Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Olympic National Park...Hurricane Ridge

Elwha Dam RV park
Port Angeles, WA
July,  2018

Hurricane Ridge, the subalpine forest ecosystem of Olympic National Park, can be accessed by road from Port Angeles.  

Since the ONP Visitor Center is located on the way to the ridge, we made that the first stop of the day.   

There were no measurements for the diameter of this tree, only that it was 670 years old.

The drive up to the ridge is very scenic with lots of twists and turns

and even a few tunnels.  

At an elevation of 5,242 feet, Hurricane Ridge (so named for its susceptibility to hurricane force winds) has it's own VC  with an information desk, gift shop, restrooms and snack bar.  

We arrived early to an almost empty parking lot and enjoyed the short trails in front of the VC.

Obstruction Point Road is a must do.

It's a gravely 8 mile winding  road that can be narrow in some places to Lillian Ridge.    

Lucky for me, there was no traffic which meant we could make frequent stops.  It was wildflower season after all !

The road was lined with Avalanche Lilies.  A first for me !

 And another first, the Tiger Lily...

 And one more first, a Seep Monkeyflower...

It was a perfect day for viewing...crisp, clean air and beautiful blue skies. 

 The road ends at Lillian Ridge where there are several trailheads. We had planned on doing the short hike to Badger Valley, but the trail was covered in snow.
 A few days later, we returned to the ridge to hike Hurricane Hill...another must do.

The trail had been closed our first visit for trail work and the capture of mountain goats (to be relocated).  

The 3.2 mile (round trip) in and out trail may be short, but it is steep with an elevation gain of +652 feet.  

The trail begins near treeline on a paved path (broken up in lots of places for repair).

 It's a gradual climb at first...
then, we found ourselves in the clouds surrounded by alpine meadows ! 

 The trail levels out briefly at the base of Hurricane Hill's glaciated cirque... "A bowl-shaped depression with very steep sides that form at the head of a mountain glacier."...I had to look that up.
 A short section of three switchbacks resume on a steep climb to the top of Hurricane Hill at an elevation of 5,757 feet. 

Hurricane Hill is one of the most visited activities in ONP so go early to get a parking space and avoid larger crowds.  It is well worth it !
Checking out the trail as we begin the return hike.
  So until next time, 
looking down on Port Angeles...

Peek-a-boo...I see you!
Tiny purple flowers caught my eye on Obstruction Point Road
Steep and narrow with something beautiful around every turn...

Nature's planter...
Hiking among the clouds...


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Lots To Do Around Sunny Sequim

Elwha Dam RV Campground
July 2018
Port Angeles, WA

Nestled in the Olympic rain shadow is the small port town of Sequim (skwim).  The Olympic Mts. act as a wall that protects the valley from large amounts of rain and snow.   Thus, Sequim only gets about 18 inches of rain per year.  Because of the sunny weather, the valley has a long history of inhabitants dating back 14,000 years ago.  European settlers arrived in the valley around the 1850s.  It's interesting to note that the land not along the Dungeness River was arid prairie land.  Irrigation canals first brought water to the prairie in the 1890s and farmlands have flourished since then. Sequim was incorporated in 1913.  Today, Washington Street runs through the heart of downtown Sequim  

Like other small towns attracting tourists, antique, book, clothing, and lavender gift shops line the street.

Outside of town, there is lots to explore.  The climate is ideal for growing lavender...and Sequim boasts lots of family-owned farms that invite visitors to come experience the beauty and fragrance of this "amazingly versatile herb".  Washington Lavender Farm was our choice.  Colorful poppies and lavender line the long driveway when you enter the farm.

George Washington B&B is a replica of Mt. Vernon in honor of our first president.  

It sits on a high bluff along the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 


Washington Lavender Farm is different from other farms in the area.  Over 5000 lavender plants have been planted to landscape the grounds rather than being in a single field. 

P.S.  I did try the lavender ice cream...insert yuckky face here...tasted like perfume.

Our next visit was to the Railroad Bridge Park. 

The park is part of the Olympic Discovery you can walk as many or as few miles as you want.  

The Milwaukee Road operated the rail line from 1915 to 1980 transporting passengers and timber from Port Townsend to Port Angeles.  

The line ran "by tide table rather than time table".  In 1992, volunteers replaced planking on the bridge making it accessible for walkers and bicyclists.  

The Washington State Audubon Society purchased the property and created the Dungeness River Center and Railroad Bridge park.  

The Dungeness River Center is all about the birds that visit/live in the area.  Very informative and interesting.

Marinas have always been a favorite stop for me.  

I read that John Wayne had visited the area frequently in his yatcht, the Wild Goose.  His family donated land in recognition of his vision for a marina in Sequim Bay.  We had planned on having lunch at the Dockside Grill there, but it was closed  (every Monday and Tuesday). 

Heading home we stopped at the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge.  This fertile habitat became a refuge, preserve and breeding ground for birds in 1915.  

We were greeted at the visitor kiosk by a volunteer who gave us a map and information about the refuge.

Its a short walk through a forest of evergreens, oaks and ferns to get to the lookout for the spit.

The Dungeness spit is one of the world's largest sand spits and a must see.  It's picture postcard perfect and definitely a "WOW" moment.

And another slightly steeper walk to the shore.  We spent a couple of hours strolling the beach admiring the rocks,  the endless views, the driftwood and a few birds.   

We enjoyed our day in Sunny Sequim.  What's not to like? 

Until next time,
Downtown Sequim

Washington Lavender Farm

Railroad Bridge Trail

John Wayne Marina

Sequim Visitor Center

Trail at Dungeness Wildlife Refuge
The Spit...the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the left and the Dungeness Bay on the right.