From Tropical to Temperate Rain Forest

How quickly we replaced the warm humid climate of Costa Rica’s tropical rain forest with the cold humid climate of the Olympic Peninsula’s temperate rain forest.

Returning to Our Temperate Rain Forest

How quickly we replaced the warm humid climate of Costa Rica’s tropical rain forest with the cold humid climate of the Olympic Peninsula’s temperate rain forest. Same green colors and lush foliage but about 40 degrees difference in temperatures.

Each has a uniqueness and special charm to it but to be honest, as we were slogging through the mud and up the next hill, I was missing Costa Rica. Not that I begrudge the Pacific Northwest, it’s just that this January has been cold, wet, and windy. When I say wet, I mean consecutive days in a roll record-breaking wet. Not to mention snow in all the wrong places.

Surveys Conducted in Winter

That said, once we make it our survey beach, it felt like coming home to an old friend. Temperates were chilly and the wind made it seem more so, but we both enjoyed discovering the changes that the current season had imposed on our beach.

Our particular beach, Toleak Beach,  is one of the more remote and difficult beaches to get to. It’s quite a hike just to get to the starting point of our survey section. A couple of miles through rough terrain, having to cross multiple drainages and then navigate Scott’s Bluff. This isn’t the norm for COASST beach surveys so don’t let that put you off if you’re thinking of volunteering, but it’s the very remoteness and physical challenge of this particular beach that drew us to it.

Support

Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:

  • COASST Beached Bird Surveys
  • Wild and Scenic River Project

Thank you.

Winter makes it all the more challenging. We have a small window of low tide which will give us access to the entire length of the survey. Combine that with the short winter days and it can be difficult to find that window during daylight hours. Then add in our winter storms and it really becomes a crapshoot.

More than once we’ve made the grueling hike down to the beach expecting to have a survey in the bag only to find the storm surge and extra high low tide closing off the beach entirely. Nothing left to do but have a snack and turn around to tackle the hike out.

To add insult to injury is often it’s too cold, wet and windy to have a comfortable break to fuel up on lunch and hot coffee. Stop moving during winter storms and hyperthermia can become a real issue. But doing the hike in, survey, and hike out can be both physically demanding and a spirit crusher.

How quickly we replaced the warm humid climate of Costa Rica’s tropical rain forest with the cold humid climate of the Olympic Peninsula’s temperate rain forest.

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Fort Flagler is a historic fort that was built at the turn of the last century. Despite being built for military purposes, it never fired a shot in anger. By the time the fort was completed, it was already obsolete, and its guns were shipped to the East Coast to take part in World War I.⁠ Media Description: Fort Flagler ...

I woke up to a spectacular clouds show this morning. It was ever-changing and dramatic. I think it was due to a front moving in and then hitting the Olympics. ...

Boarding the MV Coho bright and early for a journey to Victoria, British Columbia. ...

Did you notice the breathtaking sunrise this morning? It was a refreshing change to see it without any rain. ...

Camping at Fort Worden this weekend. Nice to have the temperatures moderate and get outdoors. Even had a spot of sun as we passed the lighthouse on our walk. ...

It's sunny, but man, it's frigid out there! ...

We are enjoying the tranquility of a waterfall deep in the Olympic National Forest. ...

Taking a break on the trail to Goat Rock's summit for coffee. The trail leads from the park under the iconic Deception Pass Bridge. ...

Near the Tieton River bank, we found a blooming Brittle Prickly Pear (Opuntia fragilis). Visit our website for more details and photos from this trip. ⁠ Media Description: Brittle Prickly Pear ...

Hey, we're going camping this weekend at Fort Flagler State Park. Looks like there's a wild front coming through and the winds are really starting to howl. The good news is that we pretty much have the whole campground to ourselves. ...

Yellow Salsify reminded us of our childhood, and yes, we spent considerable time blowing the seeds into the breeze.⁠ Media Description: Yellow Salsify. You can find more photos and read about this adventure with the link in the bio. ...

This set of pillars made from columnar basalt at the terminus of Frenchman Coulee is popular among rock climbers.⁠ Read more about this in the link in bio. ...

We started our hike to the Frenchman Coulee Waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge early in the morning to beat the heat. However, when we reached the bottom of the waterfall, it was already scorching hot. Follow the link in the bio to read more. ...

Point Wilson Lighthouse at night. This is a hand held shot with the new iPhone. Hard to believe where tech has taken us. ...

Large waves from the evening storm crashed against the rocks at the base of Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. ...

Bothy Bag to the Rescue

I dug out some kit from my kayak gear that seems to have solved that last issue; the bothy bag. I use to carry it when I was kayaking guiding. I was introduced to it during one of my BCU training weekends. Apparently, it’s a bit of kit that is used by the mountaineering group as an emergency shelter but adopted by the kayak group as well.

Basically it’s a nylon igloo that you can drape over your party (they come in different sizes, mine is a 4 man bag). A couple of hiking poles keeps it off your head, but it provides instance shelter from the wind and rain. Your body heat will quickly make the interior pleasantly toasty. Add a blow-up cushion to sit on and you’re all set.

To be honest, I’m embarrassed that it took me this long to remember this be of ingenious kit, but all is forgiven with Theresa since she now can look forward to warm, comfortable breaks.

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