Hey Ranger! How Wet Is a Rain Forest?

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June 13, 2008

Hoh Rain Forest, National Park Service photoAnytime we travel to a new location, most of us have a mental picture of what to expect on our first visit. My wife and I have enjoyed several great trips to Olympic National Park in Washington. Among the unique areas in that park is the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the wettest places in the lower 48 states.

During our first visit, however, it was a spectacular early summer day, with clear, blue skies and perfect temperatures. We were enjoying the beautiful weather, but we soon learned you just can’t please everybody.

Shortly after our arrival at Hoh, a tour bus carrying a group of senior citizens pulled into the parking lot. The passengers unloaded, and a spry older lady marched straight into the lobby of the visitor center. She spotted a young ranger on duty behind the information desk and zeroed in on him with the unerring aim of a heat-seeking missile.

Reaching her destination, she rapped her umbrella smartly on the counter and spoke in a commanding tone that carried across the room. “Young man!”

The ranger gave her a friendly smile. “Yes, ma’am?”

“I thought this was supposed to be a rain forest!”

The young man proudly had his facts in order. “Yes, ma’am, it is. We get an average of 140 inches of rainfall here each year. If all that rain fell in one storm, the water would be deep enough to fill this room to the top of the ceiling, and …”

This lady was apparently well acquainted with the facts, and she interrupted with another resounding rap of her umbrella on the counter. Fixing the young man with a fierce glare, she snapped, “Then why isn’t it raining?”

I suppose this just proves that travel is a lot like a blind date – it’s all about expectations!

Jim Burnett


Life – it’s an adventure…. Find something to smile about today!

This story is adapted from the book Hey Ranger! © Jim Burnett and Taylor Trade Publishing, used by permission.

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