On A Clear Day…Olympic National Park

A while back we did a post about our visit to Hurricane Ridge in Washington’s great Olympic National Park. Hurricane Ridge is one of the best viewpoints in the Pacific Northwest, for sure, with a tremendous panorama of the Olympic Range.

But this was not Brian’s first visit to the area. He first visited Olympic National Park in 2007, during the same trip when he climbed Mount St. Helens. He turned up some photos of this trip while turning over the old shoebox archive for vintage pictures.

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The hike he did in Olympic NP – Grand Ridge — was washed out (as they often are here) and therefore forgettable…we saw nothing, unless you count clouds and waterlogged pine trees.

But there was one morning of this trip when the sun came out for just a few hours. Brian, who at the time was camped at Deer Park Campground, took advantage of this brief respite from rain to walk up the road behind the campsite toward the summit of Blue Mountain.

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The rockpile at the top is the Mount Blue summit

Blue Mountain stands about 6009 feet tall. You can drive almost all the way to the summit, and in fact most of these shots were taken from the gravel road to the summit. But be advised it’s a pretty sketchy drive…the road into Deer Park Campsite itself is a good 18 miles, the last half of which is a very narrow and windy dirt road, prone to washouts and with many blind turns. The summit is about a half mile past the campground.

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Why DO they call it Deer Park?

Though considered to be the ‘dry’ part of the Olympics (in the rain shadow of the southerly peaks) it is still a very damp place. The sun doesn’t shine here often, but when it does…

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Mt. Olympus is in the center of this photo.

There is something about the views in the Pacific Northwest that can’t be explained. Photographs often don’t do it justice, maybe because of the quality of the light. But it’s something to see in person…the deep rich colors of wide alpine meadows, studded with wildflowers. Numerous white glaciers and cobalt blue skies. And the ocean is often within view. On clear days, the Cascades and Olympics can hold their own with almost any other mountain range in the world for scenic beauty.

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The view of Mount Olympus and the main are of the Olympics is quite grand from Blue Mountain. Though there is no peak in this range above 8000 feet, the steep and heavily glaciered Olympics LOOK big.

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Brian on Hurricane Ridge in 2007
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Sylvia standing and looking irked near the same spot in 2016.

After taking these pictures in the morning, Brian walked back down the road to the campground. Within an hour, the clouds closed in and the views were gone.
But not forever.

I hope to return to the Olympics someday with Sylvia and enjoy another (hopefully dry) adventure!

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