I visited Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park for a weekend and hiked the trails near the visitor center.
On the first day, the mountain was covered in fog. We could only see a few meters in front of us, so we drove at a snail’s pace, careful to stop for black-tailed deer that idled in the middle of the road. At the visitor center, we broke through the cloud line and into the sun. We were hoping for sweeping views, but everything below was shrouded in cloud. We walked along Cirque Rim, Sunrise Point, and the High Ridge trail. It felt surreal, hiking at cloud-level.
Afterwards, we checked out the Sol Duc hot springs. The springs didn’t feel natural at all, covered in ceramic pool tiling and thronged by foreign tourists. The sulfurous smell was overbearing. We soaked for a couple hours, then stopped by a waterfall to watch the salmon jump upstream.
We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast called Collette’s. The grounds had luxurious rustic decor, a beautiful garden, and a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean.
The next day was clear, and we drove to Hurricane Ridge again. There were some deer by the visitor center that were clearly acclimated to humans, and continued grazing though the hiking path was only a couple meters away.
We hiked on Klahhane Ridge. The path was narrow, with a dramatic drop off along the steep mountain face. If I fell off the path, only an eagle or goat would be able to reach me. I felt vertigo when I looked downhill, where a tumble would lead to my doom. So I hiked slowly, leaning towards the higher ground like a mobile Leaning Tower of Pisa. Even though the hike tested my nerves, I really enjoyed it. Most of the times I go hiking, there is a rewarding view at the end. But on Klahhane Ridge, the view was amazing from beginning to end.