Older Entries

08/28/16 - Klahane Ridge - Part 1

It hasn’t been easy getting up to the Hurricane Ridge hikes recently. If nothing else, they have been repaving Hurricane Ridge Road. We started early on a cloudy Sunday and managed to avoid the construction, but at the ridge we could smell the smoke from the Cox, and we could see the smoke settled on the mountains. We decided to try climbing Klahane Ridge anyway figuring that we had an asthma inhaler with us, so if the air was too bad on the way up, we could control its effects and make our way back down.

As it turned out the air started getting a little better as we climbed out of the closed area near the Switchback trailhead. Still, we could see the smoke highlighting the mountain panorama. As we climbed we had a broader vista, but the smoke was a major feature that we could see and smell. We made it to the ridge and headed on to the “kick in the ass” as one hiker we met put it. This is the stretch of the trail to Lake Angeles that climbs and passes through some of the most beautiful alpine gardens.

There were mountain goats about, even a few on the trail. We shouted at them and waved our hiking sticks and that seemed to send them scurrying. We also saw a few marmots as we wandered.


Smoke towards Sunrise Peak

Smokey skies

The panorama

More mountains

More smoke

Mountain goats, a mother and a kid

Another mountain goat

One of the enchanting alpine gardens

A plump marmot

Yet another mountain goat

Mountains as seen from an alpine garden

Keywords: hurricane ridge, klahane ridge, marmots, mountain goats


05/12/16 - Hurricane Hill Road Is Open

Hurricane Hill Road opened on Sunday, the 8th of May. This is earlier than usual. There was a lot of snow up on Hurricane Ridge this winter, but it has been melting quickly. We took advantage of this early opening and went out to hike one of our favorite trails in the high country. The sky was blue. The snow covered mountains were crystalline in the distance.

It was still early in the season, though. There were only a few glacier lilies, but a lot richly scented phlox. In places it covered the hillsides, and its aroma covered the trail. We made it all the way up to the summit, about a 650 foot climb. The only snow on the trail was where the trail was protected on both sides by pine trees, the section running from the bench, about 200 feet, to the open switchbacks above, about 350 feet.

The high country is open. We should note, there is only one open restroom at the Hurricane Ridge lodge during the week, but the picnic area restrooms down Hurricane Hill Road are open, even during the week.


The snow capped Olympic Mountains

The one long snowy stretch of trail

A spectacular place to hike

A glacier lily

More scenery

The mountains again

… and again

Phlox

A view from the summit

A north facing hillside

More phlox

Keywords: high country, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, trails


05/21/15 - Hurricane Ridge

We had to get out of the house, so we made a lightning trip up to Hurricane Ridge. It looks just as pretty as the webcam pictures.

Pretty picture

Keywords: hurricane ridge


11/15/14 - Hurricane Hill - Early Winter

Hurricane Ridge Road is now being closed during the week from Monday through Thursday. On Fridays and weekends the road is open, and, right now at least, the road to Hurricane Hill is open as well. It was a bright sunny day, and there were lots of people climbing up to Hurricane Hill. We were a bit out of shape for the mountains- the trailhead is nearly a mile up - and it was cold. Despite this, we made good time. The colors are muted now, but the scenery is still spectacular.

Bright sun, mountains and valley haze

Port Angeles

Frozen for the duration

Mountains

Mount Baker, floating like a meringue in the distance

More mountains and a touch of color still remaining

More mountains and some lens flare

More

and even more

Another bit of scenery

A last bit of fall color

Keywords: hurricane hill, hurricane ridge


06/02/14 - Hurricane Hill Trail Report

The Hurricane Hill Trail is open. On slow days, we have been heading up to Hurricane Ridge to watch the snow melt and glacier lilies blossom. Usually this time of year, there are ten foot high ramparts of snow at the far end of the parking lot. This year, the area was almost snow free, so it was only a small surprise that the road to the Hurricane Hill trailhead was open. The big surprise was that the trail was relatively free of snow. There were some patches and a long stretch, a section of the trail shaded by evergreens was still covered. Still, we made it to the summit.

The trail is open early. We usually don't make it to the top of the hill until late June or even early July, but this year is different. The alpine flowers are already coming out, and not just the glacier lilies. The trail is scented with phlox. The paintbrush is out and the lupines are starting to bloom. Even the marmots are up and about. If you are planning a trip to Hurricane Ridge, it might make sense to plan to come early. The high country can be hard country, so it pays to sieze the day.


The trail is quite clear here.

This shaded corridor is the most snow covered part of the trail, but passable.

The views are spectacular.

A view from the summit

Another high country view

Lupines

Phlox

A marmot

Another marmot

Bachelors, out grazing

Paintbrush

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


05/20/14 - From the Hurricane Ridge Webcam

We haven't posted any animations from the Hurricane Ridge webcam, but a few days ago, on the 16th, there was some pretty neat footage. For the big version click here, for a tiny phone sized view click here.

