Late Autumn Walk on the Dungeness Spit

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: 3 miles – Time out: two hours

The Dungeness Spit

The Dungeness Spit

Degree of Difficulty: 1

Pet Friendly: partially

November 22nd 2011.

The Dungeness Spit is the longest natural spit in the United States. It’s a protected strip of sand, grass and driftwood that is part of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. I was intent on visiting the New Dungeness Lighthouse on the tip of the Dungeness Spit, but last night a storm lashed the area and another was headed our way that afternoon. I had reservations for a land and sea tour that was to leave the John Wayne Marina and take me to the tip of the spit but the captain had to cancel the tour.

Instead of giving up I called my hiking friend, Garry Huff and he agreed to walk the five miles with me to the New Dungeness Lighthouse. Gary is a retired executive who spends many of his days climbing the peaks of the Olympics. He wrote about 43 different day climbs in Peaks in the Olympics Ranked from Easiest to Most Difficult. Someday I hope to follow Gary’s footsteps and hike all forty-three peaks too.

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Hurricane Hill Hike

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: 6.2 miles (in winter) Time: 4 hours

Elevation gain: 515 feet

Bret’s Difficulty Rating: Class 1

November 1st 2011.

If you are looking for an easy hike into the high-country of the Olympics where you can impress friends or relatives with spectacular mountain scenery, this short and mostly paved trail to the summit of Hurricane Hill is a good choice; especially since almost all your elevation gain is accomplished by your automobile engine driving you up the road to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center parking lot. Hurricane Hill trail is above tree line and sits directly above the Strait of Juan de Fuca so you’re usually subject to high winds and inclement weather, except for the day I hiked there – where I experienced blue sky and absolute silence.

Hurricane Hill Hike 2011

The road from sea level at Port Angeles to Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center climbs up over a mile. Drive with caution; in the summer the two-lane highway is very busy and almost any other time of the year it can be icy. When you arrive at the visitor’s center continue past to the Hurricane Hill trailhead. In the off season that last section of road may be closed which will add 3 miles to your roundtrip.

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