<< Olympic Salamanders at Dungeness Spit

10/09/07 - First Signs of WInter, Last Signs of Summer

Hurricane Ridge Road had been closed, and we were sure it had been closed for the season. We were wrong. The road is open, so up we went to Klahane Ridge.

This has been an odd year. We missed the usual late summer drying. By September, most of the alpine flowers are past their bloom and rather sere. This year, the lupines were blossoming into autumn, and the hillsides covered with flowers.

The lupines are gone, but even in October, there are a few blossoms - yarrow, Indian paintbrush, and even a few of those violet harebells. There was a bit of ice on the trail, and some slushy segments. The ice freezes under the soil. When you step on it, the soil compacts and the water flows making the ground slippery. Slime ice, we called it, but it dries out in an hour or two and turns into good old fashioned mud.

The last summer flowers, the first winter snow

First bit of snow on Klahane Ridge

Still a bit of Indian paintbrush
We aren't sure of how much snow has fallen in the high country. Obstruction Point Road is closed, but it is a rather twisty, unsealed road, so there may just be ice in one of the dark patches. According to the web camera at Hurricane Ridge there has been a bit of snow at 5200 feet, but it has all melted. Even at Klahane Ridge, on the north face, perhaps at 6000', there are just patches of snow. Still, looking across at the Blue Glacier and Mount Olympus, over 7000', the mountains are looking whiter.

New snow on the Olympic glaciers

Keywords: autumn, flowers, high country, hurricane ridge, klahane ridge, obstruction point, winter