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Tag: Hoh Rainforest

2022: Year in Review

Pitons of St. Lucia

The Pitons of St. Lucia

2022 was once again an amazing travel year for us! We spent two weeks on cruise ships, many hours in airports, and saw many amazing things! We went both the farthest south and north that I have ever been and crossed off three more National Parks. This year travel felt like it was getting back to normal.

Unlike in years past, our first travels of the year didn’t come until the end of the first quarter with our port-a-day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. We visited some of my favorite ports of any cruise we’ve taken and I have been watching flights to St. Maarten, St. Lucia (top), and Puerto Rico since we returned (we are actually heading back to Puerto Rico in the not-too-distant future). We got to snorkel in the pristine waters of Virgin Islands National Park and explore the oldest fort in the United States (bottom). 

Ship Sailing through Fog in Tracy Arm Fjord

Cruise ship sailing through fog in Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Almost exactly two months after returning home, we got on another plane and headed to the Pacific Northwest. We explored Vancouver, which I have been dying to see for over ten years. From there we boarded another ship and headed north to four ports in Alaska. We got to see a glacier, bears, raptors, and whales, and ride a dog sled. It was an amazing trip but I feel like we barely scratched the surface of Alaska and I can’t wait to return and explore it some more. 

After getting off the ship, we took a bus back to Washington where we spent a week exploring all of the unique ecosystems of Olympic National Park. From the mountains of Hurricane Ridge to the Hoh Rainforest and more green than the brain can process, it was a week of exploring the outdoors. My favorite part would have to be Rialto Beach and the crazy rock formations coming out of the water. It was otherworldly.

Hoh Rainforst

One thing that ties our travels together this year is rainforests. We hiked in El Yunque in Puerto Rico and drove through the rainforest in St. Lucia and St. Kitts. We explored the temperate rainforest at Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver and visited bears in the rainforest of Sitka. We hiked through the fascinating Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park (right). Near-constant rain and lush greenery seems to be the common denominator of 2022’s travels.

Of course, we took the camper out after returning from the PNW and spent some time at some new campgrounds and some old favorites (those stories coming in the next few weeks). The highlight of the summer in Michigan would have to be kayaking Pictured Rocks. That is something I have wanted to do since my first visit to the National Lakeshore and it was an amazing experience that I recommend to anyone!

San Juan National Historic Site

Since the summer, we have been pretty much at home, but more travels are coming soon! You will have to stay tuned to the blog to see what 2023 has in store for us! If all goes to plan it should be another amazing year of exploring this beautiful world!

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Mosses

Hoh Rainforest

Wordless Wednesday: Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

Olympic National Park: The Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest may be the most iconic ecosystem in Olympic National Park. The otherworldly green landscape has been named a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The forest is made up mostly of Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock trees which can grow over 300 feet tall and six feet in diameter. I haven’t seen California’s giant sequoias or redwoods yet, so the trees in the Pacific Northwest were very impressive to me.

Spruce Nature TrailThe term rainforest is very fitting here as this area of the park gets an average of 140 inches of rain each year. The almost constant mist in the rainforest accounts for another 30 inches of rain that allows the moss to thrive in clumps hanging off the giant trees.

There are three trails to explore in the Hoh Rainforest area: the popular .8-mile Hall of Mosses Trail, the 1.2-mile-long Spruce Nature Trail, and the 18.5-mile Hoh River Trail. We decided to start with the Spruce Nature Trail and we barely saw other people on this trail. Next, we did the Hall of Mosses Trail which was undoubtedly the more impressively scenic trail, but there were also a lot more people. Altogether, the two trails were only two miles of hiking for the day and I am glad we did both of them.

If you are planning on visiting the Hoh Rainforest, definitely make sure to bring waterproof hiking boots and a good rain jacket. I bought my boots for Alaska, but I really needed the waterproofing for exploring Olympic! You can see the puddles on the trail in the picture on the left.

Thanks for stopping by! Next week I will share about our time exploring Olympic Peninsula outside of the National Park. To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Olympic National Park Overview

Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach

Disembarkation from Serenade of the Seas was the complete opposite of embarkation. We were off the ship in ten minutes! To be on the safe side, we booked our Quick Shuttle for 10:00 which would have left us standing in the port for two hours. Luckily, they were able to squeeze us onto the 8:00 shuttle. Where our Greyhound experience was less than comfortable, Quick Shuttle was wonderful! The seats were more comfortable and there were fewer stops. If you ever need to get from Vancouver to Seattle (or Vice Versa) I highly recommend Quick Shuttle! They were more expensive than Greyhound, but it is absolutely worth it!

We had Quick Shuttle drop us off at the Bellingham Airport which made the fare cheaper and the ride faster than going all the way to Seattle. This may sound strange, but we discovered it was significantly cheaper for a one-way rental from Bellingham to Seattle than the round-trip from Seattle. It’s things like this that a lot of people wouldn’t think of that allow us to save money when we travel. The rental car was cheaper, our bus rate was less, and it was quicker to not have to stop at all the stops along the way.

Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

For the Washington part of the trip, we stayed at an AirBNB in Port Angeles. Port Angeles is a good base camp for exploring Olympic National Park because the park is spread out throughout the Olympic Peninsula and Port Angeles is centrally located. There are not many places to choose from lodging-wise in Port Angeles, so we ended up this studio apartment in the middle of a ranch home. It was fine but was not ideal for my husband to be working on eastern time. There were some mornings he had his 5 am (8 am eastern) meetings in his car so as to not bother the neighbors.

Olympic National Park is divided into three diverse ecosystems: beach, mountains, and temperate rainforests. Since we had a short time to explore the park (only four afternoons/evenings) we got to explore Rialto Beach, Lake Crescent, Hurricane Ridge, and Hoh Rainforest. There is much more to see in the park, but I feel like we got to see the highlights.

One thing that we learned on this trip is that Washington weather is hard to predict and the weather can vary around the park. For example, it was sunny and warm at our AirBNB but when we got to Hurricane Ridge we hit a wall of fog. When we got home some friends who used to live in the Pacific Northwest told us that you have to go after the 4th of July if you want to actually get to see the area and not just fog. Like I say with most places we visit, I guess we will have to go back another time, later in the year!

Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge in the fog

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week as I share about our experience at Lake Crescent! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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