Little wonders of the forest stand out in the rain

The forests of the Northwest are beautiful in the rain. I’ve argued before that you can’t really call yourself a Northwest hiker until you’ve hiked in the rain, on purpose.

Recently, I spent a day helping teach a navigation course with the Everett Mountaineers. The course was at Camp Pigott, near Monroe. The first part of the course is indoors, where students learn how to use a compass to plan trips, take a bearing, etc.

Then, the fun begins. Everyone goes outside and tries it out.

My favorite part of the day is a trek through the thick trees and underbrush. The goal for the students is to navigate from one point to the next using their compasses and teamwork. As an assistant, my job was to offer help as needed but mostly just let the students lead the way.

I love scrambling through the woods like this. Over logs, under logs, around bushes, up slopes. It’s like being a kid again, in the best playground in the world.

As we slowly trekked uphill, I got to really enjoy the up-close beauty of a rainy forest.

Usually, I travel on trails. And I love this. But on the trails, I miss so many things. During our slow progression, I had time to really stare at the moss. I found tiny mushrooms. I admired water drops clinging to lichen.

All I had with me that day was my iPhone, but I couldn’t resist snapping some photos with it. The photos here are a bit of what I saw that day.

Moss grows on the branch of a tree. The pods growing out of the moss are spore capsules, which the moss uses for reproduction.

A sword fern shines on a rainy Northwest day. Sword fern is very common in Northwest forests and it’s especially beautiful on wet, misty days.

Little cup-like growths (Fungi? Lichen? Does anyone know?) cover a fallen branch amidst the jumble on the forest floor.

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