Category Archives: Hiking

Diary of a Lighthouse Keeper

New Dungeness LighthouseDiary of a Lighthouse Keeper #1

A week in January at the New Dungeness Lighthouse - An adventure and an honor

Six of us keepers left the lighthouse transfer station in Carlsborg, WA, about 6:45pm on a Friday night. Two 4-wheel-drive vehicles were stuffed with all our provisions and personal gear for the week. This was my first time as a keeper and not altogether sure what I had gotten myself into. Luckily, three in our group had been keepers before and I knew two of our crew. We were assured that although the drive to the lighthouse was going to be rough, bumpy, dark, and a little scarey, the drivers were experienced and would keep us safe.

I knew I was in good hands, but wondered if this was such a good idea - a week with three women I'd never met and probably a minimum of a six-hour walk for me to get "off the island". At this point, I was committed and it was one of the best decisions for a "vacation" I've ever had.

load and unload gear at the lighthouseWhen we arrived at the lighthouse the returning keepers had all their gear ready to be loaded into the trucks for their trip back to civilization. All of us scrambled to unload/load as rapidly as possible to ensure the trucks could get back on the beach during the low tide change. So, there were were, watching the red tail lights disappear down the beach. STRANDED! Or so it crossed my mind! Another slight moment of "what have I done?"

We had organized ourselves as three groups for planning purposes during the weeks before we left and for duty shifts at the lighthouse. My work rotation for the week was: cook, day off, lighthouse duty - Repeat! I at least knew what was expected from me.

Lighthouse RoomGiven all the boxes of food and luggage we had to carry in, and the good humor among all six of us, I knew: a. we would not starve and, b. we all seemed to be kindred spirits.

First order of business was to unpack the groceries and settle into our rooms. I had a charming room with a quilt on the bed and a desk upstairs facing the lighthouse. I didn't close the blinds the first night, nor any other night there. I wanted to see the light flash in my room on its rotation. Later that first night, we all sat around the living room, most of us knitting, and introduced ourselves with a little of who, what, when and how we all ended up on this adventure together. One person who knew us all and had made all our arrangements and facilitated communication among us prior to the trip.

I studied a bit about the lighthouse that first night. The property had been continuously occupied since 1857. It was the first lighthouse built on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. What an honor to be part of that tradition. Our Keeper's Quarters were built in 1904. The Coast Guard had lighthouse duty for a period of time until 1934. In 1934, electricity was brought to the property through a cable underwater across Dungeness Bay. In April 1980, New Dungeness Lighthouse welcomed Seaman First Class Jeni Burr, New Dungeness’ first woman Head Keeper.  So many dates and interesting changes to the property and much more to learn - tomorrow!

I slept like a baby in the new surroundings! More Day #2 at the Lighthouse in the next blog.

Olympic National Park Entrances

Hwy 101 Scenic Byway map

Olympic Peninsula Hwy 101 Scenic Byway

From Hood Canal to Lake Quinault, follow the Highway 101 Scenic Byway to find several possibilities for entering the Olympic National Park. Each place offers different terrain, experiences, and chances to learn more about the park. PORT ANGELES - The primary Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily 8:30am - 5:00pm. General information, a children’s Discovery Room, bookshop, maps, exhibits and a near-by nature trail makes this a must stop while in Port Angeles. Be sure to take time to watch the movie. If it isn't running, just ask one of the rangers to start it. For park information call 360-565-3130. If all you want to check is the 24- hour recorded road and weather update, call 360-565-3131. If you need backpacking information or permits, or to acquire required bear cans for backcountry camping, check with the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) May 1 - June 11,  8am - 4:30pm daily June 12 - September 10, 8am - 5pm daily (until 6pm Friday, Saturday) September 11 - 30, 8am- 5pm daily.
Hurricane Hill walk from Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Hill walk from Hurricane Ridge

