Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28 – Hurricane Ridge

We had been watching the weather forecasts all week and today seemed to be clearest. That meant it was time to drive up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

This is the most popular spot in the park and is supposed to give the best views of the mountains in the Olympic Range. Whereas yesterday we drove up a narrow dirt road to a 6000 foot mountain that we had to ourselves, today we drove up an absolutely smooth two lane highway to a 5000 foot mountain top that we shared with many hundreds of other people.

Looking back down at part of the road.


But the view. Wow! 180 degrees of snow covered mountain peaks on one side and the Juan de Fuca Strait and Vancouver Island on the other.

And the weather. Hurricane Ridge is known for its fierce winter storms and high winds. Today was sunny with very few clouds, a little haze in the distance and no wind. I would guess that the temperature was in the high teens. T shirt hiking weather.




They are not tall mountains (6000 – 8000 foot) but there are a lot of them.



Lots of deer just wandering the parking lot and trails.


We first did a short narrow 1/2 mile hike along a ridge up to Sunrise Point.





The non snow covered mountain about 1/3 in from the left in the picture below is where we were yesterday. I am actually glad it was cloudy there. The views would have paled in comparison and it was a completely different, very serene experience. Today was a lot of wow moments.


Back down  to the visitors center for our lunch on the balcony.




In the afternoon we did the 3 1/2 mile return 700 foot climb to the top of Hurricane Hill. This is a quite steep but very civilized trail. It is paved all the way. We even saw people push strollers to the top although I don’t know how because it sure tired us out.

The hike goes to the top of that peak just right of center just under 2 miles in the distance.


Lots of wildflowers in bloom.





The top was a huge alpine meadow covered in all kinds of small flowers in full bloom. We felt that Julie Andrews was going to burst from behind some tree and start singing.




We sat at the end of this trail in the picture below and just stared for quite a while.



Here is the view to the north of Port Angeles with its own long sand spit. 



Reluctantly heading back down.


Some spots on the hike were bad for her vertigo.


The steep climb back down on the pavement gave us both sore feet so we were done for the day.

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