Pair of Hohs in the Rainforest
We survived the night in the cabin in the woods which was made simultaneously more and less spooky by the arrival of two we thought were probably German.
They'd been out hiking all day and didn't get in until dark when we assumed we were the only ones there for the night. It was nice to feel like we'd have some tough protection should the murder begin, and after they struggled to figure out a can opener for their dinner I was fairly relaxed that they wouldn't be doing any of the murdering themselves. Lia and I also couldn't figure out the can opener, so they probably felt the same way.
The spookiest part was when we woke up the next morning. We were up around 9am, by which time the Germans, who'd been out all the previous day hiking, had already packed up and left without a trace. Damn that efficiency. How do they manage it?
We left at a reasonable time ourselves wanting to fit a good amount in the day, and so with the roof up on the car to avoid worsening my considerably sunburnt arm, we set off back out of the dirt track road to nowhere and toward the rainforest.
Washington has a bunch of rainforests which are clustered on the Olympic Peninsula, and isn't that cool? It's the largest temperate ecoregion on the planet, don'tchaknow. Thankfully it wasn't raining on the day we were driving in the near-20 miles from the Hoh Rainforest park entrance to the visitor center where we could park, so we were excited to wander the HALL OF MOSSES *said in the voice of the puffer fish in Finding Nemo announcing the "Ring of Fire"*
Before we reached the Hoh we stopped at a clearing en route as the view was simply too spectacular not to take in. A old lady wearing crocs and sweatpants with a fish on the butt was also at the clearing taking photos of Mount Olympus, and told us she used to kayak down the river with her husband each year, but it was the anniversary of his death, so she comes here each year on it to remember.
Even in the middle of a rainforest you can find incredible human connections. Isn't that mad?
Because the Hoh rainforest can receive around 14 feet of rain a year, mosses tend to grow quite well on the trees, so wandering through the path the park had laid out to get a look at just how voluptuous moss can grow was quite awesome. It was like seeing stalactites in caves but furry and on tree limbs.
We'd both read the recent New York Times piece on the Hoh Rainforest and how quiet it is, but despite the plenty of other people on the mile-long trail taking in the mosses on a Sunday, we were pleasantly surprised to find it was still really quiet.
And warm. Thankful for the tree cover, we just struggled with the settings on my camera to try to work with the intense contrast rather than worried about burning to a crisp. After completing the trail and making a requisite bathroom break and picking up a postcard to stick on the fridge, we confidently put the roof down on the car to best absorb the scenery as we meandered out of the rainforest road, and set off on our way.
We took the southern route home to mix things up and see some different things, and highway 101 was much more coastal on this portion of the drive. We pulled off a couple of times to admire the view, and were heading for a particular beach of our own.
We'd seen a lot of photos of the Kalaloch Tree Root Cave but felt while we were in the area it was something we should try to see with our own two eyes before it inevitably fell or got ruined in some way. So we parked up, popped down to the beach, and stood waiting for our time to admire it without a family in front of it making stupid poses for photographs.
Just as that looked like it may happen, a family who'd been there earlier taking photographs no doubt pulling stupid poses in front came back because they'd lost their car keys. So they spent the next 10 minutes searching all over the area in front of the tree root cave — you know, the area other people wanted to enjoy and take their photographs.
We walked up and down the beach marveling at all the crab shells and death that had clearly befallen a lot of sea life recently — a dead whale washed up there the other day! — and when we got back I snuck a quick shot of the tree while the coast was clear.
Then it was time for lunch — fish and chips, we were by the coastline after all, and Lia needs to prepare for the UK this summer — and to head for home.
One last funny anecdote: as we were driving further along highway 101, we passed the school we'd happened upon where Lia had won a blanket that time we were visiting Lake Quinault. Small world out on the Olympic Peninsula.
Almost like if there's only one road and you've traveled on it before, you're bound to pass something twice. Crazy.