  Next time we hope.

I found the nurse logs one of the most interesting aspects of the rain forest.  With an average yearly rainfall of  more than 140 inches, the trees don't need a deep taproot so even the oldest spruce, cedar and hemlocks can fall over.  When this happens, seedlings start to grow on the fallen tree, and eventually roots travel to the ground.  These trees decay very slowly, maybe a couple of hundred years, so when they are finally gone, huge trees are left with tunnels underneath.

Not the largest tree we saw, but it gives you an idea.

The Hoh River fed by glaciers.

Plants in the water with overhanging air-ferns.

And my "what's up with that?" moment.  After hiking along rock walls with 1000 foot drops with no railing in Glacier, this trail was a gentle 15 foot slope down to a creek, yet it had a railing.   Hmmm.

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