The $15 admission that we purchased to do the Staircase Hike last week at Olympic National Park was good for 7 days. So on day 7 (after filling the intervening days with beach and zoo and park and birthday parties and more park, a trip to Nana's, a music-in-the-park afternoon downtown, and all the miscellanea of everyday life), we re-ventured out to a different spot in the same park. Olympic National Park is huge. We could easily use up a week going to a new part of the park every day, seeing a different ecosystem each time. We went on Wednesday to Hurricane Ridge to do the Hurricane Hill hike.
It was a GORGEOUS day to be in the mountains. Temperatures hovered above 70 and below 80 (although there was a hearty blast of sun for the majority of our hike, and we did get hot and sweaty and sunburnt - while walking past patches of snow). The air wasn't as clear as it can get, but we could see Rainier (another National Park on our to-do list for this summer/fall hiking season):
We could also see Victoria BC from our perch atop the mountains. Boyness' improbable statement? "I didn't think Canada looked like that!" "What did you think it would look like" "I dunno...it looks like a city though..." Oops. Educational opportunity.
The view was already excellent on our drive up, and spectacular by the time we got around to parking our van.
The smaller lot at the trailhead (about 1.5 miles from the visitor's center) was full, so we wound up parking in an auxiliary lot/picnic area about 1/4-1/2 of a mile from the actual trailhead. No big deal, that little walk was pretty:
We'd chosen the Hurricane Hill hike because it promised good views and also because it was an intermediate length, 1.8 miles each way (extended to just over 2 miles each way by the walk to/from the car). So in that sense it was also no big deal that it was extended a bit. The other available trails tended to be either less than half a mile or more than 6 miles.
Boyness and Girliness are sure they want to do a backpacking trip all the way across the Olympic National Park at some point. This is something I have zero experience with and find a tadbit intimidating, but maybe at some point in the next couple of years we can tackle that project. I know there are probably people hardcore enough to go backpacking with a baby, but I'm not one of them.
There were a couple of signs at the trailhead about an aggressive mountain goat that had been frequenting the area; they warned that we should be prepared to yell and toss some rocks around if we saw it. BittyPrincess, thus forewarned, loaded her sweaty hands with rocks and kept on the alert for about half a mile before asking me to take over rock-holding duty - at which point we had a discussion about the fact that there were copious rocks about and we didn't need to carry them, really.
This is how Chubble hikes (and her little shaded perch meant that while I had a pretty decent sunburn by the end of the hike, she was totally fine):
Check out this view! From the almost-top of the hike, we can see water, and also the water-like fog, accumulating lazily against the shore:
We did see some wildlife, too. We didn't need to work to get this shot - the deer were just kind of THERE.
We also saw 6 bears (in three separate groupings). 4 of them were so distant that they looked like rocks until we realized that the rocks were moving, and 2 of them had wandered within a few feet of the road as we were driving out. We didn't get any pictures because, yeah, they looked like rocks in the first instance and we were driving past and trying not to fall off the mountain in the second.
Anyway, back to the hike - we picnicked next to the snow! It was still quite hot up there, and the cool coming off the snow pack was very pleasant.
Boyness wouldn't let Chubble get through the day without experiencing some snow, too.
The kids were instructed to STAY ON THIS SIDE OF THE SNOW, because (it's hard to see from this angle) the last few feet of snow were overhang and then a few hundred feet drop-away.
This was a perspective trick shot, BittyPrincess is supposed to be holding me and Chubble. Hi!
And we'll close with an awesome photo of BittyPrincess running the last 100 meters or so to the van:
Oh yeah, and the book thing. I read:
Lolita. Ugh. Beautiful writing, though.
Things Fall Apart. Awesome for many reasons, but the biggest was that it was completely non-romanticized and told from a seldom-heard-from viewpoint - in a way that felt really authentic. I have a big gripe with books that end happily for a native tribe in this time period. There aren't happy endings to be had, not enough that they should be accounted more often than the great sadness of this era for native peoples of pretty much any area, tradition, or religious persuasion.
Waiting for Godot. Didn't get what the big deal was.
I'm now starting in on a 4-book series by Tad Williams, one of my favorite authors, and it's going to take me a while.