Rental Car Stuck Behind an Olympic NP Washout

Hiking in the Hoh Rain Forest : Seattle PI PhotoWow, talk about some bad luck! Someone's got their car stuck on the wrong side of a washed-out road in the Hoh Rainforest.

If you watch the national news at all, you'll know that we've had some crazy rainfall here in the Pacific Northwest during November. In fact, Seattle has set a new record for rainfall during the month of November (currently at 11.63") and will most likely set a new "all-time wettest month" record before the month is through (record is 12.92"). And, for as wet as it's been in Seattle, the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park gets even more rain as the weather systems slam first into the Olympic foothills coming off the coast.

All those storms have caused a lot of damage to northwest parks. Mt. Rainier National Park has suffered tremendous losses, as has Glacier National Park, especially along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The damage in Olympic is estimated to be at least $3 million so far. One of the biggest losses in Olympic so far has been the road to the Hoh Rain Forest on the west (wet) side of the park. A 75 foot long, 25 foot deep section of the road is now gone, presumably washed away down the Hoh River headed towards the Pacific Ocean. This is the only road that leads into or out of the Hoh. All access to the rainforest is now cut off until they can fix the road, which may be weeks from now.

Can you believe that there were people on the wrong side of that washout when it happened? There were a couple of Olympic Rangers back there, as well as some campers. When the campers were told to leave (for fear of a road washout), they did. But, by the time they made their way down the road it was gone. The craziest part of the story though, is that they were in a rental car. The Park Service was able to get everybody to the other side of the washout to escape, but the cars have had to remain on the other side!

As is no surprise, the rental car company wants their car back. They are charging an extra $20 a day for every day it is not returned. No repairs on the Hoh Road can be made until the weather lets up. The rainy season on the Hoh is most intense during November, December, and January. And so, at a minimum, it may be 3 weeks before they can get a temporary road built, but unfortunately for these campers, it could be months before they can get their car out! What a nightmare!

You can read the whole story today in the Seattle Post-Intellegencer: "Stuck between the Hoh and a washed-out road". An excerpt -
Hite could have bought a waiver to cover loss or damage for $28.50 per day, including taxes, which exceeded the daily rental cost. He didn't buy it.

"Sure wish we had," his wife said Wednesday. The Hites' car insurance policy in Florida through Esurance covers theft or damage "but doesn't cover 'loss of use,' " she said. "So according to our rental contract, we are responsible for paying the rent until the car is recovered."


Wow! I had heard that there are new records but I really feel for the Hites. thanks for posting this for us old washingtonians!