“To connect with your soul, you must first connect with nature.” I am sure someone famous said this, but I heard it being whispered in the trees during today’s adventure…and it landed hard in my heart. Like something out of “Ferngully,” literally, and a favorite film of my Dad’s, I found a place so special today that it made my top 10 for my trip thus far. THIS is HOH Rain Forest.
Located inside the Olympic National Park in Washington state, I headed out about 8ish this morning and checked into the Ranger Station just before 9:00 a.m. The Visitors Center opens at 9, so I figured I was there at a good time. As it has been ALL summer, the National Parks are busier than ever! Now, I maybe waited with 3 cars in front of me at 9, but when I left around 11:30, the line of cars had to be about 100. This entrance is very small, one Ranger on site, so it takes awhile for each car to pay, unless they have the Annual Pass (like I did). Its just a flash of my ID with the pass, just like Disney, and they waved me through after giving me a map.
What I LOVE about this section of the National Park is that this is designated TO the Rain Forest and ONLY that, with some camping here and there. One road in, one way in, goes to a dead end which IS the Visitors Center, pray you find parking, and then it’s time to explore!
All three trails come right out of the Visitors Center parking lot area, so it’s just a matter of parking and watching the signs inside the Forest. I did both the “Hall of Mosses” (.8 miles) and the “Spruce Nature Trail” (1.2 miles). Completely doable with a family, kids, and the “Hall” one older folks could handle, not a lot of climbing in that one, but both have lots of tree roots to pay attention to while walking.
Have you ever been somewhere and thought “this can’t be real?” It was something out of a fairytale. I didn’t know whether to sing and skip (neither happened, I still have my cold), write a poem, film, take pics, or sit under a tree and just absorb the insane energy from this magical place. Every corner I took, I would see something more beautiful, more vibrant, and just the most insane food for my soul. I didn’t want to leave, I just wanted to stay in there all day, build a home, and become a forest fairy for the rest of my life. LOL
Both trails together took about 2 hours, and that’s with walking at a normal pace, and stopping for lots of pics and videos. My cold was starting to kick back in (seems always better once I move in the morning and then I am exhausted again after lunch) so I headed out- immensely happy with the treasure I had just found in this place. As I am driving down the Park, I notice my a/c wasn’t working. Great. So now I will have to deal with that in the next town, I am in no shape right now to deal with it, and this town is small and it’s a Sunday- so barely anything is open to help me anyways. Such is life, got to move with the punches.
I grabbed lunch at “Hard Rain Café” at the bottom of the hill, so happy they had grilled cheese. For some reason, I thought that would be great on the throat, the hot cheese…nay, nay. The bread ripped up my throat more, sending me into a coughing tizzy that was SO embarrassing that I had to wolf down my food and get to my car as quickly as possible. You have your highs and lows of every day, this was mine today.
So I am back at the hotel for a nap and to work on packing and cleaning my car for the next drive tomorrow. All I can say is…”Goonies Never Say Die!” See you tomorrow.
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