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10/23/19 - Hurricane Ridge - Early Snow

There has been snow up at Hurricane Ridge for a while, but the road is still usually open. The Switchback Trail to Klahane Ridge is closed while they repair the road which is down to one lane there. The Hurricane Hill Trail is closed, because the twisty little road to Hurricane Hill is covered with snow and ice. The ridge, however, is reachable and navigable, though we recommend good boots for the snow and some icy patches.

The views are spectacular with the Olympic Mountains covered with fresh snow. It isn't very deep, so the richly colored late autumn grasses still cover areas. Call the park, 360 565 3131, before you go to make sure that the road is actually open since they'll close it for snow falls, white outs and heavy fog. Still, if you can make it up there, the ridge is beautiful.


Autumn grasses

Snow and trees and mountains

Scenery

Further away

A bit more snow

The forest

The Olympic Mountains

Klahane Ridge

More of everything

The Olympic Mountains again

More autumn color

More mountains

More snow

Hurricane Hill Road

Mountain light

Keywords: autumn, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, klahane ridge


06/26/19 - Hurricane Hill - Last Visit for a While

With the construction, Hurricane Hill is only open a few days this summer, but we managed to get up there one more time. We were pleased to see the lupines in bloom but a bit worried by the advanced state of the snow melt. Still, the flowers were beautiful. We are going to miss the corn lilies, but we could see them coming up. We are also going to miss the marmots, but they seem to be do fine without us. If we manage to synchronize our schedule and the construction schedule, we'll try for a visit later this summer, but it doesn't look promising.

An amazing sky

Two marmots

The same two marmots sparring

The Olympic Mountains

Another view of the mountains

Alpine flowers

That's the little seasonal lake in the background.

Field of corn lilies

One of the corn lilies

Another view, so very green

A view north and west

Soft skies

Blue and green

Another marmot amidst the dirty sock plant

A view through the trees

Avalanche lilies

We are sure we looked these up once.

A floral arrangement

Larkspur and wallflower - if your browser supports the SCENT tag you should smell the wallflowers.

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots, summer


06/11/19 - Hurricane Hill - Up Close

We were so excited to be getting back to Hurricane Hill, that we took a lot of pictures, so many that we need a double post. This post has the close ups.

The setting

Golden marmot

A seasonal pond frequented by bears, but not today

Early stage corn lily

Pasque flower

Spot the chipmunk

Chipmunk posing

Phlox and some more drama

Avalanche lilies

Lupines

Wallflower

Yarrow

More lupines

More avalanche lilies

More phlox

A rock garden

Lupines up close, with beads of water

Keywords: hurricane hill, flowers


06/10/19 - Hurricane Hill - Wide Angle

We made another trip up to Hurricane Hill. We're trying to make the most of the few days that the trail will be open this season. Right now, the trail will only be open 6/22-23, 7/4, 7/21, 8/2-4, 9/1-2, 9/13-15, 9/27-29 and 10/11-14. That's only 19 days, and that's it for the year.

It was a sunny day, but there were dramatic clouds coming in from the east. That meant spectacular views, but also spectacular cloud-scapes. The flowers were in serious bloom with phlox, western wallflower, pasque flowers, glacier lilies, avalanche lilies, paintbrush and even some early lupines. The corn lilies were just green shoots, but we'll probably miss them this year.


The setting

Some cloud drama

Phlox on the fields

A bit of snow and cloud

Another view

Clouds from the south and east

The seasonal lake below the summit, just forming

The sidespur

Dramatic light and flowers

Mountains near and far

Even more drama

A study in green

Another study in green

Keywords: hurricane hill


05/25/19 - Hurricane Hill - To The Summit

We went back to Hurricane Hill again, and this time we made it to the summit. The trail is still closed every other week and never open on Wednesdays, so it if you want to enjoy it, check the Olympic National Park website. Be prepared to walk maybe ten minutes from one of the two picnic area parking lots to trailhead proper. The road there is closed. On the plus side, there are bathrooms at both parking areas.