HURRICANE RIDGE - The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is open daily 9:00am - 5:30pm with information, maps, exhibits, an orientation film, and nearby trails. The snack bar and gift shop are open daily 10:00am - 6:00pm. The information desk is staffed daily 10:00am - 5:30pm. Enjoy the Terrace Talk, daily 10:30am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm. Learn about this amazing wilderness park at a 20-minute talk. Topics vary. Join the easy one-hour guided walk to explore life in the mountains for a Meadow Walk, daily at 11:30am. and 2:00pm. Discover wildlife, wildflowers and other features of the Olympic landscape. HEART O’ THE HILLS - At Heart O’ the Hills Campground amphitheater, join others to enjoy the Evening Program,on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00pm. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards. Junior Ranger Forest Activities are on Saturday at 10:00am for one hour of forest activities. Meet at the campground amphitheater.
Fall at Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent

LAKE CRESCENT - Storm King Ranger Station is open Wednesday - Saturday 11:00am - 4pm with information, activities for kids, and access to trails. Join the Marymere Falls Forest Walk on Fridays at 10:00am. Meet on the Lake Crescent Lodge porch for this easy, 1-1/2-hour guided hike. Got a younger one with you? How about them becoming an Olympic Junior Ranger? This program starts Saturdays 10:30am at Storm King Ranger Station. Join a ranger for an hour of hands-on activities. One of the highlights of summer in the park are the evening programs. Lake Crescent evening gatherings are on Tuesdays and Saturdays 7:30pm at Storm King. Learn more about the park after dark. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards at the Ranger Station. MORA - Beginning June 25, the Mora Ranger Station is open Friday - Monday 1:00 - 5:00pm for   information and maps. Bark Rangers - If you have a dog with you, you might want to show up on Saturdays, Sundays at 10am at the Rialto Beach Trailhead. Learn how to visit the park safely with your pet and earn a Bark Ranger Badge for your pup. There is also an Evening Program - Monday, Friday 8:00pm at the Mora Campground amphitheater. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards at the Ranger Station.
beach

Kalaloch Beach

KALALOCH - Kalaloch Ranger Station is open daily with information, exhibits, bookshop, and maps. Science on the Shore is held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Times and topics vary with changing tides. Explore the shore with a ranger in this hands-on program. Schedule and location information will be listed on bulletin boards. Vacation Volunteers can take a walk on the coast with a ranger and help leave this park better than you found it -  Saturdays 10:00am - noon.  Bark Rangers - Daily, 1:00 p.m. at  at Learn how to visit the park safely with your pet and earn a Bark Ranger Badge for your pup. Meet at the Kalaloch Lodge Gazebo, daily at 1:00pm.  The Evening Program is held on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8:00pm at the Kalaloch Campground amphitheater. Topics on bulletin boards. QUINAULT RAIN FOREST - Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station on North Shore Road is open Thursday - Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm. It is closed for guided walks and lunch. You find information, exhibits, a bookshop, maps, and nearby trails. Life in the Rain Forest Walk is scheduled Thursday - Monday at 1:00pm. Learn about rain forest plants, animals and homesteader lore. Meet at Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station for this easy 1-1/2-hour, 3/4-mile walk.
Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

HOH RAIN FOREST - The remodeled Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is open daily 9:00am - 5:00pm. At this visitor center you'll find general park information, a bookshop, maps, and nearby trails. You can get backcountry wilderness permits and bear cans here. There is the Rain Forest Walk at 2pm daily. Learn about giant trees, wildlife and more on this 1-1/2-hour easy walk on the Hall of Mosses or Spruce Nature Trail. Meet at the Hoh Visitor Center. The popular Evening Program begins at 8:00pm at the Hoh Campground amphitheater. Dates and topics on local bulletin boards.
Staircase trailhead sign

Staircase Trailhead Sign

STAIRCASE -  At the south end of Hood Canal you'll find the Staircase entrance to Olympic National Park. The Ranger Station hours vary. They do have information, exhibits, maps, trails nearby. If you are headed into the North Fork of the Skokomish River you will need backcountry wilderness permits and bear cans that are available. Thursday through Sunday at 2:00pm there is a Forest Walk.  Meet at bridge for 1-1/2 -hour walk by the Skokomish River. Discover Staircase!  on Sundays at 10:00am. Meet at the ranger station for this 1/2 -hour talk about the plants, animals or history of Staircase area. Fun for all ages! Evening Program is held Thursday through Saturday 7:30pm. Meet at the Staircase amphitheater.

