Tide Pools and Temperate Rainforests

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I knew within seconds that Olympic National Park was special.

It sounded different, smelled exotic, and looked like a mystical fairy-land that I used to imagine as a child.

My first stop was the coast, particularly Beach 4, where one of the locals promised me I’d be able to explore the tide pools when the tide was low. There were a couple other tourists on the beach, but most of them were clustered around the end of the trail. I ventured further north to a rocky outcropping that was being hammered away by relentless Pacific waves.

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Beach 4

I scampered about, dodging ocean spray and scaring away seagulls with my presence. There were some amazing creatures: sea anemones, sea stars, mussels, sea urchins, and a host of other living things that I couldn’t identify. As I hopped from rock to rock, I grew in appreciation of this unique ecosystem. I was smart enough to keep an eye on the water level; it wouldn’t be fun to get stuck out on a high point unable to get back to land.

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Sea Creatures!

After I had exhausted myself at the beach, I entered the Hoh Rainforest portion of Olympic. Here, I viewed every shade of green conceivable. One type of lichen that clung to the large old-growth trees looked exactly like lettuce.* The mosses dripped down, hanging off of branches and twirled around trunks. There were waterfalls, creeks, and streams all within 2 miles from the Visitor’s Center parking lot.

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Hall of Mosses Trail

I enjoyed the feeling of being in such an exceptional environment. Simply sitting and watching the world was engaging. A couple slugs came out to say hello, and some bugs that looked like mosquitoes hovered about (they didn’t try to chow down on my flesh like I expected, though). There was so much life and I was glad to be apart of it.

When I crawled into my trailer that night, moisture clung to everything. I didn’t mind, though – it wasn’t as annoying as the humidity back east. I fell asleep within the rainforest, feeling snug and cozy, and all wrapped up in green.

* I later found out that this is actually called Lettuce Lichen.

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3 thoughts on “Tide Pools and Temperate Rainforests

  1. One magical place in pac NW is where the Rogue River empties into the Pacific. So much volcanic material is washed down from the mountains for many miles and that caught and polished in the tidal ebb and flow that natural polishing occurs. The colors and finishes are widely varied. And the quantity is immense. One can stand nearly knee deep in agates of many colors, reach down with a hand and scoop them them up. Some people covet the nearly translucent clear agates, but i found all of them beautiful. I picked up a few as reminders of this place. We explored several river outlets but the Rogue was unique. Before closing, a mention is due of nearby Depoe Bay, OR where the cut in the Pacific beach leads to a small harbor. The large whales are attracted to this cut and gather close to the beach. The town has erected a tall observation tower near the cut, so visitors can easily observe them. My wife, a whale lover, spent hours in this tower — amply rewarded with many sightings.

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