We are becoming habitually late starters or maybe we always have been and I’m just beginning to notice. We walked around first beach at La Push and said goodbye to our neighbors before stowing our goods and hitting the road. Forks was the next city of any size and by any size, I mean they have three gas stations. We gassed up and then visited the TruValue Hardware store to top off the propane. They had a real grocery store so we stocked up on a few staples before heading inland into the Hoh Rain Forest.
We weaved our way through the ess turns of the bumpy forest road for about a half an hour until we reached the gate at the Olympic National Forest. My senior pass got me in free and gave us half priced camping so an easy $10.00 a night in the rainforest. No sooner had we entered the park, we came across some Roosevelt elk grazing along the roadside. We were as excited as the folks in the little red car taking pictures out of the window coming the other way.
After setting up camp, we returned to the entrance to get a pass for PJ and came across a larger herd of elk gathered in among the trees. This herd had a big bull and several little calves. We watched them for a while then some others cars came along so we figured we’d give them a turn at viewing the beasts. Awesome. These elk were imported from Alaska way back when and are known as either Olympic elk or Roosevelt elk. It is said that it’s rare to spot them, but it seems we got lucky.
We headed over to the closed visitors center and took a hike on some of the short trails by the parking area. We headed off on the Spruce Trail that took us to the right through luscious rain forest before reaching an opening on Taft Creek. This area gets 200 inches of rain a year and it shows. There’s no room for new seedling trees to grow on the forest floor so they start out growing on fallen logs until they rot away and the roots reach down to the soil. The trees grow in a straight line where the nurse tree had fallen and the recruits had planted themselves along the length of the downed tree trunk.
Another shorter trail led over to the Hall of Mosses on the left side of the trail fork. This trail led up higher into the trees and featured some older more established forest. There were a few others hiking about, some even in costume. PJ said happy Halloween to a passing skeleton as we crossed a bridge to the trail leading up to the giant maple grove. The maples were lacking leaves, but sure weren’t missing any moss. A small stream flowed past adding a gentle gurgling sound as accompaniment to the scenery.
Half of the campground is closed for the winter. We selected the last site on the end next to the empty section. Cali is loving it. She gets the entire shut down camp as her personal playground. We are on a small bluff overlooking Taft Creek with the forest for the back drop. There are maybe six other campers spread out throughout the park, none too close to the other. A very pleasant, peaceful location.