Olympic National Park ; Hoh River Trail

One of my absolute favorite day hikes is the Hoh River trail. It’s an easy hike that allows me to totally focus on the life around me and not worry about any of the trail hazards I might normally have to pay attention to when going out into a wilderness area. And it never disappoints! The wildlife along the trail is beautiful and surprising every time.

This time, one of the most delightful and surprising encounters was this Spruce grouse. I didn’t know what it was at the time but I was walking back along the trail and came around a corner almost face to face with this fluffy bird rolling around in the dirt. I froze, not wanting to scare it, but I needn’t have worried, it didn’t care in the slightest that I was there.

Spruce Grouse taking a dust bath.

It wasn’t until later looking up what kind of bird this is, that I discovered youtube is full of encounters with this bird dust bathing and totally unafraid of humans.

This perfect spring Trillium is an iconic sign that summer is on its way.

I’m not great at identifying birds, not by appearance or song, but I love it when I can look up and see the actual bird singing.

My best guess: Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)

I love seeing the deep turquoise color of the glacial melt so common in this river, but I only got a few glimpses of the Hoh River this time. I’m not sure if the water level was lower this year or if the trail had moved a bit further from the edge of the river. I did see some signs that the trail had been washed out and later rerouted further away, but I suspect the water level was lower as well.

I was able to catch a snake crossing the trail on photo. This common garter snake wasn’t thrilled about me, but obligingly held still for a few pictures.

Common garter snake paused along side the trail for a photo.
Mineral Creek Falls, a small stream that feeds into the Hoh River about 3 miles from the visitor’s center.