Olympics Hiking

Klahane Ridge - July 16, 2006

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Sandy and I were on the Olympic peninsula on vacation.  We were using Port Angeles as a base.  The day before had been cool and overcast.  We spent it at the Sequim Lavender festival and bought enough stuff to fill up the car for the ride home.  We were planning to leave for Vancouver Island, but Sandy was up early and noticed that the weather looked perfect.  We decided to drive up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park and do a hike.  It turned out to be sunny and warm - you can't pass up a day like that in the Olympics!  They get more rain than any other spot in the continental United States.
Although the view from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is great, we wanted to hike.  We walked toward Mt. Angeles on the Klahane Ridge trail.  We didn't have to go far to leave behind the crowds that are in the parking lot.  It was a little over four miles each way to the low saddle on Klahane Ridge that let us see over to Puget Sound and the Cascades.  Although we only gained 800 feet net elevation, which sounds easy, we estimated that the gross elevation gain was more like 1500 hundred feet, most of which we had to repeat on the way out.  There were several major ups and downs on the ridge.  Still, a great hike.

A warm, sunny day in the Olympics!

We were in shorts and t-shirts, but there was still snow in shady spots even at this elevation (about 5000 feet).

Sandy was wearing her convertibles and opted for shorts right after only a few minutes on the trail.

I hiked most of this trail a few years ago as an approach to Mt. Angeles.  It is a scramble peak which I climbed by myself in 2003.

Can't ask for a better day than this.

The route follows the ridge in the foreground.  Mt. Angeles is the peak on the left with the rocky summit.  We hiked to the saddle which is the low point to the right of Mt. Angeles.

Steve in a field of avalanche lilies.  There must have been millions of them in this meadow.

There were lots of Indian Paintbrush, but some were an unusual magenta color.  The only other time I had seen this color was on another hike in the Olympics - High Divide.

A view of Mt. Angeles.  The trail follows the ridge to the base of the rocky area.  From there it goes right and climbs to the saddle.  The climbers route goes to the left and winds around and up the summit rocks from the left.

There were great views into the interior of the Olympics from all along the ridge.

The saddle is visible from here, but is still a mile and a half away.  It is about 700 feet higher.  What's not visible is that the trail drops several hundred feet before starting up again to the saddle.

The flowers were spectacular, especially on the last long climb up to the saddle.  There have only been one or two hikes we have ever done where we have seen as many flowers or as many different flowers as on this hike.  With a cool, rainy climate, the Olympics are plant heaven.

Another hiker took our picture together at the saddle.  In the background are Mt. Olympus and the heart of the Olympic range.

Looking over Klahane Ridge to Puget Sound.

Looking at the summit of Mt. Angeles from the saddle.  This isn't the easy way.  Too steep for such crumbly rock.  Incredibly, we saw someone descend this route while we were resting at the saddle.

Looking back over our route from the saddle.  Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and the trail head are just over the ridge in the foreground.  You can see the road winding around to it on the left.  The trail goes to the right and then follows the ridge in the middle of the picture.

Steve risks life and limb to get a picture of the vicious squirrel that chased Sandy away from her lunch spot.

Steve strikes an intrepid pose in the rocks at the saddle.

Looking down towards Port Angeles, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island.

Puget Sound and Mt. Baker in the Cascades.

Time to start back.

An example of the variety of colorful flowers all along the trail.

Sandy passes through a meadow filled with flowers.  More purple than at the Lavender Festival the day before.

On the way back we came across a mama goat with her baby.  They were right along the trail and didn't have any fear of people.

A deer on the trail.  It didn't seem to be afraid of people either.

Another picture of the fauna (or is it just a fawn).