Lauren In The Hoh

Olympic Peninsula Part I – Hoh Rainforest

This is part one of what will be a two-part series about my experiences on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The Olympic Peninsula contains Olympic National Park, which is home to the world’s largest temperate rainforest, and surrounded by beautiful beaches. There are sometimes Orcas that can be seen from the shore and maybe a Sasquatch or two. It’s a bit far from just about everything, but it is pretty amazing and worth the trek.

The first week we (my brother, sister, and I) stayed in Forks, a small town on the west coast of the peninsula. It is close to several beaches as well as the Hoh Rainforest, and the campground we stayed at (Forks 101) was quite cheap, though the wi-fi sucked.

I had wanted to visit the Hoh Rainforest since the first episode of Mick Dodge. If you don’t know, Mick Dodge is a man from television who supposedly lives in the Hoh and stays away from civilization. After going, I can see why. The rainforest, dripping with moss and carpeted by ferns, called to me. It told me to leave the trail made by civilization and walk straight in, to lose all sense of direction and immerse myself in its beauty. I did not, because I love the internet and modern amenities, but I thought about it.

There is an 18 mile trail that goes straight into the Hoh, and two smaller loop trails off of it, the Spruce Trail and the Hall of Mosses Trail, which total 2 miles. We hiked about three miles out on the Hoh trail, making for a 6 mile out-and-back. The trail snakes right along the Hoh river, making for some beautiful scenery on the edge of the forest as well as within it. I left with a desire to see more, and I hope to come back one day and hike the whole thing, camping at the small sites set up to host tents in the evening.

The moss that hangs from the tree branches is a lichen that feeds off the moisture and nutrients in the humid breeze. It covers everything in the forest and does not do any harm to its host. On the ground is a thick layer of large, bushy ferns. All of these things made for some awesome pictures and fun exploration.

We also visited four beaches while we were on the west side of the peninsula. We went to Ruby Beach, First Beach, Rialto Beach, and Cape Flattery. Cape Flattery was not so much a beach as a cliff looking out at the Pacific, but that made it even cooler. We went to the beaches almost every day to take sunset photos, as the clouds in this rainy part of the country make for some colorful sunsets. If I had to pick a favorite beach it would be a hard choice, but I would probably say Rialto because of the awesome sea stack formation there.

We will be on the Olympic Peninsula for another week, then I am flying back to Fiji. Enjoy these photos to hold you over until I post about the rest of my adventure on Friday. And remember, the best way to keep up with what I’m doing is by following me on Instagram @rickykresslein, or my new account for any coder nerds, @rickyonrails.