We started this day out with breakfast at the lodge, and then we went to Hoh National Rainforest. We hiked both the Hall of Mosses and the Spruce Nature Trail.
Hoh was the busiest section of the park we went to, except maybe the Sol Duc Hot Springs when the high school class was there. There was a light rain only for a very short time while we were there, so we could bring out the good cameras.
Hiking in the rainforest was like stepping into an oxygen chamber. The whole time we were in the Pacific Northwest, the air was just unbelievably fresh and beautiful, but in the rainforest it was even more intense. It was like something someone should be charged money to inhale.
Near the beginning of the hike, we saw an otter! We hadn’t seen much wildlife while we were there. We were passing a stream, and heard a loud splash. At first we thought it was a jumping fish, but then it jumped out of the water again and we could see it was an otter. We giddily pointed it out to another hiker. We also saw a bunch of tiny fish in the stream that we later learned were baby salmon.
That is a fallen tree stretched along side of the hiking path to give a sense of how tall the trees are.
The forest was filled with decaying plants and logs. We learned about nurse trees, fallen trees which nourish baby trees when they start to grow. This tree’s roots grew around a nurse log that finally decayed entirely, leaving behind the empty space where it used to be.
On our way back from Hoh, we stopped at Ruby Beach for a look at the ocean. Olympic National Park also encompasses a big part of Washington State’s Pacific coastline. By this time even the hint of rain had stopped, and it was a beautiful sunny day.
After that we were starving, so we had a late lunch at Kalaloch Lodge, which we enjoyed. I chose not to stay here this time because I wanted to be in the rainforest rather than the coastal area of the park, but I would definitely consider it if we come back.
We had dinner that night at Lake Quinault Lodge for our last night there, and then we drove around looking for elk and other wildlife. By the time we found some, though, it was almost too dark for photos.