Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day Twenty-Three: 'Hoh' My Goodness!

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make any noise?! We spent today at Olympic National Park. We walked around the Hoh Rain Forest. It is amazing! Who knew there was (not one, but three) rain forests in the US?! We walked the "Hall of Moses" trail. It's a 3/4 mile long trail with a whole bunch of mosses hanging off of everything! The visitor's center and pay phone outside were covered in it! It's kind of a long drive, about 15 miles, off of Highway 101 (especially when there are no bathrooms around). When you think about it, there isn't much to do, really, except to gawk at your surroundings. They get around 142" of rain a year, which is why it's covered in green. There are also huge trees there. The Sitka spruces there can grow over 270 feet tall, be over 12.5 feet wide, and are up to 500-550 years old. We took a picture of one that fell, that was as wide on it's side as our shoulders. There was also one that was like 192 feet tall when it fell, but they have to cut them up so you can walk on the path. Then, over the years, other seedlings and trees grow out of the ones on the ground. They have a exhibit in the Visitor's Center that compares the spruce trees here to those in Alaska and the difference is amazing. The trees here are at least twice the size as the Alaskan ones. The area gets so much rain because of it's location between the Pacific Ocean and the Olympic Mountains. Of course, we got to the rain forest on the one day that it doesn't rain!After that, we went back to the camp to settle in for the night. It started to rain again. The rain isn't really too bad. It is a little chilly today, but apparently their summer hasn't arrived yet. It's kind of late- not sure where it is! Tomorrow, we are planning on doing the other side of the Park. Hopefully we will see some glaciers and Mount Olympus. And more forests! Then it will be off to Seattle and Olympia for a while!

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