Olympic National Park

The above image is from inside the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park, Washington.

Olympic National Park is in the Pacific Northwest in the beautiful state of Washington.  It’s size – over 900,000 acres and more than 60 miles of coastline – and unique location sets it apart from other parks.  It is three parks in one – temperate rain forest, mountains and ocean coast. There are several rain forests in Olympic, the last remaining temperate rain forests in the contiguous United States.  These are old growth forests, meaning the trees are typically older than 200 years and numerous downed trees feed the ecosystem.  In these forests are some of the tallest trees around, including Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, western hemlock, western red cedar and others.  Hundreds if not thousands of lichens, mosses and liverworts live in these forests.

Seastacks at Ruby Beach inside Olympic National Park, Washington (Doug Oglesby)

Seastacks at Ruby Beach inside Olympic National Park, Washington.

 

When the trees die they decay, offering sustenance for the rest of the forest. It’s common for seedlings to germinate on these fallen trees. As these seedlings grow, their roots reach to the ground, extending down the sides (and sometimes directly through) the fallen trees. When the fallen tree eventually rots away, the remaining “living” tree will be left standing on stilt-like roots. It can take hundreds of years for these massive old growth trees to fully decay once fallen. During this period of decay the trees provide nourishment and life for the forest, becoming a habitat for plants and animals.

A nurselog inside the Quinault Rainforest in Olympic National Park, Washington (Doug Oglesby)

A nurselog inside the Quinault Rainforest in Olympic National Park, Washington.

This was my first visit to Olympic.  It’s difficult to come away with all the photographs one hopes for on a single visit.  That is especially true with such a large park.  I can’t say I have any real regrets as far as how I spent my photography time.  But, I am kind of disappointed I didn’t get a nice sunrise panoramic at Hurricane Ridge.  What a view that place affords.

See more of my images from Olympic National Park here.

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