The Mossy Mess

A while ago I was asked to be a tour guide for a clothing company looking to do a photo shoot at the Hoh Rainforest. I was the obvious choice for this position as I went to the rainforest once in 1996 for a sixth-grade field trip.

In an attempt to hide my nonexistent expertness, I went to the rainforest a few days before the scheduled photo shoot. I figured this would help make it appear like I really knew my stuff. Let’s be honest though, I could have probably faked it anyway. “Just up past this bend, you will see some trees!” “Oooohhhh, it’s like she’s been here a million times!”

As it turned out though, my expert tour guide knowledge was not really necessary. While getting permits, the clothing company was informed that they would have to be chaperoned by a park employee at all times while photoshooting (which is not a word, but it should be) in the park.

For the record, this policy greatly dampened the company’s original plan of sneaking in chainsaws and secretly clear cutting the entire park to make a lovely backdrop of stumps for their photos, but rules are rules. The company just decided that the Hall of Mosses would have to do as the backdrop.

On the day of the shoot, we pulled into the Hoh Rainforest parking lot and met our assigned park employee, who we (I) nicknamed “the babysitter.” She was a lovely lady who was proficient in all the rules and regulations of park photoshooting, such as “no carts with wheels allowed on the trails.”

I was perfectly fine with this rule until I discovered that it meant we would be carrying all of the photoshooting equipment up the trail. That wasn’t in my contract, mostly because I never signed a contract. If I would have signed a contract though, I definitely wouldn’t have agreed to carry all that equipment.

When we arrived at the Hall of Mosses, the babysitter informed the clothing company that this area with large quantities of moss forming a hall-like scene was not actually the Hall of Mosses. She insisted that the Hall of Mosses was further up the trail.

I disagreed, having been on the trail three days before that. “This IS the Hall of Mosses.” I said. “The rest of the trail just takes you back to the parking lot!”

The clothing company decided to trust the babysitter. They assumed that a park employee would be familiar with the park itself, which was a fair assumption on their part. We continued hiking down the trail, carrying thousands of pounds of photoshooting junk, with the babysitter assuring everyone that the REAL Hall of Mosses was just right around the next corner.

Do you want to know what was just right around the next corner? The freaking parking lot!

Weird, I know.

For questions, comments or to hire me as your tour guide (resulting in a column if you play your cards right), e-mail me at [email protected]