The alpine flowers were spectacular. There would be waves of sweet scent from the phlox as we walked by. All of the snow on the trail has melted, but there is still snow in the shade and on north faces. There isn't much more to say. Enjoy the pictures.


One of the many views of the Olympic Mountains

A view from the summit

As the season progresses, this snow on the north face melts and fills a little lake, now visible as a few blue spots.

Another view

And yet another

Still another view, follow that strip of white down ...

... and at its base, the snow melts and forms a stream.

It's hard to know where to look.

Patchy snow in a bowl below the trail

Glacier lilies

More glacer lilies

An arty view

Sweet smelling western wallflower

We looked these flowers up once, but forgot what they are.

Phlox

More phlox

Even more phlox

Paintbrush

Yarrow

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill


05/16/19 - Hurricane Hill

The Hurricane Hill Trail is open. It is still being rebuilt, so it is only open about half the time. Check the park web page and scroll down to the calendar before you head up expecting to take this hike. Note that the trail is ALWAYS closed on Wednesdays. Also note that the road is closed at the second picnic area, so the trailhead is now an additional ten minute walk from parking.

That said, the view from the trail is as beautiful as ever. Most of the trail is free of snow, and the snow is melting rapidly. The glacier lilies are out as is the phlox, so keep your nose peeled for that latter flower's wonderful scent. There were many marmots about which was a nice treat. We didn't quite make it to the summit, so that's for our next try. We had a long winter this year, so it's great that the high country is finally open again.


The Olympic Mountains

Phlox

A view from the trail

More of the mountains

A late winter scene

One of the many marmots

Another mountain view

Another marmot

A marmot in a field of delicious, to a marmot, spring flowers

The marmot by the trailside

That marmot checking us out

That marmot again offering us a closeup

A bit of snow on a shady stretch of trail

More spring flowers

Some of the trail work, a stone retaining wall where the trail has been widened

More phlox

Glacier lilies

Glacier lilies in closeup

Goodbye to the mountains

Keywords: high country, hurricane hill, marmots, spring


09/30/18 - Hurricane Hill Reopened

Hurricane Hill has finally been reopened, at least for three days a week until the road is closed by snow. The trail is one of the most popular in the park, and it has shown a lot of wear. It is being rebuilt, widened, repaved and restored. For now, the Hurricane Hill road only runs to the second picnic area. The parking area at the usual trailhead is full of building materials for the trail work.

We got an early start. This was a good idea since just about every parking space was taken when we returned from our hike around noon. The hike was as beautiful as ever. One day we expect to see Mount Olympus itself covered in construction scaffolding, but, for now, the mountains are being left to their own devices. We took in some amazing views, admired a few late blooming flowers and the golden grasses and checked out the sap covered pine cones.

Check the park web site before you go. The trail is only open three days a week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), but it is well worth the effort.


A common sight in 2018 - road closed

Hurricane Hill Trail widened

The new trail with have a lot of stone work to encourage people to stay on the trail.

The Olympic Mountains seen from Hurricane Hill Trail

Autumn color

More autumn color

Even more autumn color

Good grief, even more autumn color

Fields of gold

Fields of gold with distant mountains

More fields of gold, more mountains

Variation on a theme

One of the late harebells

Pine cones

More pine cones

Autumn color by the trail

Autumn color and more stones for the trail work

Keywords: hurricane hill, trails


05/27/18 - Hurricane Hill - First Ascent

This time we made it to the top of Hurricane Hill. Most of the snow has melted, except for a long stretch between the bench and the "hamper". All sorts of flowers are starting to bloom: glacier lilies, yarrows, violets and avalanche lilies. The lupines are getting ready. Spring is here. We even saw some marmots.

