After stopping at the main Visitor’s Center at Olympic National Park, Jon and I headed up the mountain for a little hiking at the top of the ridge itself. The top of Hurricane Ridge is 17 miles south of Port Angeles, but the road has a lot of twists and turns, so it takes about 45 minutes to get from the Visitor’s Center to the top of the ridge.
Hurricane Ridge is named for the strong winds that frequent the area, and snow is common even as late as July. With the panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains, it is a popular hiking spot in the spring, summer and fall, and there are skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing opportunities in the winter. People frequently see wildlife, including deer, elk, bear and a type of marmot that only exists on the Olympic Peninsula. We were eager to see what everybody raves about!
As we began our drive the weather was cloudy but dry, and we stopped at a few of the scenic viewpoints along the way. The view on a clear day is supposed to be spectacular, but with the clouds we couldn’t see out that far. Then, as we were standing there taking some photos, we felt a couple of drops of rain. Now, we both grew up in the Northwest, so a little rain won’t deter us. We got back into the car and continued on our way.
Soon, we were almost at the top of the ridge, and the skies opened up into a huge downpour! We ran from the car into the Visitor’s Center at the top of the ridge, and in a 20 second run we were soaked! The pictures don’t do it justice, but believe me it was really wet!
The torrential downpour changed our plan to do some hiking at the top of the ridge, so we had some coffee at the Visitor’s Center, and I got some awesome postcards of the view that I wasn’t going to see for myself…
Well, not every day of sightseeing can come off without a hitch… Sigh… The good news is, we have a reason to come again. And I spotted a winery on the way out to the park – we stopped by on the way back!