Olympic Peninsula Park Passes Made Simple

Some parks and trailheads around the peninsula require a pass. Generally, you can purchase passes at each entrance to each kind of park. ONP annual passEach national park has its own pass. For example, you could buy an annual pass to Mt. Rainer OR Olympic National Park. This year these cost $50 each. Weekly admissions to the parks are sold at the entrances or Visitor Centers for $20 (going up to $25 on June 1, 2016). Only four entrances require a pass: Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc, Staircase and Hoh Rain Forest. You can either pay as you enter these entrances or stop at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles to purchase the pass. America the Beautiful Pass is an interagency pass good for all Federal lands - National Parks, National Forest, monuments, etc. This costs $80 for an annual pass. If you plan on bicycling or walking in, it's only $7/person. Learn more here, or check with the park 360-565-3130. Some of the info on their site is outdated. But you will be able to see the different types of passes:
  • Private vehicle
  • Motorcycle
  • Per person
  • Wilderness camping fees
  • Campground fees
  • Commercial tours
  • Non-commercial groups
  • Dump station fees
There is the equivalent to the interagency pass for active military - one year is free with documentation. These are only dispensed by rangers. There is the equivalent of the interagency pass for seniors (62+) or disabled people. This is a lifetime pass that costs $10 and is sold only by rangers to people with proof of eligibility. discover pass logoWashington State Parks, like Fort Worden require a Discover Pass which you can learn about here. If you click here you can see the State Parks By Region which will tell you which parks require which pass. Last time I went to Fort Worden, I just paid at the entrance kiosk by the parking lot. But if you wish to purchase the Discover pass ahead of time you can do there online hereDiscover annual passes ($35 from vendors/$30 if you purchase them at the same time you pay your car license renewals or from a ranger at the park) are for the Washington State parks.  Discover day passes cost $10 ($12 from vendors) and are good for State parks for one day only.  These can be purchased in advance or at the park. Similarly, there is Olympic National Forest (ONF) that offers miles of hiking trails in the woods has a different set of passesForest Service pass. Here is a list of trails that are on ONF land that require an Olympic National Forest pass (different from an Olympic National Park pass). A lot of these spectacular trails are on the east side of the peninsula with access from Hwy 101 along Hood Canal, except for the  Quinault Rain Forest trails, which are in the southwest area of the peninsula. Some, by by no means all of the National Forest trails, require either an annual pass or a day pass for parking. Day passes cost $5. Passes are not sold a the trail heads, so they must be purchased in advance. An annual pass for the National Forests in Washington and Oregon only (no parks and no other state's national forests) costs $30. Print a pass for the ONF on your computer before you come! $5.00
horizontal Hobuck Beach

Hobuck Beach, Neah Bay

If you are headed to Shi Shi Beach, Cape Flattery or other spots in Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation, the Makah Tribe requires visitors to have a $10 Recreation Pass. The Recreational Use Permit (RUP) is available for sale at the Makah Museum, Washburn’s Store and at the Makah Tribal Center at a cost of $10.00 per car and is good for the calendar year in which it is purchased. The permit is required if you are going to engage in recreational activities on the Reservation – hiking, camping, kayaking, sports-fishing, etc.
Dungeness Lighthouse

Dungeness Lighthouse

Also, there is a small fee at the trailhead of $3 per family or per group (up to four adults) at the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge. Children under 16 enter free. Refuge Annual Pass, Federal Recreational Lands Pass, Senior or Golden Age Pass, Access or Golden Access Pass, Military Pass, Volunteer Pass, and a Federal Duck Stamp also admit family or group (up to 4 adults). One of the special things to do in this area is hiking on the Dungeness Spit to the lighthouse at the end of the sandy spit.

