Saturday, October 1, 2016

Hoh Rain Forest & Rialto Beach

We enjoyed our stay in the Port Townsend area, but were anxious to move on and see some more of the Olympic Peninsula.  On Monday we had a nice walk at the Tamanowas Sanctuary, then were on our way, stopping in Sequim to visit the Costco and Walmart for supplies.

We left the coast road at Port Angeles and headed inland on Hwy 101 past dense forests and the lovely Crescent Lake.  Carved by a glacier, this lake is long and narrow…and much deeper than it looks.  Some 600 feet below the surface is the bottom of the valley carved by the glacier.  Sediments deposited by the glacier give the water of this and other glacial lakes a turquoise hue.

As we approached Forks, we found that people in this part of Washington also believe in free speech.

They have some other interesting local legends as well.  Do you remember Bigfoot?  He is apparently alive and well here...or at least his reputation is.

We settled into our campsite at Riverview RV Park, the benefactors of yet another surprise.  When we made our reservations, we assumed the park was in the town of Forks because that is what the address said.  However, upon arriving we discovered that the park is actually some nine miles outside of town, and only five miles from lovely Rialto Beach!  Our space is one of three new “oversize” spaces designed for larger fifth wheels and motor homes, and our front yard is the grassy common area for the oversize section.  The dogs are in heaven.

Riverview is a small park that sits on the banks of the Sol Duc River and caters to fishermen.  Not many are in camp because the salmon season closed the end of this week. The ones who are here have been very generous, though.  This is Tim Peterson with his Willie Boat.  We met Tim when he was trying to find a lost cell phone. 

Our cell phones don’t work here, but we used Skype to call his number in hopes of locating it.  We were unfortunately unsuccessful, but Tim gifted us a beautiful Coho salmon and a large salmon filet.  What a feast we had!

Then last night John was visiting with another of our neighbors who gave us half of what must have been a 15 pound salmon.  We’re eating very well here!

On Tuesday morning we made a quick visit to Rialto Beach (one of only a few beaches which allow dogs).  Between the parking lot and the water is a tangle of immense logs which have been deposited on the beach and are piled like a giant game of pick-up-sticks. 

At the north end of the beach are a series of sea stacks, and at the south end are islands that lie off the small village of La Push.  

The views are breathtaking in all directions.

After checking out the beach, we were off a few miles south of Forks to the Hoh Rain Forest.  The dense rain forest valley along the glacier-fed Hoh River is sustained by twelve to sixteen feet (feet, not inches) of rain a year.  And that doesn’t include the 30 inches of “tree drip” from fog that condenses in the canopy. 

This temperate rain forest is a magical setting.  We walked the .8 mile Hall of Mosses Trail twice and savored every minute.  The vegetation here gives a new meaning to the word “lush.”

The trees are primarily Sitka Spruce and a variety of maple.  Their branches are festooned with mosses and the trunks are covered as well.  Ferns and other vegetation sprout from the trees, as well as from stumps of trees which have fallen or been cut. 

The trunk of the tree below is 190 feet long, but it is only a portion of the originally standing tree.  Sitka spruce trees in the rain forest average 220 feet tall and some grow to over 300 feet.

We also saw numerous examples of “nurse logs,” fallen trees which which support trees which have sprouted from or beside them. 

Suffering from rain forest sensory overload, we headed back to camp.  After fixing doggy supper and enjoying a chilled beverage, we took the short drive back to Rialto Beach to watch the sunset.

We weren’t disappointed.  The colors just kept getting more and more vivid and the sky more glorious. 

What a wonderful way to end a day!

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