The animation

Keywords: hurricane ridge


05/19/14 - Hurricane Ridge - Spring Report

We drove up to Hurricane Ridge today to watch the snow melt and see if any flowers were in bloom. The road is completely clear, save for the usual runaway rocks. There was lupine in bloom at one of the lookouts, and as we approached the ridge proper, the first phlox of the season was in bloom.

The snow is melting rapidly on the ridge. There were 57 inches of snow at the official snow stake, but there were plenty of clear patches, and there was less snow than we expected on the continuation of the road towards Hurricane Hill. Usually this time of year, there are eight or ten foot high ramparts, but this year they were much reduced. We wandered down the road a bit towards Hurricane Hill, and we're guessing that they'll open the road earlier than usual this year.

Then we explored the parking lot and found them, glacier lilies. The first few were just buds with a touch of yellow, but a few were starting to open. The Hurricane Ridge flower season has begun.


Some mountains

Sunrise Peak

Melting snow

No ramparts here

The road to Hurricane Hill

Glacier lilies

Another glacier lily

A glacier lily starting to bloom

Yet another glacier lily

We aren't sure what this is, but it looks interesting.

Clouds and fog

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge


02/21/14 - Amazing Skies at Hurricane Ridge

The snow came late this winter, but there is a fair bit of it up on Hurricane Ridge lately. Even more amazing are the webcam images. It's 17 degrees up there now, and the road is closed at the moment, but the skies and mountains are at their winter best.

Looking east, towards the sunrise

Looking to the south

Keywords: hurricane ridge, weather, winter


10/29/13 - Klahane Ridge

This was probably our last climb up to Klahane Ridge for the year. There was a dusting of snow, and we weren't even sure if we could make it all the way to the ridge. Still, as we climbed, the mountain called to us. It was a brilliant day and fantastically beautiful. Even if we didn't think we could climb higher, we didn't want to leave the mountain face. This left us little choice but to push on. Our trusty Yaktrax tooks us safely through the thin accumulation of slush and snow, though to be honest, most of the trails were clear and we had excellent traction. And, we climbed.

At some point it became apparent that we were likely to make it to the ridge. We had a clear view of Mount Olympus over Sunrise Point. It was exhiliarating. Then we made our last switchback and made our way to ridge proper, passing between the rocks. Before us was the sweeping view of the strait, of the islands, of Vancouver Island, of Mount Baker and, it seemed, everything. We approached the overlook, and the wind struck. It had been windy at Hurricane Ridge, imagine that, but our climb had been warm and sunny with the icicles glistening as they melted. Here, we were unsheltered, on a ridge, again. The wind blew hard and cold. It was a winter wind.

In a way it was a winter climb with the snow dusted landscape, the snow packed mountains and the trees adorned with bands of snow and icicles. But it was also a summer climb with the warm sun and the trail beckoning. It was the last of the season.


The hiking trail

The views

Are you thinking of Christmas too?



The view to the north

and the view to the east

More mountains

Rocky crags and sunny trails

Good footing on the descent

A stream through a mountain meadow

Keywords: hurricane ridge, klahane ridge, trails, winter


06/07/13 - Hurricane Ridge

We've been getting up to Hurricane Ridge now and then to see how the snow is melting and whether the alpine flowers have come into bloom. Our report: the snow is melting, and the flowers have yet to bloom. There's also the spectacular scenery, the Olympic Mountains and the dramatic sky. The road to Hurricane Hill is still not open to traffic, so we walked and made our way to the trailhead. There was some pretty impressive scenery en route.

Dramatic clouds

More drama in the sky

Hurricane Hill itself is still covered with snow

The parking lot, however, is clearing

More dramatic views

Blue sky below

Big mountains, big sky

Dark clouds

A different sky, and all at the same time

A mixed sky

Sunrise Peak is still covered with snow.

Keywords: hurricane hill, hurricane ridge


05/10/13 - Hurricane Ridge Melt Watch

We've been watching the snow melt at Hurricane Ridge on the park webcams, and we've been following the snow depth at the weather website, but we had to drive up and see what is happening live.

The Kaleberg Report - The snow is melting rapidly. We were quite surprised. The phlox is in bloom a bit below the Switchback trailhead, so the high country is opening for the season. The biggest surprise was the state of the road to Hurricane Hill. It was blocked off by a barricade of orange highway cones, but instead of the usual high ramparts ending in a wall of snow, the road seems to have been plowed, at least as far as we could see. It may even be open now as you read this.


There's more and more grass showing.

We are reminded that summer is coming.

More signs of melting snow

The ramparts and the barricade

but, the Hurricane Hill Road has been plowed and may soon open.

Keywords: high country, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, weather, kale


12/30/12 - Gray Skies at the Ridge

We managed to do a little bit of snowshoeing up at Hurricane Ridge. We are seriously out of snowshoe shape. Still, the scenery was wonderful, and we have never seen so much snow on the trees.

