The Clearing

Trees, some fallen, some standing, some broken, along the Hall of Mosses Trail in the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park

Long ago a large tree fell over beside the Hall of Mosses Trail in the Hoh Rain Forest, forming a nurse log for younger trees to grow on. Some of those younger trees fell too and the park staff cut them with chain saws, they were probably blocking the trail, and behind them in the clearing you can see a tree that has naturally broken partway up the trunk. This will provide even more light into the clearing, allowing different types of plants and trees to grow before old giants eventually rise up again.

Poet Tree (Rain Forest Edition)

Poet Tree (Rain Forest Edition)

I was first introduced to Langston Hughes by a poem posted on a neighborhood tree less than a year prior so I was delighted when I visited the Hoh Rain Forest to see they had placed signs with poetry along the Hall of Mosses Trail, with one of those poems being Langston Hughes’ “Snail”, placed before this tree that arched from one side of the trail to the other. As you can see from the puddle in the trail I finally got my rain in the Hoh Rain Forest after years of trying, and you can see from the picture below that the sun came out at times too.

Little snail,
Dreaming you go,
Weather and rose
Is all you know.

Weather and rose
Is all you see,
Drinking
The dewdrop’s
Mystery
“Snail” by Langston Hughes

Poet Tree (Sunny Rain Forest Edition)

The Departed Nurse

An empty space below the roots of a tree is all that remains of a nurse log

Despite its short length, the Hall of Mosses Trail in the Hoh Rain Forest provides nice views of nurse logs, fallen trees that provide a beneficial perch for seedlings to take root. As the young trees grow into giants themselves, their roots reach down around the log and into the soil. In time the log rots away, the emptiness that remains a reminder of how life for one tree began with the death of another.

The Dry Rain Forest

A tree is covered in moss and lichens in the Hoh Rain Forest

I recently got back from a week of hiking in Washington and made my fourth visit to the Hoh Rain Forest. My fourth dry visit to the Hoh Rain Forest. While it rained heavily during much of my trip, it was warm and sunny during my visit to the Hoh, so I’ll make a return trip this winter to all but guarantee a rainy day.

I wonder if tourists would pay me on sunny days to walk behind them with a watering can held above their head, to better get the full rainforest experience.