Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17, 2012: HURRICANE RIDGE (and some other stuff)

Doesn't this picture make you feel like breaking into song, Julie Andrews-style?  Just one week ago today we went to Hurricane Ridge in my beloved Olympic Mountains.  After staring at those crazy beautiful mountains for the better part of a year, we finally got to go up in them.  I cannot begin to describe the excitement I had about going to Hurricane Ridge.  A kid on Christmas morning isn't strong enough - I was far more excited than that.

Hurricane Ridge is the highest elevation you can drive to.  It's about 5,000 feet, maybe a bit more.  From there you can take several different trails that are all levels of difficulty and scariness.  We took some of the main trails that were well-marked and not too long, but still very narrow in spots with sheer drop-offs.  Quite an adventure for young Lorelei.  Hell, quite an adventure for her not-so-young parents.

This is the trail I took up to a point called Sunrise Ridge.  Lorelei and Shawn stayed below because it was pretty narrow and steep:

I walked up the trail, got to the top, took a few pictures, had a panic attack, and very slowly made my way down.  Yikes.  I got some good pictures though:

The road you see is the one we drove on to get to Hurricane Ridge.  17 miles of terror, as some would say, but frankly, I have not experienced anything like driving through the Smokies in West Virginia in the fog.  I'll take Hurricane Ridge any day.  It's still crazy though.  17 miles of crazy.  We saw lots of cyclists heading up the mountain on that road as well.  I think those people have some sort of disorder.

Lorelei and Shawn standing on a big pile of snow in the middle of the trail.  Isn't that cool?  I mean, except for the sheer drop off on the side of the trail so you have to very gingerly make your way over the snow....  I think it took a year or two off my life.

There are loads of deer in the mountains - black-tailed deer.  Just like our Ohio white-tailed but with (you guessed it) black tails.  They are quite used to the tourists making their way on the trails.  They just hit the cool shade and chill while the tourists ooh and aah.  It's pretty amazing, really.

I love how Lorelei is getting photo-bombed in that picture by a deer.  Click on it to make it bigger.

They really are just sort of everywhere.

That guy was a young buck.  His antlers were just starting to come in.

And of course, there were the beautiful flowers in bloom all over the place.  The mountains are a spectacular place.  I can't say enough.  I suspect I will return again and again to Hurricane Ridge.  The trails are amazing and you know what you hear up there?




You don't even hear the deer.  That alone is enough to make me very curious about this strange thing people do that involves sleeping in tents outside with campfires and such.  Hmmm.  I might have to explore that.  I am a hotel snob, but we'll see.  Hurricane Ridge makes me think that whole camping thing might be worth a look-see.

The white stuff in the picture above is snow!


Out in the distance (which is north) is the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is the strait to the Big Water.

All of these pictures were taken from trails.  How can one not find peace in these surroundings?  As you can see, we had a misty day.  There was a layer of fog in the valley over the strait (which is fairly common) and a layer of mist toward the tops of the mountains (also common).  I think the views are lovelier with the mist crawling in and out of the peaks.

I love the mountains.  That's all there is to it.  This move to the Pacific Northwest gets better and better.

I didn't take pictures of the drive over to Hurricane Ridge, and I'll do better next time with that.  The drive was gorgeous.  It started with the ferry across the Sound to Southworth, then heading north and west.  We went over the Hood Canal, which was lovely.  We also had to go through Port Angeles (city on the strait), which was a nice, quaint little burg.  We had lunch there.

We also took a detour to Lake Crescent, just few miles from Hurricane Ridge.  Look at that water!

Isn't it beautiful?

Lorelei and I waded in those waters - so clear and crisp!  It felt wonderful.  It very much reminded me of the Minnesota lakes, with their wilderness all around and then these fantastic waters - the quarries too.  It makes me happy to give these experiences to Lorelei, as my parents gave similar ones to me.

The weekend before we went to Hurricane Ridge, we explored some of the parks closer to home.  We explored a very intriguing place called FLAMING GEYSER State Park.  Here is the FLAMING GEYSER in its glory:

Isn't that about the funniest thing you've ever seen?

But it is kind of cool to think about this flame being caused by the geological phenomenon....  It's just...well, not what you picture when you hear FLAMING GEYSER PARK.  It was a pretty park, though.  It reminded me of Battelle Darby.  I loved that park back in old Galloway....  Here are some trees covered in moss - really pretty:

From FLAMING GEYSER, we headed to Snoqualmie Falls.  Snoqualmie Falls is nestled in the Snoqualmie Pass and Wenatchee National Forest, right there on I-90.  If you are driving to Seattle from the east, you can't miss it.  There's not a lot there, just a little town (the town Twin Peaks was based on), and of course, the Falls:

Pretty cool, right?

Snoqualmie is a bit kitschy, but quite picturesque.  And it's right here.  Maybe a half hour away.  I love the road trips, but how nice to have so much local too.

August is high season and traveling season here in Seattle.  It's go-everywhere-and-be-outside-all-the-time season.  Why wouldn't you?  It's fantastic outside!  We've had a bit of a heatwave (90 degrees) this week, but it's still not terribly hot - much less humidity.  We are surviving without A/C, and I can't remember when I last turned it on in my car.  It's good.  Shawn is also enjoying a month-long break from school, so that's another reason for our great excursions.  He continues to do well in school and at work, and Lorelei is, of course, loving summer.

Last weekend we also went to the Oregon coast.  That is a blog post all its own, and will be coming soon.  For the time-being, however, ruminate on these photos of Hurricane Ridge, and let me know when you are coming to visit.

Love to all -