Hall of Mosses EarthCache
In Washington, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
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**************IMPORTANT: In order to claim this as "found", you must complete the logging requirements at the bottom of the page.****************This is not your typical geocache, it is an EarthCache, you will not be looking for a "cache container" rather, an EarthCache is designed to bring you to a geological feature. See http://www.earthcache.org/ for further details.
Did you know that here in North America we have a few rainforests of our own? Maybe I should have known this but, before our vacation to Washington, I did not. Yes, the United States of America does have 4 rainforests, one of them being the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park. In fact, it is the only temperate coniferous rainforest in the world. I thought that this would be a great place for an Earth Cache in case there were others out there who hadn’t learned this yet either.
A rainforest is defined by, you guessed it, rain. We have many types of forests here in the US but in order to be an actual “rainforest” the area must get an annual rain fall of 406 centimeters (160 inches). The Hoh Rainforest’s annual precipitation ranges from 141 to 165 inches (360 to 420 cm). That’s 12 to 14 feet! And that isn’t even counting all of the fog. All of that moisture makes for a very lush and green landscape. So why does it rain so much here? The Olympic Mountains, just barely off the coast in some areas, disturb the Pacific Ocean weather patterns. Precipitation coming from the ocean slows, and then is pushed up as it approaches the mountains. As the elevation climbs, the temperatures drop so it drops huge quantities of rain on the western side of the mountains. In comparison, just northeast of the Hoh Rainforest, the valleys are in a Rain Shadow (a dry area on the side of the mountain facing away from the direction of the wind). These valleys also have old-growth forests but the climate is noticeably drier and the trees are much smaller. The Visitor Center has some great displays of tree cross-sections for comparison. The Hoh Rainforest ecosystem is unique. Your drive along the 19 mile road to the Visitor Center will show you a dramatic change from the marine coastal environment that is typical of the Pacific. As you drive you will notice the trees getting taller and thicker, the light getting darker and the temperatures getting lower. The farther along the road you get, the more you will notice how everything is suddenly draped in green moss.
The coordinates for this earthcache are found just a short walk along the Hall of Mosses trail, which begins at the Olympic National Park Hoh Rainforest Visitor’s Center. The entire trail is just .8 of a mile and is a loop. You will need to park at the parking lot at the Visitor’s Center and then walk the trail. It is a very easy hike but there are just a few uphill areas and the tree roots make for uneven footing so it is not wheelchair accessible. The coordinates will lead you to an informational sign where you will need to complete the following tasks to log the cache:
1. Please provide the title of the sign at the listed coordinates
2. There are 3 types of trees listed on this sign, what are they?
3. The sign states that many of these trees grow to be how tall?
4. Post a picture you have taken somewhere along this trail so that we can see whatever feature you found the most intriguing. Please don’t post a picture of the sign or include the answers in your log as it is important for logging the cache. (Update: I am no longer allowed to require a photo be posted for logging this find. I do very much enjoy seeing photos of your adventure while visiting my EarthCache, but of course this is optional)
While you are here, check out the information in the Visitor’s Center. You can learn more about this unique environment and put a stamp in your National Parks Passport (if you have one).
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- Hall of mosses
- Look around!Anything that is not green on it's own seems to be draped in green to make up for it.
- Look down!There are plants growing everywhere!
- Look up!These trees just tower above you.
Last Updated: on 10/1/2013 1:15:02 PM Pacific Daylight Time (8:15 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum