Thursday, August 1, 2013

Olympic National Park - Mountains and Lakes

J and I took a trip back to the Pacific Northwest so we could visit Olympic National Park, and so J could go eat at Salumi and Serious Pie in Seattle. Olympic peaked my curiosity as there are multiple ecosystems all in 1 park: mountains, rain forests, and beaches.

The first leg of our trip started off at Lake Crescent Lodge, where we stayed 2 nights. The cottage was cool and was right on the lake which was a bonus.

The weather was almost too nice, which meant no clouds for sunrise or sunset. I did snap a few during the day:

Most of the time was spent at Hurricane Ridge. It was about an hour from the lodge so we made our way up early on Thursday and stayed up on the ridge until sunset, spending most of the day hiking.

We started off on the 3-mile round trip trail to Hurricane Hill that climbs about 650 ft. Was a bit of an ass-kicker especially with all my camera gear.

We also took a short side spur towards the Elwha ranger station in search of wildflowers. While there were some in bloom, we were a bit late and according to reports this year was nothing compared to the last few years. The wildflowers we saw on Mt. Rainier a few years back were a lot better.

At the top of Hurricane Hill, you can see the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which looked to be blanketed with a dense layer of clouds/fog.

There was a bit of wildlife as well:

We made our way back to the visitor center where we ate lunch and I went exploring on the mini-trails.

We then hiked up to sunrise point and I went exploring on a bit of the Klahhane Ridge trail. We ate dinner at the visitor center and hung around until sunset. The best view facing NW was up on Hurricane Hill however I was not willing to climb that again. So we hung around the visitor center to photograph the mountains; unfortunately there were no clouds. There were a few deer around the area grazing on the flowers, so I made the best of it and incorporated them into my shots.

Summer days are long: sunrise at 5:45am, sunset at 9pm so it was quite a long day. We headed back to the lodge and got some rest. I got up the next morning for sunrise and headed up to Hurricane Ridge by 4am to allow me time to drive up to the parking lot, and hike up to sunrise point. Again, I was greeted with a clear sky, but there was a nice alpine glow on the mountain range as the sun was coming up.

Weather could have been a bit more dramatic, but at least it didn't rain. If we are ever back in this area, we will do some of the Obstruction Point hikes, which I believe were closed anyway due to Sequestration.

Our next stop was the forest/rain forest area where we visited Hoh and Sol Duc. I'll update that on my next post.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography
Landscape and Wildlife photography

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Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography
Landscape and Wildlife photography