Recommended Routes: Hoh Rainforest Route
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Words by Emily Alexander and Rachel Wills|Ben Groenhout的照片
The weekend we choose to ride through the rainforest, it doesn’t rain.
It’s the first weekend of May, which means the only predictable thing about the weather is its unpredictability. In the days leading up to this weekend the forecast has changed almost hourly. Even on the drive out, there is a quintessentially Pacific Northwest moody mist that hangs in the air almost the entire way to Kalaloch, where bluebird skies await.
我们在华盛顿暮色鲜明的叉子以南20分钟的Hoh-oxbow露营地抓住了一个露营地。雷切尔（Rachel）和本（Ben）通过渡轮和美国101西部（Us-101 West）采取了更直接的路线，而我决定沿着风景秀丽的路线，沿着I-5向南行驶至US-101 North。无论哪种方式，我们花了大约四个小时才能到达这里。我们带着满载的供应，套件和齿轮的汽车到达。我们绝不打算或需要完全自支撑，但是即使在路上，我们也非常孤立。
Forks is a struggling former lumber town that received a breath of new life from cashing in on the influx in tourism thanks to the Twilight books and movies. With its population of roughy 3,800 people, it boasts an assortment of greasy spoon cafes, burger and barbeque shacks, local bars that serve food, and bare necessities in the form of a single grocery store that’s connected to the single hardware store, a couple of gas stations and motels, and a Tesla charging station that looks like an alien installation.
None of us have done much exploring of the gravel offerings this far west on the Olympic Peninsula. Rachel has the most experience having completed the Gravel Circumnavigation of the Olympic Range (GCOR) gravel route last summer. But with the carrot of a gravel event, Peninsula Adventure Sport’sHoh-ly Roller, we decide to make a weekend of it.
We are planning to take part in the Gran Fondo on Saturday, and then a route Rachel has pieced together on Sunday. Combining some of the GCOR route with a few adventurous off chutes to trails that might offer some views of the Pacific and a stop at Rialto Beach.
The forests in this area of the state are a mix of public, state, and federally owned, and private property. On Saturday, we ride on publicly owned land. No worries of needing a permit to be there, no gates to hop or skirt under. We only occasionally happen upon very active logging sites that are blissfully dormant for the day. We can’t help but feel a little conflicted at the amazing views offered by the clear-cuts, while wondering at the reasoning behind trying to “manage” nature.
With most of the gravel roads out here being originally built to allow access for logging, they follow the flow of the hillsides. A near constant undulation of ups and downs. Steady, gravel-packed grinds that occasionally meet a very steep rocky kick in the teeth that have us walking almost as fast as we could pedal. Then there are the rocky, loose, and rowdy descents that might or might not be a reward worthy of the climb just completed.
We never make it above 2,600 feet (790 metres) of elevation and, somehow, we climb almost 10,000 vertical feet (3,050 m) over a 66-mile (106 km) course. We know it’s the endorphins talking, but the post-ride beers and brats might be the best we’ve ever had.
On Sunday, after letting the morning light and birds of the forest wake us, we savor some camp coffee and debate whether we think the weather will hold for the day before rolling out from the campground. Descending Oil City Road we fly through tunnels of dense, delightfully mossy forest. The pavement has been broken up by packed gravel sections where washouts have occurred. Turning up into the forest we meet our first gate of the day. Today we’re riding on land managed by Rayonier, which – outside of the main gravel road that transects the property – requires a permit for accessing the side roads and trails.
“某物我一直在使用这条小径……至少定期使用。双轨砾石陷入了奇怪的，并不十分的末端，含糊不清的印象是一条通向一些非常高的草和灌木丛的小径。我们骑行，直到灌木丛迫使我们开始行走。我不确定为什么我如此坚持我们继续。我没有计划这条路线。我不知道另一端是什么 - 我们谁都没有。
我们还没有走10英里，但是我可以感觉我们遵循的那条小径 - 使用攀岩学期 - 走了。我们可以使其连接。如果不是我们想去的地方，我们想成为某个地方。“我有点希望我带斧头，”我听到本·穆尔莫尔（Ben Murmur）。
以胜利的欢呼，我们从灌木丛中出来，并与所需的砾石路重新连接，检查我们的转移，然后重返骑行。Eventually we happen on another part of the route that would send us into another vague foot trail, and after a few minutes of consulting TrailForks, find a workaround that will still take us to one of Rachel’s favorite remembered parts of the GCOR route, a massive bridge that crosses the Bogachiel River before we connect with the pavement of La Push Road.
