Hoh Rain Forest – Second Beach

On day 6 of our trip to Olympic National Park we traveled to the Hoh Rain Forest and then to Second Beach. We spent the night in La Push, Washington. The stars were out when we went to bed, but the forecast was for cloudy skies in the morning.

Hoh Rain Forest

Near sunrise, I rolled over and looked out the window, no stars and 100% clouds. I rolled back over and caught a little more sleep. Since it was cloudy we decided to go back to the Hoh Rain Forest for further exploration. Cloudy at the beach means it was raining at the rain forest (imagine that).

Upper Hoh Road

The road to the Hoh rain forrest, Olympic National Park

There are a lot more people that visit the Hoh Rain Forest versus the Queets Rain Forest. Since there are more people, the park service has installed a number of interpretive signs. Some information I was aware of, other bits not so much. It is good to learn something new every day. You climb up the Hall of Mosses trail near the Ranger station up to a plateau where the trail makes a .8 mile loop. Plants grow where ever there is a place to root.

A fern takes root at the base of a dead tree, in the Hoh rain forest.

Fallen trees become nursery food for other plants and trees. This fallen giant had over a dozen trees growing out of it.

A root wad from a fallen tree, in the Hoh rain forest, Olympic National Park.

Fallen trees become a nursery for new growth, until they rot away.

The remains of a tree, whose roots grew around a fallen tree many years ago

Moss, ferns and other plants take root everywhere. There is so much growth on the trees that the tree bark is rarely visible.

There is so much moss on this tree that there is no bark in sight

The Hall of Mosses Trail has incredible old maple trees, with moss hanging down everywhere. Unfortunately, shooting up at the trees meant the lens got covered with rain drops. No keepers on this trip, except for this one hanging over the trail.

Tree arch over the Hoh rain forest trail

The occasional trillium flower adds some color to the green, off green and dark green and brown of the rain forest.

Hoh rain forest trillium

I had never seen a snowberry plant before, then we saw these blooming along the trail. I did some research, and yes, they are edible. Here is a description from Google about how they taste; “The berries are edible and have a spectacular wintergreen flavor, similar to the related wintergreen plant (Gaultheria procumbens). The flavor is more concentrated in the snowberry, and has been compared with that of a wet Tic-Tac”.

From the Forest Service website; “Another common name is “moxie” or “moxie plum.” The word “moxie” may be derived from the Algonquian Indian word “maski”, meaning “medicine”. Advertising in the 1920s brought the word into popular usage, as in “This guy’s got moxie!” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines moxie as energy, pep, courage, determination, or know-how. In the 2009 film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) tells the night watchman (Ben Stiller) that he needs to find his moxie. Next time you are in a northern wetland forest, you can find your own moxie”.  If they are ripe!

Snowberry bloom in the Hoh rain forest.

Along the Hoh River Trail we came across a tree from a Lord of the Rings movie.

This tree, in the Hoh rain forest looked like it belonged in the Lord of the Rings movie

We ate lunch in the parking lot at the Hoh Ranger Station, it filled up while we filled up. It was nice to get there early and not have dozens of people in the picture.Then it was on toward Second Beach.

 Second Beach

We drove back to La Push and watched the waves for a while, then drove to the Second Beach trail head. The trail in is .7 miles to the beach. The round trip is 1.4 miles, but you can figure on some extra distance for trekking along the beach.

It was close to low tide when we got to the beach. The tide pools on the northern Washington Coast hold some very colorful sea anemones.

Sea anemone at Second Beach in Olympic National Park

Sea anemone in a tidepool, at Second Beach in Olympic National Park

Closer to sunset the storm clouds started rolling in. There was some sun poking through the clouds, so I still held onto hope for a colorful sunset.

Sun rays on Second Beach, only for a brief moment

The clouds kept getting thicker as it got darker.

Second Beach in Olympic National Park

Looking at this image you can imagine the wind picking up and the clouds rolling in with the tide.

Storm moving in to Second Beach, Olympic National Park

Heading back on the trail, because it was dark in the forest, we ended up using our head lamps. After reaching the pick up, we drove back to the campground in La Push, Washington. We got dinner fixed before the rain started, and woke up the next morning to steady mist.






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