Heading to the Hoh Part 1

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's Cinco de Mayo, but no margaritas here.

However, we did drink way too much wine last night (thanks again Hults) and didn’t roll out of the tent until 11am this morning. Oops.

But we decided to head to the Hoh Rain Forest anyway to check out the campground and attempt to find the One Square Inch of Silence.

For a little background, here’s a link: http://onesquareinch.org/about/

Basically, One Square Inch was designated on Earth Day (April 22) in 2005 to protect and manage the natural soundscape in Olympic Park’s backcountry wilderness. This one square inch is located 3.2 miles down the Hoh River Trail in the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park. The "natural soundscape" includes birds whistling, leaves rustling, water rushing and wind blowing. That’s it. There’s zero noise pollution which means no planes flying overhead, no cars or trains driving by and no boats purring down the river.

We hastily drove to the park, without any specific directions to this one square inch other than it was 3.2 miles down the trail, maybe through some arches, and began our hike as soon as we could.

It was awesome.

And yes, the word “awesome” is completely overused – Lizette is the first to admit she’s a user and abuser of the word “awesome”.

But this was a walk through a freakin’ rain forest!

Yes, a rain forest right here in the United States of America.

To give you an example of how much rain this rain forest gets a year, Seattle gets 34 inches of rain a year but the Hoh Rain Forest gets 142 inches a year!

And it looked just like a rain forest with big bright ferns springing up left and right, seeming to grow right on top of each other, and moss covering everything in sight. Plus, it was raining so we splished and splashed over mud puddles for a majority of the hike.

It’s also home to the largest unmanaged herd of Roosevelt elk in the Pacific Northwest. Roosevelt elk are the largest variety of elk in North America (we told you we’re all about the largest, tallest, widest, oldest…).

After about three miles of hiking we came across two wide tree stumps right next to each other along the Hoh River, so we sat there, took in some sun and ate the sandwiches we’d packed.

When we were done, we got back on the trail and found this tree that’s roots were so above the ground they formed a sort of arch. So we walked through, knowing we were at about the right place.

We saw some stones on a log but weren’t sure if that was THE One Square Inch (OSI). After bushwacking through the forest in search of the red stone, the setting sun encouraged us to head back to camp…more walking through the gentle rain and being wowed by all the different shades of green.

(On our way out of the park we saw the first Elk grazing right next to the road.) At camp, we decided to hike the Hoh River Trail again the next day – this time armed with knowledge of the exact whereabouts of that OSI. An incredible sunset at the Kalaloch beach for dinner, then soup for dessert and an early night in.
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