Winter in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary photo - Winter Storm

Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary photo

A winter visit to Washington’s Olympic Coast provides opportunities for a unique and rewarding experience. You will likely encounter few visitors, giving you an even greater appreciation for the remote wilderness of our rugged coastline. Winter storms create fascinating wave-watching conditions, with wind, rain and high tides yielding dramatic scenes of waves crashing against the rocky shores, as well as the numerous seastacks dotting the nearshore environment. Dress for the weather and make it a memorable day reveling in one of nature's best winter wonders. The winter is also a popular time for marine debris to wash up on shore. This is the perfect time for beach combing. If you feel like doing something wonderful for the environment, bring gloves and disposable bags to collect trash from the pristine environment you are enjoying and help keep our beaches clean and our marine organisms safe. You may even be rewarded by finding a rare item while beach combing - such as a prized glass float. Particularly high, or “King Tides”, during this period take place on the following dates (based on  December 23 high tide of 9.71 ft at 10:07am  December 24 high tide of 9.84 ft at 10:55am  December 25 high tide of 9.81 ft at 11:41am  December 26 high tide of 9.59 ft at 12:25pm  January 9 high tide of 9.2 ft at 11:24am  January 10 high tide of 9.37 ft at 12:06pm  January 11 high tide of 9.37 ft at 12:48pm  January 21 high tide of 9.16 ft at 9:54am  January 22 high tide of 9.27 ft at 10:45am  January 23 high tide of 9.28 ft at 11:31am  January 24 high tide of 9.17 ft at 12:14pm For more information and locations of King Tides, visit:

Tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov

Remember to stay safe while enjoying the moody beauty of our Olympic Coast!

For more information about Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, visit: OlympicCoast.noaa.gov Facebook at www.facebook.com/usolympiccoastgov/

Twitter at Twitter.com/OlympicCoast

Thanks to Karlyn Langjahr, guest Blogger:  Olympic Coast Discovery Center Manager

Adventure Travelers Winter Itinerary #101 for the OP

snowboarders2010 agreementAdventure Travelers Winter Itinerary #101 for Washington’s Olympic Peninsula

Winter activities on the Olympic Peninsula are pretty much the same as what you can do during any other time of the year – just with different attire! Hiking, kayaking, surfing, biking.

Two-day Adventure on the Olympic Peninsula

Arrival Evening in Port Angeles or surrounding area Go for a run or bike ride along the Olympic Discovery Trail. Be sure to put your lights on! Day 1 ~ Hurricane Ridge - Get up early and head to Hurricane Ridge for some outdoor altitude play!  A 45-minute drive takes you into the Olympic Mountains. The road is scheduled to be open Fridays through Sundays and Monday holidays through the end of March, weather permitting. Depending on the weather, it will also be open December 26 to January 3. If the parking lot gets too full, the road may close temporarily, so an early start is good thing! Sitting atop an alpine meadow is the day lodge and observation point. From here you have many choices whether there is snow or no snow! No snow? Wander along the trails and stop at great spots for photo opportunities. Snow? Skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoe, snow board! Carrying chains in the car is mandatory during the winter. Take the Ranger-led snowshoe walk that is about a mile and takes about 90 minutes. Learn lots and see the area in a new way. Sign up at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center when you get there. These walks fill up fast. Minimal cost of $7.00 for adults. $3 for children 6 – 15. Free for children 5 and younger. Scope out places to take your cross-country daring-do. Here’s the scoop for Hurricane Ridge.

Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center

Wilderness Information Center

Olympic National Park

http://www.nps.gov/olym/

3002 Mount Angeles Road

Port Angeles, WA 98362

360-565-3130

Day 2 ~ Kayaking the the Morning  - Depart for Lake Crescent area A deep, clear 12-mile long lake in the Olympic National Park, 17 miles west of Port Angeles along Hwy 101. There are several spot to launch: Fairholm at the far west end, public boat launch at Barnes Point or in front of Lake Crescent Lodge. Other nooks and launch areas can be found. Enjoy the gorgeousness of this special place. Short paddle, long paddle, your choice. Be aware that the weather can change very rapidly on the lake and the wind usually starts to gather steam at noon. Feel like a short hike to loosen up the legs after sitting in the kayak? Trail options around the Barnes Point area are:  the Moments in Time or Marymere Falls.  The hike to Mount Storm King is longer and difficult but well worth the steep climb. Be REALLY careful in the winter when the ground is slippery. The cliffs are non-forgiving. If it is snowy or icy, save it for summer! Moments in Time Nature Trail is approximately a ½-mile loop trail and offers nice views of the lake and winds through old-growth forest and former homestead sites. It is located between Nature Bridge and Lake Crescent Lodge. A 1/3-mile trail extends from Storm King Ranger Station parking lot. Marymere Falls is a spectacular 90' waterfall just one mile from Lake Crescent. The trail leads through old growth forest with flowering plants and mushrooms in season. If it’s snowing or freezing cold the waterfall becomes fairyland like you’ve never seen. Totally worth the hike, but be really careful crossing the bridge and along the switchbacks. Across the lake near the headwaters of the Lyre River you’ll find the Spruce Railroad Trail that is also part of the Olympic Discovery Trail. The Spruce Railroad Trail connects the North Shore of Lake Crescent and Lyre River trailheads. Much of this relatively flat 4-mile trail runs on or adjacent to the World War I Spruce Railway bed and offers excellent Lake Crescent views.

Have a safe, warm, adventurous time!

Two Military Airplane Mysteries

Tubal Cain Mine

Tubal Cain Mine

Downed Plane Story One.  The Tubal Cain Mine trail in the Buckhorn Wilderness on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula follows a pack trail dating from the 1890s. It’s a dog-friendly trail to the remains of the old mine site and the site of a 1952 airplane crash close to the mine. This trail is often hiked in early summer through fall and is known, not only for its history, but also for its abundant wildflower blooms. Washington Trail Association has a good explanation of the trail. And the Tubal Cain Mine History website has details, a great old photo and a map, if you are interested The story of the World War II military airplane crash is pretty well-known around the peninsula. In winter, a B-17 with eight crew members aboard was flying in a blizzard with a radio that didn’t work. The airplane hit a ridge and slid down the mountain leaving a trail of debris. Three of the eight crew members died in the crash. The remaining five survivors were rescued the next day by helicopter from a shelter they had constructed out of parachutes and the lifeboat that had been on board the plane. Locals and visitors have been intrigued with this story and have explored the area for many years.  According to Waymarking.com, the intriguing part of the lore around this crash is that the airplane might have been “returning from a mission to spy on Russians”, which might explain why the “US Government was quickly on the scene to salvage key parts of the wreckage!” The official story is “that it was returning from a search mission to locate survivors from a Korean airlift airplane that had gone down near Sandspit, BC, Canada.” Read Waymarking.com’s description of the event here. If you hike to the wreckage, please remember that the nearby mine is too dangerous to enter. Do not go in it. Plus, it is owned privately. Please read and follow any posted signs.
Convair F-106A Delta Dart before the crash. (Courtesy Ernie White/McChord Air Museum

A Convair F-106A Delta Dart before the crash. (Courtesy Ernie White/McChord Air Museum

Airplane wreckage

Part of an F-106 that crashed in 1964. The wereckage is in a stand of trees that hasn't been harvested - or visited in 50 years. (Courtest of Austin Lunn-Rhue)

Downed Plane Story Two.  On the west side of the Olympic Peninsula there is another mysterious downed airplane story. This one is on private land so there is no access to the site, but the story is interesting. An Air Force F-106, “the last breed of interceptors conceived and designed to interdict Soviet ‘heavy’ nuclear bombers, crashed in 1964. This aircraft was “considered the most powerful air-to-air weapon ever developed in the United States”. To follow this story in length, Air & Space Smithsonian has an article by Ed Darack from November 16, 2015. The wreckage was re-discovered June 2014 by Austin Lunn-Rhue, a newly employed forester at a timber company on the Olympic Peninsula, and his forestry partner.  They could tell it was part of an aircraft and one of the pieces had a paint brush X on it, which was unusual because the logging industry uses a form of spray paint.  In addition to that, the wreckage was on private land where no one is allowed. “…The mission of the plane that morning in 1964 remains a mystery.” It might have been scrambled toward a formation of Soviet bombers that had gotten too close to the USA. It’s also listed as a routine training flight. We do know that the pilot, Captain Webb H. Huss, Jr., parachuted to safety, was picked up by a boater on Lake Ozette and flown in a helicopter from Paine Air Force Base to a hospital. Which hospital? You can read more at 318 Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Green Dragons, with photos of the plane, the wreckage and Captain Huss. Thank you very much to Air & Space and to Mr. Darack and McChord Air Museum for giving us permission to quote some from his article and for letting us share the photographs and links to the longer story. Lets hope this part of our history does get transferred to the museum! The Olympic Peninsula has a long military history. More blogs to come about Fort Flagler, Fort Worden and other military history.