Almost a mile away, the saltwater air hits us and we seem to all sigh together. Coming around a bend we are greeted by the sight of the Quileute Tribe’sA-Ka-Latrising high out of the ocean, and the waves rolling. If we didn’t need to ride back to the campsite, we could stay here for hours. Lounging in the sunshine, listening to the waves, and letting the saltwater air flow over and around us.
We take a lush, loamy escape route on the way back to the main gravel road that will return us to Oil City and the campsite. The steep ascent – it is a tsunami evacuation route after all – from La Push Road is tempered by the almost magic-carpet-like vibe of the road. It’s rugged but maintained. Electric green stripes of grass running along the sides and in between the tire tracks blend into the tunnel of trees draped with hanging moss.
On the flat grind back to Oil City Rachel begins to slowly ramp up the pace, and the bike racer in me can’t help but egg her on. It has warmed up enough to shed our layers. We welcome the sunshine on our pale PNW winter skin with open, and bare, arms. “I think we killed Ben!” I yell, after noticing he is no longer on either of our wheels.
Coming to the end of the gravel road, and the conclusion of this weekend’s adventure, we stop, soaking in the views of the snow-capped Olympic mountains in the distance and the river below as we wait for our faithful photographer and adventure partner.
None of us quite knew what we were doing when we agreed to this weekend, other than going to ride in a place that feels so naturally magical – a rainforest in the mountains. And what better place to remember that even when you know exactly where you’re going, the adventure comes from embracing all the things that happen in between.
What you need to know
Hoh Rainforest is the wettest forest in the contiguous United States, receiving over 150 inches (3,810 mm) of rain per year. With that said, midsummer is the best time to visit the Hoh if you’re looking for the best chance at a sunny day with views from all the ridgelines climbed. July through September are the warmest and driest months of the year, but it is a rainforest after all. Temperatures range between 40-70 ºF (4-21 ºC) and are elevation dependent, and cloud cover is almost a given. We’d recommend bringing all your gear and all your gears. Even with the best forecast, you’ll want to have enough gear and grit to beat the elements before they beat you.
The flora and fauna species in the Hoh are bountiful. Underneath the moss and lichens rise the western hemlock and sitka spruce trees. Many creatures big and small call this place home including the threatened banana slug, racoons, bobcats, tree frogs, and Roosevelt elk. During my GCOR experience, I was stopped by a large herd of elk galloping across the road I was traversing. I’ll never forget the feeling of the ground trembling below my feet; a trespasser on their land.
Bike shops and repairs
确保你的自行车是在良好的工作秩序you’re fairly self-sufficient as this is a remote area. The closest shop is Sound Bikes & Kayak, two hours away in Port Angeles. Check out Swain’s general store for any other gear needs.
抓住您最简单的齿轮比和最宽的无内胎轮胎（38c+）。尽管砾石森林服务道路状况良好，大部分旅程中都有无垫板的两道轨道，但在HOH滚筒式河道上有一些非常陡峭（20％以上）的攀登和技术下降，这些河流非常宽松。岩石和水棒。谨慎行事。在紧急情况下，强烈建议使用Garmin Inreach或Spot Tracker，因为路线上几乎没有电池服务。
Local cycling clubs
BYOB from your favorite PNW brewery and coffee roaster, or head to the Westend Taproom Tip & Sip in Forks, or one of the many small town coffee stands. Electric Cloud Coffee located in the Swain’s parking lot in Port Angeles has fresh donuts and Dole Whip ice cream in the summer months.
You cannot beat the free camping (Discovery Pass required) at one of the WA state park sites along the Hoh River. If you’re looking for an easy spin on the day of your arrival, the 18-mile (29 km) paved, dead-end Upper Hoh Rd to the Olympic National Park Hoh Rainforest entrance will give you a small taste of what’s to come. If you’re vampire / werewolf curious, the Twilight saga store and museum in Forks is quite the experience.