Monday, June 22, 2009

The Seattle Ed.; Road Trip to The Mountains

Saturday - Greeted by a gray overcast sky but we were not deterred from our 2.5 hour road trip to the Olympic Nation Park. I did all my pre-trip planning, printed out the appropriate documents and maps while Scott readied the tunes on his bursting ipod and checked the ferry schedule. Out the door with cameras, extra socks, sun block and all other adventure-ish paraphernalia, into our amazing ride, then off to the harbor for a ferry cruise across Elliot Bay to Bremerton.

The morning was awesome as we drove West. The weather began to break rather quickly and the warm sun burned away the clouds. The drive was glorious. Winding roads, glistening lakes and ponds, and bushy green trees that lined both sides of the road like fuzzy emerald walls. In no time we entered the town of Port Angeles on the North Central side of the park and decided to nourish our peradventure bodies with Jack In The Box. Looking back, knowing what I know now, I would have ordered more than just an egg and cheese biscuit and a small OJ.
Once inside the park proper Scooter proceeded to check out the naturalist exhibitions in the main ranger station, learning most importantly what to do if approached by a cougar while I conversed with a very friendly federal ranger who was rather impressed with my knowledge of the park and its features. After several minutes of deep discussion the ranger and I agreed that Scooter and I should visit Hurricane Ridge and the HOH Rain Forrest – perfect!
Back into the Hybrid we proceeded to make the climb up the side of the Olympic Mountains to an altitude of 5,240 feet. Along the 17 mile drive up to the ridge we were both stymied by the grandness of the snow capped mountains and the hazy valley below. We pulled off the road just prior to reaching the ranger station at Hurricane Ridge to snap some photos and drink in the calming serenity of the great outdoors. Outside the car the air was thin and crisp and the deafening silence was only disrupted by the bird calls echoing up from far below.
Just a few more yards and we were parked at the base of Hurricane Hill where we were greeted by the sight of many other nature loving visitors, some dressed appropriately (jeans and hiking shoes) and some inappropriately (spandex and flip flops). Once again we spoke to the local ranger and decided to take her advice and climb the paved 1.6 mile path to an elevation of 5,757 feet to the top of Hurricane Hill, what a good decision. The views were spectacular and at the tippy top of the ridge we sat alongside two Buddhist monks who were resplendent in their fiery orange robes against the deep blue sky.

As we picked our way back down the snow and slush covered path Scooter was unrightfully “tisked-ticked” by an alpenstock yielding septuagenarian Austrian who mistook his chivalry for unruly American nature hating behavior. Scooter’s response to the persnickety finger wagging was to shout “I moved off the path to give YOU ROOM TO PASS!!!!!” – but she just raised an eyebrow at me and continued her assent to the top. In addition to the erroneous European admonishment we were also confronted with an unruly gang of “Frisbee anywhere” players who thought it necessary to trot down the path while hurling a flying disc over our heads – it was their spandex clad woman (?) cohort who gave me the eye as they passed, just jonesing for a rumble, I however did not oblige.

Now back in the safety of our trusty non gas guzzling vehicle we set our sights on the HOH Rain Forest, a mere 2 hour drive away…varoooooommmmmmm

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