News Spotlight on the OP!

The Olympic Peninsula has been all over media in September! Here's a sampling of what's being said: Congratulations to Port Townsend for the “5 Fabulous Things to Do In Port Townsend” by writer, Paola Thomas, for Seattle Refined, a partner with KOMONews.
  • Breakfast at the Blue Moose Café,
  • Visit the Northwest Maritime Center,
  • Shop at Port Townsend Farmers’ Market
  • Afternoon tea at Pippa’s Real Tea, and
  • Shopping on Water Street.
The Olympic Peninsula is so proud of the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT). Terri Gleich of the Kitsap Sun covered “Olympic Discovery Trail an Expanding Wonder”.  Almost 80 miles of the trail are complete. The ODT is used for both commuting and recreation and will eventually link Port Townsend to La Push with a paved path.
Port Angeles during Crab Festival

Port Angeles during Crab Festival

Of course, the Olympic Peninsula is taking some of the cudos for Port Angeles being named one of the “America’s Best Towns” by Outside Magazine. Second only to Chattanooga, Tennessee, Port Angeles made a strong showing, coming from a wild-card placement in the competition. And, with a population of about nine times smaller than Chattanooga, it’s even more impressive to have lost in the polling by a small margin. The top five places went to:
  • Glenwood Springs, Colorado
  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Port Angeles, Washington
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
Olympic National Park Sign at Rialto Beach

ONP Sign at Rialto

Tripping, the world’s largest vacation rental site, named Rialto Beach, in Olympic National Park, one of "10 Perfect Honeymoon Beach Destinations". Other places mentioned were Honeymoon Beach in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands; Wailea Beach on Maui, Hawaii; Carmel in California; and, Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii. Take a look as some stunning photographs from Shi Shi Beach from an article written by Kristin Jackson for the Seattle Times, "Visiting Washington’s wild and magical Shi Shi Beach". We couldn’t agree more that’s it one of the most stunning, magical places on the Peninsula! Moira Macdonald, a Seattle Times arts writer, captured the charm and essence of Port Townsend in her article, "There’s Something for All Kinds of Tourists in the Olympic Peninsula Town" – culture, history and the outdoors!
Washington State Ferry

Washington State Ferry

Conde Nast Traveler has named the Washington State Ferry System as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world. And, we're in good company with Hong Kong, London, Sydney and Venice also being in this group! Why not hop on one of those WA State ferries and come out to the Olympic Peninsula, our very own UNESCO World Heritage site, the Olympic National Park.  The journey is part of the fun!  
Olympic Peninsula Sol Duc pools

Sol Duc pools

Here is a link to the online version of an article on Northwest hot springs resorts by Tamara Muldoon. This article, Play, Soak, Repeat at Hot Springs Resorts, includes Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park. The resort, open seasonally, has basic yet comfortable cabins, RV and tent campsites. Three hot spring pools, a freshwater swimming pool, massage, hiking trails complete the experience at Sol Duc.

Traveling this Fall? Trip #32

Traveling around the Olympic Peninsula in the fall can be sublime. The days are usually warm, evenings cool and mornings have that crisp, clean warmth. Here's a quick 3-day itinerary to see the best of the best. Day One. Starting in Seattle or Tacoma. Be ready for a busy day.  Enjoy the splendor of the
Hurricane Hill Hike

