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May 14th 2016
Published: May 14th 2016
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I've got to move faster :)

Day: 27/28

Distance: Gotta be getting close to 10K miles by now

Hello from Raymond on the Willapa River! I'm sitting at a McDonalds (free wifi) and writing this blog. So after leaving Kingston (only 20 minutes from Poulsbo - we vaca'd there once - fantastic) , I headed west on SR 104 till I hit US 101. I went north on the 101 to travel around the Olympia peninsula. It was a very scenic trip with a mixture of lush forest and ocean vistas. Loved it.

Passed through Forks. That was a complete let down. I won't go into the details but I'm not sure why what's here naming (the Twilight series author) choose Forks as the backdrop for her books. I want to say the movie makers did not use the town for the films. Just saying.

I didn't get particular far on the 101 before I started thinking about a camp for the night. I came across the Hoh National Rain Forest (inside the Olympic National Park). I've always wanted to see a Pacific Northwest Rain Forest and this had (shocker) open campgrounds. So leaving the 101 I drove east on some park road into the interior of the park and towards the campgrounds.

The fauna was big. We are talking mega fauna here. The forests towered up into the sky with a combination of Douglas Firs, Western Hemlocks and Sitka Spruce trees. We are talking hundreds of feet into the air with trunks 10 feet or more across. Truly huge. The ground fauna was lush and verdant. Again I find I lack the words to truly describe the scenery. And this is only the drive to the camp!

I have never seen a campground like the one I ended up making camp in. Huge trees all around with fallen moss covered logs serving as various backdrops and natural borders for the individual sites. The variety of ferns just added to the twilight beauty. Then to top off an already perfect site, there is the Hoh River, not yet swollen with rain storms or snow melt, next to my site.

The campground is surprisingly full. I'd say about 2/3rds full, with a mixture of campers and tenters. There was solo camper lady next to me who I struck up a conversation. She was very nice, if not a lot eccentric. Apparently she solo travels all of the time and was full of all kinds of tips for the area. Of all the places I have seen on this trip, this area is in the number 1 spot to revisit and spend more time. It was that grand.

I setup camp and relished the dry tent. The ironic thing is that this area is like rainy 90% of the year but I happened to be there when it was nice and sunny. Lucky me. I hit the sack and for the first time I slept with my sleeping bag unzipped! That was great, except somehow I missed the slight slope I setup my tent on and the orientation of the sleeping bag was along the slope line. So I ended up in weird positions all night as I fought the forces of gravity that were trying to roll me. I woke up in the morning and I just couldn't get up so I listened to the stupid, I mean wonderful, birds screech and caw at each other. I was relaxed and maybe a little bit blissful when the rain started hittin the tent. Well damn, I had all the time in the world to break camp while it was dry and instead I had to break camp in a hurry in the rain. Oh well.

On the way out of the park I decided to visit the Visitor's Center. I talked to a very nice ranger lady who was very informative, and get this, actually interesting. Several times throughout the trip I've talked to rangers and they sounded like they are just reading a script. This lady was very engaging. So I asked her that if I didn't have a long time to visit, what must I see in the park? She said to do the High Moss Trail. "It's only 3/4 of mile." Sounds perfect. So I take the trail. 2+ hours later I finally, reluctantly, left. That was the single most awesomeness and purdiest trail I have ever taken. The variety of foliage coupled with the dramatic dioramas of huge fallen trees with their sculpted decaying remains and stands of towering giants was staggering. I've only seen such lushness when I was in the rain forest in Trinidad. And that rain forest didn't have some of these monsters. The sequoias of norther California are bigger, but they don't have the variety and beauty of the lower foilage. On my trip, nothing has come close to that Rain Forest. At least from a forest POV. Dramatic landscapes is a different story.

If ever you have an opportunity to visit a rain forest of the Pacific northwest, go. You will not regret it.

So now I am way behind schedule. I was hoping to be in Northern California tonight. Now, I'm just hoping I get to southern Oregan. I'm heading south on the 101. The cool thing about the 101 is that I've been on it everywhere but the northern states. When I finish the trip, I'll be able to say that I've driven the entirety of the Pacific Coast Highway. Woo hoo.

Additional photos below
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Moss and ferns everywhere in Huh National Rain ForestMoss and ferns everywhere in Huh National Rain Forest
Moss and ferns everywhere in Huh National Rain Forest

It might only be me, but can't you imagine dinosaurs walking in the background?

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