Hoh Rain Forest, Washington

By Paula Varner
This item appears on page 26 of the August 2021 issue.

There are two types of rainforests in the world: tropical and temperate. Everyone has heard of the tropical variety, such as the Amazon Rainforest, but there are lots of temperate rainforests.

Quietly tucked away on the pristine Olympic Peninsula of Washington state is the Hoh Rain Forest, touted by the US Forest Service as “one of the most spectacular examples of temperate rain forest in the world” (www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/hoh-rain-forest-area-brochure.htm).

With it basically in my backyard, I’ve visited the Hoh Rain Forest many times over my lifetime but never enough, as it never gets old. My last visit was a couple of years ago.

You’ll find bigleaf and vine maples, fallen trees that become nurse logs, a huge variety of mosses, ferns and other plants that litter the understory and, towering above, lofty giant conifers, all creating a unique experience with nature.

The temperature is basically mild, but take your rain gear because the area receives about 12 feet of rainfall annually. It doesn’t rain constantly, though, and most of it is soft, light rain and not very noticeable. Leave your umbrella at home; it’ll just get in your way. Take a hooded jacket or rain hat instead.

The least amount of rainfall occurs in the summer months, May through September, with July generally being the driest month. Still, chances are you will experience some of the precipitation that makes this place such a wonderland.

You’ll want to stay overnight at least one night and maybe two. You can reserve a campsite (www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/campgroundstatus.htm) or you can stay at one of the lodges in the park (www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/lodging.htm).

On your way there, be sure to visit the beach and dip your toes in the Pacific, knowing the water will be cold. You’ll be glad you did, as Washington’s beaches are lovely in their unique way. Just don’t expect to come away with a tan!

The website www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/timelimits.htm will give you ideas for a 1- or 2-day visit to Olympic National Park.

Finally, a good book to read before you go is Murray Morgan’s “Puget’s Sound.”

Tacoma, WA