Hurricane Hill Hike

Elk in the Dosewallips River

Elk in the Dosewallips River

leaves changing color along Hood Canal. Grab a bite to eat at one of the several places with local seafood. Check out the Olympic Peninsula Culinary Loop for suggestions. You'll probably see bald eagles and herons, and perhaps a herd of Roosevelt elk. If you pack a lunch, stop at Triton Cove State Park. Continue on Hwy. 101 North to Port Angeles. From

there it's about 45 minutes to the top of Hurricane Ridge. Hopefully, there will be new snow on the mountain range. Stunning hike to Hurricane Hill! You can see the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, and the interior of the Olympic Mountains. Overnight in Port Angeles or the surrounding area.
Fall at Lake Crescent

Fall at Lake Crescent

Day Two. Heading west on Hwy 101. Enjoy the beauty of Lake Crescent. Take a walk through the woods to Marymere Falls, one of the falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. The trailhead can be found turning off Hwy 101 with the signs to Lake Crescent Lodge. The lodge is open until January 1, then closes for the season. Continue around the lake to Hwy 113, the to Hwy112 West. Hwy 112 is one of the newer Scenic Byways in our state. At this time of year the leaves along this route, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca sparkling water to the north, is one of the favorite drives. Scenic it is! Head to Neah Bay and Cape Flattery, the most NW tip of the contiguous US. There is a short hike, mostly on boardwalk to the overlook to Tatoosh Island. You'll often see whales and an array of marine animals and shore birds. Make a stop at the Makah Museum. World-class exhibits you won't soon forget. Either stay along Hwy 112 or wander into Forks or La Push on the Quileute Nation for the night.
Olympic Peninsula Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach

Day Three. Check out the Visitor Center in Forks, Land of Twilight. You'll be amazed at the map with pins representing visitors' homelands. There's John's Beach Combing Museum in Forks. Take a look at what washes up on our shores. Traveling south on Hwy 101, make a turn into the Hoh Rain Forest. Walk the Hall of Mosses for that other-worldly experience of hiking through canopies of drippy moss. Catch the Ranger-led walk if you can. Back to Hwy 101 and a stop at Ruby Beach. One of our favorites. Continuing south, Kalaloch Lodge has dining and accommodations right above the beach.  Or further down Hwy 101, you'll find Lake Quinault with many types of lodging and dining. Interesting fact about Lake Quinault. The National Park owns some of the property around the lake. The Olympic National Forest owns part of the land and the Quinault Nation has jurisdiction over the water. The morning of the fourth day, head back to Seattle/Tacoma/Portland/Olympia. It's closest to keep going on 101, making almost the entire loop. Olympic Peninsula Map

OlympicDiscoveryTrail – Lowland fun during winter

ODT Trailhead

ODT Trailhead

Last time we walked part of the Olympic Discovery Trail, it was a colorful canopy of leaves above and a scattering of color underfoot. Leaves fell like huge, lazy orange snowflakes, except not wet and cold! We're so lucky to experience the Trail in all seasons. Now, with winter is full 50 degree weather, it's still the perfect time to get in a good walk (or ride) without having to venture too far from home base. One of the favorite rides is the 3.3 section from the 18th Street trail head west of Port Angeles to the Elwha River Bridge. Ride onto the lower deck of the bridge to and duck out of a brief rainstorm. Return in the spring to watch salmon returning upstream to the river and its tributaries. Last fall fish were spotted upstream of the upper dam for the first time in 100 years and they still know where to return! Ain't nature wonderful! Here's a video that was done a while ago, but it might give you some ideas of where to take a winter ride or walk between Port Angeles and Sequim. I know there are wildflowers, leafy green trees and sunny meadows in the video, but, hey, we don't stay indoors because of a little coastal mist. All the way from Port Townsend to La Push. Pick a spot, any spot, along the way for an outing. Our winter has been so mild (so far) and we've been able to play outside most of the season. Aren't we lucky? Come join us. The Olympic Discovery Trail has places along the way to stop and get warm, dry out and start all over again!    

Four Hikes Around Highway 101. Get out there!

With summer coming to an end and fall upon us, there's still time to get in a few good hikes to enjoy the spectacular weather on the Olympic Peninsula this year. Here are four hikes with different rewards waiting for your exploration.

