30 July 2006 Sunday

It’s a rainy and overcast morning.  We are definitely in the rainforest, lots of mosses and ferns.  This area gets over 145 inches of rainper year.  In comparison, Seattle only gets 34 inches of rain peryear!  We first entered Olympic NationalPark and went to the North Fork Ranger Station and did a couple of shorthikes there in the rain.  One hike was thru an old homestead for the late1800’s describing the difficulties of settling and homesteading in the dense vegetationof the rain forest.

Next we headed out to the another portion of the park known as the HohRain Forest.   We went to another Visitor Center there and hikedthe Hall of Mosses Trail and the Spruce Nature Trail.  We saw lots ofmosses and ferns and trees covered in mosses and ferns!  We found out thatthe rain forest floor is very dense and it’s difficult for tree seeds to takeroot.  What will happen is a tree seed will take root on a fallen decayingtree.  These downed logs are called "nurse logs" and the nextgeneration of trees will grow on this nurse log, extending roots over the sidesto the ground.  The nurse log continues to decay, leaving the new treessuspended on rooty "stilts".  

Another distinctive feature in the rain forest is the bananaslug. We also saw a variety of blackslug.  The slug is important in the decomposition of the forest floorleaf litter.  These slugs are about 3 inches long and areeverywhere!

After our hike we stopped for dinner at the Hard Rain Cafe, a place that hadsandwiches and such.  They had quite a sense of humor and had lots of funnystuff in their store.  It seems like a local stop and the owners knoweveryone that came in.  Very friendly folks from Germany, even their littleboy spoke German, Bavarian.

We found a Washington State Forest Campground that was free and had severalsites open and got one for the night.

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