2018-09-20 - Sequim and Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park
We reluctantly left Orcas Island and sailed back to the mainland where we boarded another ferry in Coupeville to take us to Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula. Mission accomplished!! It was a beautiful day and we could see the snow-coned Mt. Baker dominating the skyline across the water. We drove along Rt. 101 to the lovely town of Sequim, Washington. There, we were the guests of Graham and Carin Bunney at their beautiful estate on Gaskell Farm Road in the middle of a lush agricultural valley in the snow shadow of the Olympic Mountains. This means that their rainfall is only about 16 inches per year compared to the more than 120 inches experienced elsewhere on the peninsula. Carin and Graham were the consummate hosts and Carin even babysat Roadie while Bob and I took advantage of the blue-sky weather to visit Hurricane Ridge in the high peaks of the Olympics located 17 miles up a winding road. Along the way, we stopped for the breathtaking views of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca with its curved spits and Mt. Baker in the background on the one side and the steep valleys and glacier covered peaks of the Olympic Mountains on the other side. We were so lucky to have a picture perfect day. At 5200 feet, Hurricane Ridge visitors' center was perched atop a steep ravine facing the crown jewels of the Olympics with Mt. Olympus and its blue glacier clearly visible. We took a nature hike with a park ranger and played a game called: "Can I eat this?" as we inspected various meadow plants. It was so interesting and informative, and you will be glad to know that I correctly guessed all but one of the plants you could eat. Now I know what to put in a salad if I want to cause Bob "distress". During the hike, the ranger identified signs of the wildlife that inhabit the sub-alpine region including the telltale bark-less spots on the alpine spruce and fir trees where bears scratched their itch or retrieved sap with their claws. We also came upon a huge buck, chewing his cud and calmly resting in a glade unfazed by the interlopers into his world. During our time at the top of this world, the clouds began gathering on the flanks and over the top of the mountains and by the time we left, the mountains were all but obscured. It was a sobering reminder how conditions can change from one minute to the next on the mountains.
Roadie was exhausted from playing frisbee all day, taking a walk, and staring down the cows and we had a lovely dinner with Carin and Graham. Thanks to Uncle Joe for making the introduction to this fun, active couple!