When I read that Washington state was home to a temperate rain forest, the only place like this in North America, it blew my mind. Hoh Rain Forest was the highlight of our trip from Chicago. I asked the ranger at the National Park visitor’s center why there weren’t rain forests where I grew up on the East Coast. His answer was, “Rain.”
The southwest facing forest is hemmed to the wet, wild coast by the Olympic mountains, capturing precipitation and creating a density of life unlike anything I’ve seen. We followed the river to the waterfalls. Etta found eight different colored hand-length slugs on the way. There were birds far, far up in the canopy of giant trees, and docile chipmunks. I saw no other animals.
I was filming and recording, and at one point I heard a noise and held my microphone deep inside a log… The creature burrowed away. We brought ponchos and were prepared for the inevitable rainfall. Magical, inspirational, dreamlike: not words I use lightly.