Continuing our adventure around the Olympic National Forest, on Tuesday we left Sol Duc heading south along the western coast of the Olympic Peninsula. The second stop in our daily hiking plan was the Hoh Rain Forest. Primarily known for its large mossy trees, the surrounding forest receives on average 12 to 14 feet of rain per year - and people think it rains in Seattle! On this particular day the clouds in the sky were widely scattered, making for a easy trail conditions.
One thing you immediately feel when walking into a rain forest is the humidity. Yes, you can smell and see the dense swaths of pollen flying through the air (thank goodness for sealed lenses), but you can feel the humidity. The temperature also drops significantly after leaving the parking lot and entering the green maze. With everything so green you can almost lose your sense of direction. However, I figured this hike wasn't going to be that hard when I saw a large, beyond retirement age, group of people with name tags hitting the Hall of Mosses Trail with us. Below is a picture along the Hall of Mosses route. As you can see, it's hard to take a picture in a rain forest. What isn't deeply saturated green is too dark for a camera to see during the day.
My mom was feeling a bit tired from our extended hike (yes, we left the geriatrics behind and hit the "hardcore" trail too) and I became the designated driver. By the time we left the Hoh Rain Forest access road and hit 101 I wasn't feeling much like driving either, however the previous day a backpacking hiker had recommended that we visit Ruby Beach. I noticed the sign along 101 and decided to pull off just so I could stretch my legs a little and see something other than green!
Boy was I glad I did. It's just a short hike down the hill from the parking lot to the beach and a sudden, unexpected, grand view of the Washington coastline. Below are some views of the beach.
Ruby Beach gets it's name from the red garnet that's mixed in with the sand. Unfortunately I didn't know that ahead of time otherwise I would have scooped up a handful of sand and taken a picture. What's interesting is that I thought I was taking pictures of a fairly unknown place until I got back in the office later and saw that one of the standard Windows background images is Ruby Beach -and- their image is at sunset with pretty oranges hues! Darn Microsoft. I'm setting my background to the Space Needle in protest (or jealousy...whatever).
One of the most regrettable parts of this whole trip was that I didn't get to share this experience with my mom, who was not feeling well and decided to stay behind in the car.
I didn't stay long, just enough to take a few pictures and get back on 101 heading south for our final stop.