Day Trip on the Olympic Peninsula

By Damian Humphreys

June 21th 2011.

Day Trip on the Olympic Peninsula

Day Trip on the Olympic Peninsula

A daytrip to Hurricane Ridge and Dungeness Spit in one day takes in the top two tourist attractions for the area. When you add in a catered lunch and a knowledgeable tour guide from Evergreen Escapes, that will explain the science behind the wonderful scenery I am viewing, then it makes for a day that is well worth the cost. I could do it myself, but I would miss out on learning about the unique beauty of the area.

Leaving the Holiday Inn Express in Sequim at 9.30, the bus carried me to the summit of Hurricane Ridge at 5200 feet. Snow covered much of the ground. The peaks of the Olympic National Park greeted my arrival at the summit. The visitor center has a lot of information regarding the ecology and topography of the area. I had ample time to wander by myself as and took the opportunity to join a guided hike where I learned about the local wildlife and vegetation that is synonymous with the region.

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Mt. Townsend Summit Attempt

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

June 21st, 2011.

Distance: 4.1 miles to Summit

Hiking Time One-Way: 3 hours

Elevation gain: 3,000 ft. to summit

Rating: Class 3 (because of snow)

Time to turn around

It was the first day of summer and I wanted to go on a hike. I was inspired by Gary Huff's description of his hike along the Mt. Townsend trail. Gary wrote, "The views are wide and dramatic, including the Puget Sound, downtown Seattle, Hood Canal and the Olympic mountains of the Buckhorn Wilderness. On a clear day you can see Baker, Rainer, Adams and Mt St Helens. There are lots of wildflowers and alpine meadows."

It was a bit early in the hiking season but Gary wrote, "Mt. Townsend is usually the first high mountain in the Olympics to lose its snow, so it's the first one I hike every season." That’s all well and good for a year of normal snowfall, but the Olympics were blanketed by powerful snowstorms this spring. I didn’t realize how much snow was waiting for me.

I left the Quality Inn and Suites in Sequim at 6:30am and drove 90 minutes to the trailhead high above Quilcene along the Hood Canal. The trail began wet and steep. Tall firs blocked out the sun. Within a few minutes of hiking there were already patches of snow all about. "This doesn’t bode well," I thought as I walked slowly upward. The summit was at 6,280 feet.

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