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Day 48: The Rainbow of Olympic National Park

Day 48: The Rainbow of Olympic National Park

Many emblems of the world hold multiple meanings. It is of no surprise that a rainbow holds various meanings of symbolism. A rainbow can be a sign of success after a hard time or a symbol that it is ok to be yourself even if you stand out from a crowd. It can also be a way to describe something that has many different faces and colors. A rainbow expresses itself by claiming that it is not strictly the embodiment of one self, but many. Olympic National Park is also a park of many colors- and yes, it even has rainbows.

The Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park. June 26, 2011

It comes as a big surprise to many that the continental United States is actually home to a rain forest. The Hoh rain forest located within the protective confines of Olympic National Park  receives an average of twelve FEET of rain. This was the first color of Olympic N.P. that I was able to experience, only a few miles south of my campsite in Bogachiel S.P.

Me, peaking out from a Sitka Spruce in the Hoh Rainforest. Olympic National Park June 26, 2011

The lush rain forest is a lot like you would expect. Temperatures are moderated by the lower elevation and maritime effect of the nearby coast; it rarely drops below freezing or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Mosses, ferns and lichens grow all over everything, from the expected soil to the trunks of trees and other woody plants they can cling their sticky roots to. The Sitka Spruce trees are probably the most sought trees to visit, they tower into the sky by more than 20 stories.

The circular rainbow of Olympic N.P.'s Hoh Rainforest June 26, 2011

Looking up into the sky- although the dense rain forest does make the sky patches few- often gives you a view of a rainbow halo. The mist from the humid rain forest rises into the sky, forming a circular rainbow that encompasses the sun. Nearby is the Hoh River, and mud roads lead to the cobbled riverbed that you can drive up onto, right up to the river’s edge. It is a beautiful sight (and a lot of fun for those who drive Jeeps!)

Driving in the mud puddles of Hoh Rainforest. June 26, 2011

The colors of Olympic National park don’t stop there. As I headed south along the coast I was able to visit the park’s 73-mile long wilderness coast. Here the forest meets the Pacific in grand views overlooking rocky cliffs, tide pools, towering rocks in the surf, and boneyards of giant Sitka Spruce and other trees that accumulate at river deltas.

A stream outlet and tree boneyard in Olympic National Park's Coastal Wilderness. June 26, 2011

The coast is breathtaking, a stark contrast against the enclosing, green walls of the rainforest, it opens up into a great big sky and the sea that stretches further than the eye can see. Wildflowers line the cliffs as you look down upon the sandy beach below, and in the distance islands interrupt the endless waves of the Pacific.

The Olympic N.P. Wilderness coast. Washington State, June 26, 2011

Looking back inland you can see the mountainous portions of Olympic N.P., some peaks are still topped in snow, an alpine ecosystem less than a half day’s drive from the temperate rain forests and coastal beauties. Not only does the park have rainbows, it is a rainbow itself.
Tomorrow I will be visiting two more colors of the rainbow of a geologic world- ones I have yet to see in person. What colors will I see tomorrow? I guess you will have to come back to find out.

The tree boneyard in Olympic N.P.'s coastal wilderness. June 26, 2011

June 26th, 2011 | No Comments
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