September 22, 2013

Olympic National Park: Hurricane Ridge

The present

Walking around the Hurricane Ridge parking lot and then up the trail, I felt that my energy level was high. In fact, I was congratulating myself at how bouncy I felt up there at timberline. Then Rational Mind kicked in: "Dude, you're at a lower altitude than your house."
Hurricane Ridge visitor center, with Mount Olympus in the background
Timberline is so much lower there, thanks to latitude and whatever other climactic factors. The visitor center is at 5,242 feet (1,911 varas, 1,598 meters), in other words, the same as the high plains city of Denver. Mt. Olympus is 6,900 feet but gets massive snowfall as storms sweep off the North Pacific.
Trail in the Hurricane Ridge area
Looking north: the white streak is a cloud bank on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, while the dark strip on the horizon is Vancouver Island.
The past

Driving up to the ridge, I was trying to remember and reconstruct the last time I had entered Olympic National Park. It was between my freshman and sophomore year of college, and my girlfriend and I had driven up from Portland for a quick backpacking trip in her Volkswagen squareback.

Did we car-camp the first night in the park? I know we hiked to some lake —  Lake Angeles? Why did we go there? What did we eat? What did we talk about? All I can remember is camping beside some lake in the forest. And the "green tunnel" effect of driving on the Olympic Peninsula, which still struck me even after my first year in western Oregon.

I was keeping a journal then, but I can't consult it, for it was one of the volumes that my mother trashed (and then lied about it) after I left them in my old desk at her house. So it goes.

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