Hurricane Ridge Area – High above the clouds

Ridge Trail near Hurricane Ridge

Ridge Trail near Hurricane Ridge

Towering 18 miles above Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge is one of the most popular destinations in Olympic National Park. Magnificent vistas stretch far into the interior of Olympic Mountains and north into Canada and the San Juan Islands. There are many hikes in this area that you can customize to your activity level and suit your adventurous spirit.
  • Klahane Ridge is a 3.8-mile, one-way hike that gains 250 feet in the first 2.8 miles. The first 2.8 miles of this trail is on a ridge to a junction with the Klahhane Switchback trail. An additional mile climbs 800 feet on the Switchback trail to Klahhane Ridge.
  • The Hurricane Hill hike is a 1.6 mile one-way hike on a paved trail that climbs to a panoramic view of mountains and saltwater. The trail begins at the end of the Hurricane ridge Road. The first 0.25 miles is wheelchair accessible with assistance. To make it a longer hike, continue from Hurricane Hill through meadows and steep forested switchbacks to the start of the Whiskey Bend Road.

Sol Duc Area - Commune with Nature

Sol Duc Hot Springs mineral pools

Sol Duc Hot Springs mineral pools Sol Duc Area

The Sol Duc Valley offers outstanding beauty and recreation. If you are looking for a walk through the giants of the forest to a pounding waterfall and finishing the day with a rewarding soak in some mineral pools, bring your towel. You've found your bliss! Sol Duc Falls is one of the largest and most beautiful in Olympic National Park, with trail and bridge access. It is the only falls with viewing from above and it is one of the falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. The Sol Duc Road passes through old-growth forest and parallels the river on its way to the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and trail head to start hikers headed into the Olympic Mountains.
Sol Duc Falls sign

Which way do YOU want to go?

The Lover’s Lane trail is a 6.0-mile loop through old growth forest that links the Sol Duc Resort to Sol Duc Falls. For a shorter hike, 0.8 miles one way, to the falls begin at the trailhead. For a 2.6 mile hike one way, climb 1,500 feet through dense forest to the sparkling Mink Lake. Further into the interior 3.8 miles one way, is Deer Lake with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet. After any of these hikes, soak in the mineral pools or get a massage! Relax!

Dungeness Spit – Bring your binoculars!

Dungeness Spit

Dungeness Spit

At 5.5 miles in length, the Dungeness Spit is the world’s longest naturally occurring sandspit and home to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Its trails and picnic areas offer breathtaking views of the beaches, Dungeness Harbor and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If you’re up for the hike to the end of the spit, you’ll find the old New Dungeness Lighthouse, built in 1857 and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Access to the Light Station is limited to hikers at low tide and small boats in calm seas. The Dungeness NWR provides habitat for many different species. More than 250 species of birds, 41 species of land mammals, and eight species of marine mammals have been recorded in the refuge. It provides critical habitat for a number of species, some of them threatened or endangered, and is an important stop for many birds during migration.  

Jupiter Ridge Trail – Ready for adventure?

Mt Jupiter Hiker

Mt Jupiter Trail and Vista

Trailhead is 22 miles north of Hoodsport. Enter off Highway 101 at Black Point (west Mt. Jupiter Rd –FS rd#2610-10).  Follow for 2.5 mi. to #2610-11-left fork. From the trailhead, you rise 500 ft. over 47 switchbacks!  Don’t let that discourage you.  You crest the top of the Jupiter Ridge and hike along its back through Olympic National Forest and The Brothers Wilderness area immediately.  Along the way, several spots give breathtaking views on both sides of the trail into the Dosewallips and Duckabush River valleys. The full hike takes you around one of the two false peaks back to the main Jupiter Peak. The trail is very narrow in spots so the 360° view No. & So. is of the valleys, E. to Seattle area, and W. into the Olympics and Mt. Anderson. Roundtrip is 15 miles. 3-5hrs. (with lunch time on top) Moderate climb most of the way. Wild flowers are spectacular. BRING WATER A MUST! We stash ½ gals. along the ridge after we crest the switchbacks. Great to have on the way down and a small amount for the summit. Refresh yourselves at Rocky Brook Falls on the Dosewallips Rd (3mi.) after the hike. It’s one of the falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail.