I find myself in beautiful places and with that, I find myself at places I least expect. Every time I think of the Olympic Mountains I think of the Sound of Music. Wide open alpine meadows with peaks looking straight out of Alps. Why did Leavenworth have to be in the Cascades? Three days spent in what I believe the most beautiful natural park in Washington, a beautiful place everyone should visit.
Hurricane Hill Trail:
In order to find the trailhead, you have to drive past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center along a narrow road with one nerve-wracking switch back with a cliff. No tour buses here!
The trailhead at the time could only be accessed by the lower trail parking lot. Along the first mile of the trail, the Olympic Peaks peeked out between trees. The vistas were spectacular with so much beauty coming all at once. While hiking to the top, our group came across so many deer walking around as if people did not bother them. One even came popping out of the bushes while a group of us were trying to figure out of we saw a bear in the distant slope.
Marmots were also out lazy sunbathing on rocks like vacationers. Clouds coming across the slopes like wisps of smoke and a spooky show at the same time. The quietness of the landscape was so beautiful and unreal when this high up.
Lunch was on a rock outcrop I ended up climbing up later to survey all the surrounding area. While climbing up the rock pile, clouds whipping all around me to the point where it was a wall of clouds. The song Into The Mist by Eivør going through my head as the clouds surrounded me.
Walking in the mist
No one knows where I’ve been
Far from my home now
Going in circles round and round
I’m on my own now
Something’s hiding in the dark
Lurking in between the rocks
Whispers in my ear
I turn around but no one’s there
I call up but there’s no answer
Shadow, shadow by my side
Drifting through the misty night
Are you wandering just like me
Within this surreality?
At this point I was separated from the group….and…I had a feeling something wasn’t right. To be alone and exposed to predication (cougar sightings in the area along with bear), it was unnerving to see a deer below take off running into the trees with deadly quietness following. I knew something was close by, and I needed to figure out where it could be coming through. Thank goodness the group showed up with laughter and not coming face to face with a predator.
Later a group of hikers had seen a black bear on the trail close by! I was lucky! The rest of the hike was uneventful and mostly viewing all the plants and other animals around the trail. The ride back to camp was rocking out to Mumford and Sons “I Will Wait For You” with a smile on my face.
Obstruction Point Trail:
There is a dirt road turn out before the parking lot at Hurricane Ridge that goes down to this back country trail. Many people don’t see it, and this is one of the best-kept secrets of this area of the National Park. The road is long dusty with lots of switchbacks as it winds towards a small parking lot with a pit toilet. So bring your own toilet paper!
Sunsets are starting to become a thing lately, and I am not complaining about it. Rewarding after a long day of hiking to summit a peak to watch the sun sink down ending another day.
Spending time atop of a mountain viewing the sunset listening to the wind whip around you in near silence is as close to God as it gets.
When night fell, and it was time to put the headlamp on, we trekked down the mountain trying to keep on the trail that was nonexistent in the dark towards the van. Out here the stars shine brightly, and yet a shooting star decides to give us a show. On this night laying in a field with others viewing the stars in the sky made the world seem so small.
Five am wake up call again to chase the sunrise. Again we trekked towards another lake to view the coming sunrise. Pumpkin Seed Lake is an alpine lake very few people know about. It is somewhere off the beaten path of Obstruction Point Trail and finding it can be challenging. Challenging since the trail to it is not marked. You may have to ask someone who knows.
This frog did not have a great morning after being caught two times by people. By the second time he just sat there defeated.
With enough coffee coursing through my veins, I headed up towards other alpine lakes in the area. These nondescript lakes are nestled between other peaks and off known trails where climbing talus and boulder fields is a must.
This alpine lake at the bottom of the ravine was not as cold as the one at Heather Lake. Just getting down to it was interesting with the possible slide completely down into the lake if you lost your footing.
The famous Ptaragen made one last appearance before it flown away. Many people do not believe they exist because they are hard to spot, live in the highest coldest parts of the mountain ranges. Hear them is at times the only clue they are in the area, and they do get stepped on because they look just like the surroundings.
Hurricane Ridge Trail:
After partying with another group at the campsite, we all headed towards Hurricane Ridge to hike the small Hurricane Ridge Trail.
So I said in a previous post I had fed wildlife. Well, I did it again! Yep, this time it was a bunch of gray jays that are also known as camp robbers. To hold a bird in your had is a Disney princess moment. They loved crumbled granola bars and would take a sandwich if I let them. I know shame on me again! I will not be doing this again-it is out of my system now.
Ok moving on…
Three days hiking in the Olympics was and will be a breathtaking experience. The peak was alive just as in the Sound of Music.