Today was one of those "Wowser" days. We visited the HOH rain forest south of Forks Washington off Highway 101. The rain forest is a not-to-be missed attraction on west side of the Olympic Peninsular. It was a long drive from Sequim, but worth every minute. Temperate rain forests are rare, only being found here, in southern Chile and in New Zealand. A temperate rain forest requires a mild coastal climate with rare winter frosts or summer temperatures above 80 and lots of rain. The average annual rainfall to this area is 12 to 14 feet.
The Hoh Rain Forest, which contains more than 3,000 species of plant life, abounds in Sitka spruce and western hemlock, some reaching 3OO feet in height and 23 feet in circumference. See pictures of Jerry standing next to The Rain Forest Monarch, a giant Sitka spruce tree, 270-feet high, 12.5 feet in diameter, aged between 500-550 years.
We also saw a huge herd of Roosevelt deer. This time I was able to get some nice zoomed pictures. This unique white-rumped elk, whose population is nearly 5,000 animals, is one of the primary reasons for the creation of the park. The park was shaped by their migratory trails. They represent the only major concentration of elk remaining in the United States. The Roosevelt elk, named after President Theodore Roosevelt, are social animals that exist in herds. We saw them on the way to the visitors center on one side of the street. By the time we walked the trails and left, they were grazing on the other side closer to the HOH river. It was an awesome site to see.
The awesome Hoh River runs all through the area. It is a glacier-melt river, it is colder, and often higher in the summer from ice melt, and warmed in the winter when it is fed only by winter rainfall. The color of the glacier water reminded us of the ones we saw in Alaska. Incredible! I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story. More later from Washington.