Phirst phlox

Glacier lilies and others

One of the marmots

Another marmot

One of the views

That lake to the north of the peak

More flowers

Grasses in bloom

Yarrow

An assemblage with phlox

An avalanche lily

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots, spring


05/20/18 - Hurricane Hill - First Look

Despite the delays on Hurricane Ridge Road, we made our way up to the Hurricane Hill trailhead. There was still a lot of snow, but some of the trail was clear. The sky was blue and the view of the distant mountains was crystalline. Only the bravest plants, or those lucky enough to have an especially warm microclimate, were out and in bloom, but we could see signs of alpine spring.

Stay tuned. We'll be back, road construction or not.


Snow on the trail - still passable

More snow on the trail

Someone getting a head start

Melting snow on the mountain

The Olympic Range in its majesty

Another gorgeous view

Paintbrush getting out in front

Keywords: hurricane hill, spring, flowers


10/12/17 - Fall Colors on Hurricane Hill

The rainy season starts in the fall. That means autumn color and the start of the rainy season. The brilliant, almost crystalline summer sky is replaced by a sky of clouds and mists. Rivers of cloud snake their way through the river valleys and drape the mountain sides. The snows many come at any time and close the roads to the high country, so we try to get up as often as we can while we can.

Mountains and autumn haze

Some color

Mount Baker from afar

Port Angeles from above

Another mountain view

Snow on the north face

The season of the misty mountains and golden grasses

More golden fields

More grasses

Keywords: autumn, high country, hurricane hill


10/01/17 - Marmots on Hurricane Hill

We've been watching autumn end and winter arrive on the Hurricane Hill trail. It has been hard not to notice all the new snow on Mount Olympus and the other great mountains for the Olympics. The grasses have turned golden and the marmots are out taking advantage of the late harvest to fatten up for winter.

A mountain view

More snow already

The fields below

Golden marmots ...

... in golden grasses

Autumn colors

Another marmot

Yet another marmot

It was like a marmot conference.

Another mountain view

A last harebell

Keywords: autumn, hurricane hill, marmots, winter


08/20/17 - Hurricane Hill as Summer Passes

The summer is passing. More gold and brown are creeping into the colors of the high country. We hiked the Hurricane Hill Trail again and saw a bit of drama, two young marmots were attacked by a hawk. They were unharmed, but one tends to thing that these things are just staged for nature documentaries. Not true.

We also ran into the team planning to rebuild the trail. The Hurricane Hill Trail is heavily used in season, and it has been showing signs of wear. We're hoping they don't have to close the trail for too long. We've been having a lot of trail and road closures lately.


Summer colors

Still plenty of green

Mountains in late summer

Another view

The view to the north

Clouds add drama.

A silky sky

Late summer flowers

The season

Yet another view

The trail planning team at work

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, marmots, summer


06/27/17 - Hurricane Hill and a Sunbow

Taking a break from Klahane Ridge, we went back to Hurricane Hill. The snow on the trail is almost gone, so it was easy going. We even went down the side spur that leads to the Elwha Ranger Station a bit. We saw a blue grouse and several marmots, but the real treat was a sunbow on our way back to the parking lot.

On our way back, admiring the views of the main mountain chain to the south, we noticed that one of the high cirrus clouds was not quite pure white. It was colored and colored like the rainbow. There was another cirrus cloud not far, and it too was also colored, but more faintly. It took a bit of thinking, but what we were seeing was part of a colored circle, a rainbow around the sun, but only visible where there were ice crystals in the high clouds.

That's called a sunbow. It's not like a rainbow. Rainbows are centered around the anti-solar point, the point farthest away from the sun. A sunbow is centered around the sun. It was a pretty rare sighting. Moonbows, colored rings around the moon are much more common, so we were quite pleased with such a fine view.


A blue grouse

Mountain view

A piece of the sunbow

Another piece, more lightly colored

Together, these were parts of a ring of color around the sun.

