Wandering through the grounds at Bloedel Reserve, we came across a bench for visitors. This bench did not look too inviting and I suspect it hadn’t been used for a while. Maybe this was due to the shutdown period when no one was visiting so no one was sitting on the bench. Alternatively, maybe no one ever sits on the bench. Whatever the reason, this bench has accumulated a decent layer of moss.
The bench is located in a shady spot near water so clearly it is a moist environment. A good place for moss to grow. The bench has plenty of surfaces on which things can get established. It isn’t in the least bit remote, though, so hardly out of the way of regular traffic. Still, with that much moss now on it, I think it is probably not an appealing place for people to sit. Consequently, the moss is going to remain undisturbed. I wonder whether they will clean it off or, if we come back in a year, the bench will be encased in a cushion of moss!
In the parts of Washington where there is heavy tree cover and plenty of rain, you can get some serious growth of moss on the branches of the trees. Go to the rainforest out on the Olympic peninsula and there are plenty of examples of this but even in the hills around Snoqualmie, you can see such trees. The softer light during the winter helps show up the moss well with it almost appearing to glow in the shaded areas.
I saw one tree across the river from us and in direct light and it really stood out from the surrounding trees so I figured a shot had to be taken. On our side of the river there was plenty of moss too so here you have a single tree and then some close ups of other trees to show just how the moss dominates the trees. Of course, it isn’t very dense so doesn’t overwhelm the tree but it really makes the structure seem much beefier!
Walking along a path up the Cascades, I went passed a rocky wall that was totally in the shade. The shady and damp environment makes it the perfect place for lichen to grow. The whole of the rock surface was covered in this lichen and it blurred the shape of the surface. The effect was to make it look like water was washing down across the rocks but, since it was lichen rather than water, I felt it should be called a lichenfall.
It rained when we went to the rainforest. What a shocker! Of course, it really added to the atmosphere. However, there is a limit to how much atmosphere you really need. Most of the time, we were doing just fine though. The Hoh Rain Forest is in the Olympics National Park and it is certainly worth the drive to get to. The growth of the plants in such a damp environment is impressive. Ferns that are huge, trees that dwarf everything, decaying material on the ground that is being recycled back into the ecosystem. It is all there to see. Seeing it when it is lush and damp is how it is supposed to be seen.
You do occasionally find yourself popping out of the vegetation and alongside a river. This comes as something of a shock after being immersed in the forest. The surrounding hills were shrouded in cloud since this is an area that takes a lot of the moisture out of the air coming off the ocean (and what results in the nice weather on the Gulf Islands that lie in its shadow). The clouds really add to the sense of the place.
We headed back into the forest and took a loop trail through the Hall of Mosses. The title might not be one that immediately makes you think you have to see this but I assure you it was quite a place to be. Everything felt like it was glowing. So much moss was hanging all over the forest and the dampness made the colors so much more vibrant. It really did cause you to stop and stare. Many people came through while we were there and they all seemed to have the same response. It was quite something. Shortly after this, the rain turned from steady into rather more persistent. By the time we got back to the car, our coats had done their work but everything else was pretty saturated. The drive back gave us plenty of time for the heater to do some drying!