I first stumbled across the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park after seeing a picture on Pinterest of towering trees dripping with fluffy green moss, shrouded in dappled sunlight. I fell in love from that very first image, and have been desperate to visit ever since.
Sometimes we have this fear that the places we discover online or that are recommended to us by others won’t live up to expectations. The Hoh Rainforest wasn’t one of those places.
We arrived in the early evening, just in time for the light to start turning that crisp, golden hue, and when most other visitors had already left.
The trail off into the woodland is hemmed tightly in on either side by giants, bearded with that magical moss and rare lichens. The sign at the entrance to the trail states that there is a ‘primeval spirit’ that pervades this ancient woodland, and you can feel the mythical atmosphere the minute you arrive.
Looking up from the forest floor, we were greeted with the sight of long fingers of moss, reaching out towards us. You can imagine the owls hiding out amongst the branches, sleeping the days away and watching the odd visitor stroll blindly past. Apparently there are also tree frogs, cougars, black bears and bobcats living out in these woodlands, so we kept our eyes peeled, but didn’t spot any this time.
The Hoh Rainforest remains so vibrant and lush due to the annual covering of up to 14 feet of rain that falls here (that’s opposed to 36 inches of rain in Seattle!). Due to its location on the western slopes of the Olympic mountains, the rainforest is one of the most prevalent areas in Washington State for rainfall and for perpetual curtains of mist and fog.
I don’t know if I’ve just been watching too much Game of Thrones, but don’t you think this tree looks like a dragon..?
Our favourite section of the forest was the Hall of Mosses. There is a section of path here that is framed perfectly on all sides by crooked, towering trees, dripping with moss and sprinkled with dappled light. I feel like all that was needed was a rocking chair and some blankets, and I would have been in my element.
I think other than Milford Sound, this may have been the only place we were a little unlucky to miss the usual damp and gloomy weather. I would imagine that the rainforest would be even more spectacular in a soft grey light, with dewdrops sprinkling the moss and a gentle mist blanketing the treetops.
Have you visited the Hoh Rainforest yet, or anywhere similar? We’d love to hear about other places like it!
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