Hoh Rainforest & The Olympic Peninsula
The Olympic Peninsula of Washington State is a mythical place of intrigue and solitude. Our journey to the forest started with a relaxing ferry ride from Edmonds to Kingston. Munching a bacon egg and cheddar bagel is a damn good way to start any trip. It tasted even better from the windy sun deck of one of Puget Sound's oldest vessels.
On our way across the sound it was impossible not to notice the presence of Mt. Baker and Rainier to the North and South, respectively. To the west the Olympic range rose to prominence above a sea of EvergreenTreez. It was a mostly sunny morning with very little wind. The glassy water was disturbed only by the occasional seal looking for a morning snack. Once we arrived in Kingston it was clear we were in for a special experience. The Sequim Bay State Park is a hidden gem that boasts an abundant forest and chill day spots to access the beach. Views of the sound can be found all over the park.
Besides the State Park there isn't much to see in Sequim. Other than the famed Mervin Manufacturing, of course. Legend has it that the weird and wonderful world of Lib Tech and GNU was born here because of the mythical forests and world class surfing beaches. They weren't lyin'. We stumbled across the infamous Banana Way and decided to stop in for a visit.
We stopped by with the intention of simply seeing the World's most environmentally friendly surf and snowboard factory. We didn't know that we'd be going on a guided tour through it! We were greeted by a jovial fellow smoking a stog who told us we could see the eco process in action as long as we didn't take any photos inside. We gladly obliged and made our way into the factory after donning the standard issue safety glasses. After working in the snowboard industry and selling more Lib Tech and GNU boards than I can count it was insanely dope to see the place where they come to life. Each model has it's own specific press where the rocker and camber shape are built in. The different types and densities of woods they use in each board is insane. Seeing every step of the process from building a core to sublimating a graphic and laying an edge was pretty damn cool. The walls were adorned with topsheets of some of the most iconic models from the past 20+ years ranging from the GNU Finsanity and SpaceCase to the first T Rice and Jamie Lynn pro models. Needless to say I was pretty blown away by the experience and the amount of questions I asked was too damn high. Anyways, the entire Mervin experience is weird and wild, just like the snowboards we love to stand on.
Our goal was to find somewhere on the coast to pitch a tent and make some s'mores. We ended up in La Push, a small coastal town known for it's beaches and proximity to Forks, the home of the Twilight Saga. La Push is a part of the storied Quilcene Reservation and we were stoked at the opportunity to find our own walk-in campsite at Second Beach. We hoofed our way down the .07 mile trail and were greeted by the sweet aroma of saltwater. Giant driftwood provides shelter along the entire shoreline and makes for a ton of excellent spots to set up camp. We chose a spot where we had a natural fire pit and two logs to hang a hammock.
Building a fire on the beach with wet wood we gathered proved to be the hardest task of the day. All things considered, I'll take it. This was one of the most relaxing spots I'd ever set up camp. Once we lightened the load we were able to walk down the beach for miles and investigate various tide pools, rock formations and sea stacks. The biologically diverse coastline is home to over 20 plants and animals that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth.
The sunset that night was unbelievable; stuff of legend. The fact that our night under the stars coincided with a full moon only made the evening more enchanting.The next morning we gathered up all our sandy camping gear and trekked back up the trail to visit the Hoh Rainforest, the largest old growth forest in the Pacific Northwest. Some of the ancient treez took roots here between 200 and 1,000 years ago. The complex forest communities are a gift from the past in a truly spiritual location. The Hall of Mosses sees an average of 240 inches of rain annually! Seattle's average is 38 inches.
Several of the EvergreenTreez that live in the Olympic National park hold the world record in size for their respective species. Walking among these giants makes our problems seem so trivial. The interconnectedness of this region is truly a marvel to behold. We saw a massive elk wandering around munching on tall grass. Birds of prey soar overhead while fish and vibrant algae thrive in the forest's cool, clean waters.
Looking up for too long at the Hoh canopy might make you fall over or hurt your neck, but it's worth it.
I hope everyone has the opportunity to visit this mythical forest. There aren't many ecosystems like it on this planet. Taking a deep breath and walking through a lush forest of EvergreenTreez is good for the soul. There were numerous times when I felt how Link must have the first time he met the Great Deku Tree. Here's to experiencing Life In the Treez and Moments like These--->