It seemed like a good idea at the time....
We had missed out on several camping trips during the incredibly beautiful Fall
weather in the Pacific Northwest this year due to my job's project deadlines and several so-called 'emergencies'. I was feeling rather depressed about the situation when I came across this article in the travel section:
Hoh Rain Forest comes alive in Fall | Seattle Times Newspaper
and an idea was born. We would take our Scamp
to the Rain Forest in the latter half of December, see the coho salmon run, watch for elk, and see the forest in all its rainy glory!
We departed on Friday, December 16th. We reached the final turnoff as the sun was setting and headed inland, deeper and deeper into the forest, fog thickening and massive moss-draped trees evoking a deep gloom.
This is the point where you start asking yourself why you thought this was a good idea.
After ~12 miles we arrived at the campground and the notice board said to pick out a site and then return to self-register. Only 'A' loop was open. We did a quick trip around the loop to scout out sites in the last gasp of daylight. The entire campground was deserted, not another soul to be seen. We chose site A29 which backed onto river and quickly set up, got registered and settled in for the long night.
The next morning was unexpected. The sun broke through the fog to reveal beautiful sights.
Camp site by the Hoh River:
It was cold so we pulled on our down jackets and shells and set off to see the sights. We walked the Hall of Mosses trail. We strolled along Taft Creek and spotted only a couple coho making their way upstream. The park rangers explained that the salmon (and other critters) are more abundant when it rains and the Hoh had been very dry this December. But rain was in the forecast for the evening so there was more hope for Sunday.
Given the weather we decided to spend the rest of the day exploring the Hoh River Trail. Sun filtered through the trees creating beautiful vista after vista. It was so warm by afternoon that jackets were put away. Peter did decide to add a vest to his short-sleeve shirt
Peter on the Hoh River Trail
Beautiful vistas along the Hoh River Trail:
On the way back we had a very close encounter with a black bear who was about to cross the trail just as we were coming through. No pictures available -- I was too frightened to even think about that! We stopped in our tracks, the bear looked at us, we looked at him, and then he ambled off into the brush. whew! The rangers informed us this is a rare occurrence --- particularly given the time of year as most bears are hibernating by now --- and it took forever for them to locate their bear sighting form so we could fill it out for them.
That night is rained, as forecast. We hiked the Spruce Trail and went back to Taft Creek where we saw more salmon in action and spotted these two doin' the tango together.
Pair of coho in Taft Creek
We departed on Monday for the coast. Two elk were grazing next to the road as we pulled out. Our Rain Forest adventure wasn't quite what we had planned but, in retrospect, just kind of adventure that we both enjoy.
--Lynne (& Peter)