Skip to main content

Hurricane Ridge

In September we made a family excursion to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park. I have lived in the Seattle area for 21 years now, and I can't believe that I never went there before now. It is absolutely amazing. The only challenge is that news of The Internet and GPS technology do not seem to have reached the Olympic National Park. They do have a Web site, but their maps and directions are terrible, and there is no address for the ranger station so you can't punch it into your GPS. You will just need to go to Port Angeles on Highway 101 and follow the signs. The road to Hurricane Ridge intersects with Highway 101.

From Seattle to Hurricane Ridge is about a 3 to 4 hour drive depending on ferry crossings and traffic. Driving in the Olympic Peninsula is always nice. Any of the towns that start with "Port" are worth seeing, and there are plenty of things to do and see.

The road up to Hurricane Ridge is scenic - which in a National Park seems to translate to "carved into a mountainside with few, if any, guardrails." This one was less hangy-off-the-side-of-the-cliff than, say, the road to Paradise at Mt Rainier, but if you are prone to car sickness you will still need your meds or barf bracelets. One caution - you will be driving from sea level to over 5200 feet, so it might be colder, or even snowing, at the top. Be sure to check the current conditions before you go.

There are several scenic overlooks where you can pull over and see views like the one, below. On a clear day, you can see Victoria, B.C. across the Straight.

When we arrived at the Visitor's Center at the end of Hurricane Ridge Road, we could smell the smoke from forest fires that have been burning this Fall. Looking south, below, we could still make out the tops of the Olympic Mountains through the haze. Caution: This is not a petting zoo. This is a huge natural area that has bears, cougars, mountain goats, and lots of other animals. If you see wildlife, they are not tame. Leave them alone, and keep your kids away from them, too.

There are short, paved trails that take people from the parking lot to a spot just over a low rise so they can look North, too. Even though it was a warm, late September day, there was still a small pocket of snow just below the overlook.

Pictures just don't do this trip justice. If you want to go, watch the weather, pick a clear day, and head out. There are plenty of bead and breakfast hotels, camp grounds, etc., in the Port Angeles area if you want to make a weekend out of it.


Popular posts from this blog

Reducing CO2 in your home the nerd way

For Christmas my wife gave me a Netatmo weather station because I am a home weather station nerd. The Netatmo is very cool, but it has an unexpected feature: it measures indoor Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels. As soon as I set it up, the Netatmo began to alert that our indoor CO2 was at an unsafe level. The notes said that outdoor CO2 is usually around 400 ppm, and numbers above 1500 ppm could be unhealthy. On that first day, my house was at around 1300 ppm. Prior to that, I never gave indoor CO2 levels a thought. I began to do some research and discovered high levels of CO2 can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties, strained eyes and itchy skin.  My family does have all of these issues, especially on the weekends when we are home all day, but I never connected that to indoor air quality. Previously, I installed a Nest thermostat . The Nest is very smart and saves energy by learning your habits and programming itself. Unfortunately, it is so efficient, that t

Rooftop Playgrounds

This week I have had some meetings in a tall building in downtown Seattle, and when I took a moment to look around and enjoy the view I have noticed playgrounds on rooftops. I saw this daycare playground: and this playground on top of a school: I think that this is a really cool use of space. A friend that grew up in NYC said that her school had a rooftop playground, too. The delinquent in me wonders how many toys and balls go over the side, but I bet the teachers are pretty strict about that. Downtown Seattle has always seemed a little unfriendly towards kids and it is neat to see spaces being carved out.

How To Make School Lunches More Nutritious: Re-Define Words

If you are a parent of a child who attends public school in Washington, and if you have even a vague recollection of the food pyramid , you probably will have noticed that the lunches that are served in school cafeterias are frequently at odds with the rules of good nutrition. The school is not wrong, however. They have just re-defined words and you are not keeping up. Pop quiz:  Cheese belongs to what food group? *bzzz* - wrong. You said that cheese was in the diary food group , right? No! Pbth! How boringly accurate of you. Cheese magically transforms into a protein when it is served on pizza or in a bread stick! I know that you may be dubious, but I contacted Wendy Barkley, RD,  who is the Acting Supervisor of School Nutrition Programs in the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and she assured me that it is so. To quote her email to me: " Pizza remains an option for schools for their menus.  The cheese on pizza is counted as a protein in t