This was not our first trip to the Hoh Rain Forest – we’re Washingtonians and have been many times before. But it was perhaps the most wonderful, for in the dead of winter we had the Hall of Mosses trail to ourselves.
At the trailhead we crossed a stream full of life, where salmon come to spawn and die.
We were welcomed by giant trees
and climbed gently upward into the grove of moss-covered maples for which the area is famous.
There was much to contemplate in the dense garden of green – especially the solitude – and I almost cried for the beauty.
“The atmosphere of the rain forest is so fertile that some plants thrive on air. Dining on moisture and nutrients from rain and wind-borne particles, clubmoss and licorice fern fasten to trunks and branches but do not harm their hosts.”Sign on the Hall of Mosses trail, Olympic National Park
Other sources of life include downed trees known as nurse logs. You’ll know them by the family of trees they support, all in a row.
“When a big tree falls it can provide a stage for new life. Hemlock and spruce seedlings, unable to survive on the tangled forest floor, absorbs minerals, moisture and warmth from the decaying trunk.”Sign on the Hall of Mosses trail, Olympic National Park
This Sitka Spruce on the other hand, stretched alongside the trail decaying, not yet supporting other trees. At 190 feet long, it was only a portion of the original standing tree. Sitka spruces average between 200 – 300 feet in the rain forest.
I read recently that the Hoh Rain Forest is one of the quietest places on earth.
I don’t know how this was determined. But I do know, on that quiet winter day on the Hall of Mosses trail, I felt the dense quiet and calm of the forest and hoped it would remain so for generations to come.
For more information on the Hoh Rain Forest checkout the link for Olympic National Park, here.