Lupines

Lupines and mountain friends

Phlox

Avalanche lilies

More avalanche lilies

One of the many marmots

Keywords: grouse, hurricane hill, atmosphere, science, marmots


06/19/17 - Hurricane Hill - Critters

We've been getting up to Hurricane Hill to watch the snow melt, enjoy the views, gawk at the flowers and do some wildlife spotting. Hurricane Hill is great place for seeing all sorts of animals: marmots, bears, hares, deer and even mountain goats. Well, we didn't see any mountain goats this time, but we saw just about everything else.

The scene

A black bear ...

... from a safe distance

One of the marmots, not Marmot Rock

Melting snow

More snow on the north face

Another marmot

Yet another marmot

A snowshoe hare

Phlox

The lupines are back; we missed them last year.

Keywords: animals, flowers, hurricane hill, marmots


10/22/16 - First Snow on Hurricane Hill

Hurricane Hill was windy and cold, and the first snow has fallen. Obstruction Point Road is already closed, and it looks like we are having an early winter. The Hurricane Hill Trail started below the snow line, but we could see a lot more snow on the Olympic Mountains and snow on Mount Angeles early on. As we neared the summit, we saw the first snow by the trail. There wasn’t all that much snow, but this part of the mountain faces south. We could see a lot more snow on the north face, and the little seasonal lake has reformed after having dried out this summer.

The wintry air and clouds played tricks with the light. There were bands of crepuscular light as the sun shone through gaps in the clouds. There was even a bit of a light column glowing brightly with the sunlight reflected and concentrated by ice crystals. There wasn’t much of a view as we made our ascent, but at the summit the clouds blew past, so we had great views on our walk down. We often tell people to take the trail even when visibility is limited as things are likely to change. We were well rewarded for taking our own advice, but by the time we returned to our car, the clouds had started to close in again.


A last bit of color

Mountains and sky

The summit and the first snow

Crepuscular light

Mount Angeles snow

The north face

Snow on the trail - Doesn’t that look like winter?

Almost like autumn again

Autumn color

More shafts of light

A light column

Keywords: hurricane hill, obstruction point, winter


10/05/16 - Late Season Hurricane Hill

The Hurricane Hill trail may only be open for another few weeks, so we’ve been heading up there to enjoy the autumn colors. They aren’t as spectacular as the brilliant red of the Fields of Mars out at Obstruction Point, but they nicely mark the season.

The last rose

More snow in the mountains

Fading colors

The side spur

Fields of gold

Another late fall view

Yet another field

Still some red below

Autumn colors

Where the red and orange come from

Late season yarrow

Keywords: autumn, hurricane hill


09/18/16 - Smoke in the High Country

The Cox Valley fire is still smoldering in the high country. We hiked the Hurricane Hill trail and could see the smoke filled valleys to the south. We also saw a number of blue grouse. The grasses on the hill sides have been turning golden, but it was the spectacular blue of the smoke and sky that caught our attention.

Autumn colors and smoke

More valley smoke

Smoke and clouds

Golden grasses and forest fire smoke

One of the grice or perhaps one of the grouses

More distant smoke

Smoke, sky and trail

Dried flowers

Even more smoke

A close up …

… and another one

Keywords: grouse, high country, hurricane hill


09/07/16 - Hurricane Hill in the Mist

The weather in the high country is as changeable as ever. That means packing a light raincoat and making the most of whatever the mountains and clouds offer. We didn’t expect much from Hurricane Hill on a cloudy day, but the round trip walk takes over an hour and a half. That gave the clouds plenty of time to shift and change. At times we were wrapped in fog, but we still managed to discern a blue grouse and a marmot. We also had some spectacular scenery and a beautiful walk.

Mixed skies

Autumn colors

Mist

One of the views

A blue grouse

Autumn colors and autumn mist

The flooded foot path

A marmot in the mist

A closeup of that marmot

Some teasing blue sky

Another view

Keywords: grouse, high country, hurricane hill, weather


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