Plenty of the houses in Longparish are thatched. One of them has a roof line that drops very low to the ground on one side of the house with the door and windows on the other side. That must be the side that gets more light. The back side of the house seems to be very shaded with the result that there is a lot of growth on the roof. It was covered in various lichens/mosses. I wonder whether they degrade the thatch or actually provide an additional layer of insulation.
I talked about the Snoqualmie Valley Trail in an earlier post and mentioned how much lichen there is growing on the trees. I had the longer lens with me on my walk so I tried a few things to get some shots of the patterns and textures on the branches. I even tried focus stacking on one of them to see whether I could get more detail in to the lichen itself. The Pacific Northwest has plenty of areas that get very damp and are almost like rainforests in their conditions. Consequently, these lichen covered trees are easy to find.
I can waste a fair bit of time panning around in Google Maps looking at things I had no idea were there. I was looking up near Snoqualmie Falls when I saw a label for Tokul Trestle. A look around showed a trail on the track bed of a disused railroad. The Snoqualmie Valley Trail starts down in the valley near Carnation and runs up to the town of Snoqualmie. I had no idea it was there and will be looking at riding it at some point. Anyway, I had a rainy Sunday and wanted to check out the falls – see another post specifically about that – and, having finished up there, I decided to take a walk along a section of the trail. It was intermittently raining but I was dressed appropriately so took a stroll. I did see the occasional cyclist, runner or walker but was on my own for most of the time. It did occur to me that the foothills of the Cascades have plenty of mountain lions but they were obviously elsewhere and left me alone.
The area is quite enclosed by the trees and it is clearly a damp place given the amount of lichen growing on the trees. That will also get another post. It does make for some interesting colors when the light does break through, though. The darkness of the trail contrasts nicely with the greens of the lichen as the sun catches it. Sections of it feel like you are walking through a tunnel. (There is an actual tunnel too but, you’ve guessed it, more of that another time.)
I look forward to getting to explore this trail in more detail. A bike seems like the best bet for checking it all out but there are a few trailheads along the way so driving up and walking along it will be a good option.
The park that runs along the river in Renton has some lampposts that are made out of wood. This is a nice way to provide something more in keeping with a park and it is a nice choice that they made. It does mean, though, that the surface of the lamppost is a bit more amenable to wildlife getting established. The damp weather that the Pacific Northwest is known for means that moss and lichens will find a place. This they did!
Moran State Park provided a great place for some hiking. It is a pretty shady and damp environment, though. As we were heading down one trail, we came to a bridge over the river. The bridge seemed to have most of its surfaces covered in moss. The lack of direct light must have made it an ideal location for the moss to thrive.
Driving up to the summit of Mount Constitution, the road twists and turns a great deal. Some of the curves have a steep drop off which will not end well if your vehicle were to leave the paved surface. Consequently, there are plenty of concrete posts along the edge of the road to try and stop you going too far wrong. However, it is so shady and damp within the woods the cover the side of the mountain, these posts get no light and have become home for moss. It looks so thick that you wonder whether the car would even be scratched it you hit one!
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!