Gray skies

A dash of light

Mixed skies

More snow and sky

The trail

First of a six photo panorama

Second

Third

Fourth

Fifth

Sixth and last

Keywords: hurricane ridge, snowshoeing, winter


11/12/12 - Hurricane Ridge

Saturday was sunny, so we headed up to Hurricane Ridge to check things out. The road to the Hurricane Hill trailhead was closed and covered with a thin layer of snow, so we hiked from the lodge to the trailhead. We saw some wonderful things.

Just a touch of frost

The grasses are golden

That's the Hurricane Hill Trail. It's still walkable, but we were too tired to continue.

A red branched bush

Another view of the Hurricane Hill trail

The mountains and clouds

More mountainas and clouds

There is just enough snow to make things look beautiful.

The road

A view through the trees

Mount Angeles

Keywords: hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, winter


10/23/12 - Winter Is A-Coming In

There had been a few sprinkles of snow on Hurricane Ridge, but they largely melted during the day. Now, however, the winter snow has come in earnest. Hurricane Ridge Road was closed at Heart of the Hills and the webcams showed a blanket of white and, at times, near white out conditions. There's a chance it will melt before the real accumulation begins, but after our cool summer it is more likely it will not. We'll be keeping our eyes open. We may be snowshoeing before we expected to.

Snow on the ridge

Keywords: hurricane ridge, winter


10/14/12 - Elderberries

With the drought this year, we weren't sure if the elderberries near mile 13 of Hurricane Ridge Road would ripen. Well, they did, and they're looking pretty good. If you do stop to admire them, keep a weather eye on your rear view mirror. There's a lot to look at on the road to the ridge, so keep your eyes open.

Some ripe elderberries

Keywords: hurricane ridge, autumn


07/25/12 - Hurricane Ridge and Sunrise Point

We are usually more adventurous, but now and then we need to take it easy. We just weren't up to a real serious hike, so we parked at Hurricane Ridge and climbed Sunrise Point. That's maybe a 200 foot climb, and we never got out of key clicker range of our car.

This year spring came late and summer came later, and that meant that the rains lingered into July. Cool wet weather make for lush green vegetation and lots and lots of alpine flowers. Some years the lupines barely grow as they race to bloom before drying out in the summer heat. This year, they've grown and grown, and while they are blooming now, they are still early in the cycle with many flowers yet to come.

It's like this for all the flowers: a late start, a lot of green, and a lot of flowers. This may be one of the best years in a while for high country blossoms, and you don't even have to walk very far.


A great view of the mountains and the fields

Lupines in the foreground

Lingering snow

Avalanche lilies

Phlox

More avalanche lilies

Guess

A very lush field of lupines

We aren't sure about these, but they're pretty.

Another lupine view

A lot of lush green means more to come.

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane ridge, summer, weather


06/08/12 - It's Going to Take a Lot of Melting

We've started our seasonal Hurricane Ridge watch, waiting for the high country trails to open. There's still a lot of snow up there, and the webcam points at a southern slope, so it doesn't reveal much about how clear the trails are. Another useful resource is the real time Hurricane Ridge weather report which gives the snow level. The park posts its own trail condition reports, and while things are thawing, the cool spring means that much of the high country is still closed. We'll be heading up to the ridge now and then to see what things are like, and we'll post a note when we get our first high country hike of the year.

There was a lot of snow.

These ramparts are lower now, but there's still a lot ot melt.

We walked the road to Hurricane Hill a bit. When we last checked, it wasn't plowed far.

Keywords: high country, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, spring, trails, weather


04/20/12 - Hurricane Ridge Report

We recently were up at Hurricane Ridge to see if we could do some snowshoeing. There was lots of snow up there, but it had been melted and refrozen and compacted so many times that it was rough going. We had traction, but it was hard to take more than a few steps before breaking through the crust or having to climb up or down one of the folds in surface. We didn't get very far, but we enjoyed some great scenery.

Amazing views

There was a sign warning about snow sliding from the roof - and snow sliding from the roof.

More amazing views

There is still a lot of snow.

The hours for the lodge store - open May weekends, then every day starting Memorial Day weekend

Keywords: hurricane ridge, snowshoeing, winter


01/17/12 - Hurricane Ridge

Shortly before the recent storms, we drove up to Hurricane Ridge and did some snowshoeing. The snow was crunchy having been compacted, melted and refrozen, but it was easy enough going with our steel foot claws, our snowshoes.

It was a cloudy day, so we managed to capture some of the strange color that the mountain sky gets when the air is unsettled. It was a good workout, and, now that the storms have settled, we're hoping to get back up there.


Some of the strange sky

A bit of blue sky - There were colors for every mood.

The mountains and a pale gray sky

Vancouver Island across the strait

More strange and angry sky

Hurricane Hill in the distance

The trail itself

Keywords: hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, snowshoeing


   Older Entries