Port Angeles, WA
July 9, 2018
Finally, we are here !
Elwha Dam RV Park in Port Angeles is our home base to explore as much of the Olympic Peninsula as possible during our month long stay here.
Olympic National Park (making up about 1,440 square miles of the Peninsula) provides lots of opportunities for adventures and a great place to get started. This national park welcomes visitors to explore three distinct ecosystems: subalpine forest and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the rugged Pacific shore.
Because of the park's relatively unspoiled condition and outstanding scenery, the United Nations has declared Olympic NP both an international biosphere reserve and a World Heritage site.
Our first adventure took us to the temperate forest. HOH Rain Forest is about a 2 hour drive from our campsite, but road construction on US 101 west added another half hour.
We enjoyed the drive along Lake Crescent...
well except for the logging trucks that sped by us on the two-lane highway.
Once through Forks, we made a left turn onto Upper HOH Road and everything changed. Almost instantly, we felt we were entering an "enchanted land".
The road curves it's way along the HOH River
through a lush green forest.
Just after entering the pay station, we saw several cars parked along the side of the road. Being a little nosy, we parked and I went to investigate. It was a herd of female elk and calves. Our lucky day !
I made a quick stop at the Visitor Center for maps. From earlier research, I knew there were a couple of short trails that fit our time frame (which we try to limit to 6-7 hours because of our pups) behind the VC. Off we went.
As we crossed a bridge, there was a lone elk grazing for lunch. So cool to watch her munching away and enjoying her day...she sure made my day !
The rest of the hike was an explosion of green...
...and breathing in the scents of the forest ! Ahhhh...
Nurselogs are an important part of the regrowth in the forest. Downed decayed trees provide warmth, moisture and minerals that seedlings need. Seedlings don't always survive on the tangled forest floor.
It's a lot to take in...like the thick beards of moss that feed only on air and moisture. The rain forest atmosphere provides all the moisture and wind-blown nutrients they need.
And the denser clusters of mosses on big leaf maples.
We were gone right at 7 hours. What a warm welcome we had when we got home...lots of love greeted us at he door !
Until next time, enjoy the adventure and...
|This is where the forest gnomes go...that's some big tree!|
|Beautiful trails meander through the rain forest. There were other folks there, but it never seemed to be over crowded. Sweet!|
|The pleasant drive on Hwy 101 west...after all the road construction!|
HAPPY TRAILS !