Pacific Northwest Part Three of ? – Hoh Rainforest – Technicolor Green February 17, 2013Posted by Heather in Hiking, PNW, Road Trip.
Tags: Hoh rain forest, nurse logs, Olympic National Park, temperate rain forest
The theme of this post is green. Perhaps it’s cold and snowy or brown and winter- dry where you are. Let your eyes linger here. Unfortunately, there I could not linger. An overnight and a half-day was all I had. Such a shame.
12-14′ of rain fall upon this temperate rain forest each winter. Coniferous and deciduous trees stretch for the sun including: Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir, Western hemlock, and Western redcedar.
The interpretive loop I walked near the visitors center. Small but informative, the center’s a good place to bone up on info before setting out.
A well trodden trail leads one around a loop:
Many pics from here did not turn out well. Dark at times, I just don’t have the photography knowledge to capture it correctly. Have you experienced a walk through such gentle giants? Cathedral like, noble, solid, the damp scent that accompanies them are unique. So fortunate I am to enjoy similar redwood groves here in Marin. Sometimes I seek them out and just sit and reconnect with being small.
Alright, on to some science:
Let’s talk about EPIPHYTES, or mosses, ferns and lichens that grow on other plants. 100 different types call Olympic National Park home. Some gather nutrients from air. I suspect one sitting still long enough would soon be festooned in green.
A drier, lighter-colored kind:
A small creek, the bed’s plants stretched in the current:
Light filters through the branches in places, spectacular!
Another process unique to the forest are NURSE LOGS. The forest floor being hostile to newly fallen seeds, ones that land on fallen, decaying logs are more successful.
Seedlings perched atop a decaying NURSE LOG:
There they grow upwards , roots forming buttresses around the nurse log which eventually decays away.
Big leaf maple share the forest in spots. True to the name, here you can see this fallen leaf dwarfs my hand. For scale, I have huge man-sized hands (nothing delicate about ‘em).
Next time I’ll backpack in, evade the crowds, with no sounds but those from the local critters and land. A fine introduction to the temperate rain forest this was. Can’t wait to revisit.