When my oldest son Ford was little we spent many days hiking in the Olympic Mountains. Back then it was easy to do it, in the early 2000’s. No needing reservations on the ferry across the Salish Sea from the island to Port Townsend. The area was a lot quieter with a lot less people, and the ferry boats are smaller as well now. When we moved back to Whidbey Island I got to learn that impulsive trips were not going to happen like they had in the past.
And we ended up not going to the Olympic Peninsula for 16 months, try as we might. Finally, we had positive weather and ferry reservations, and headed over. Walker and Alistaire had never been to this part of the Olympic National Park so I got to relive it. We stopped at the visitor center in Port Angeles, and the boys explored the displays. I noticed a sign for a discovery room down a hallway and followed it….and found a huge room for children. How I hadn’t known about this I don’t know. Never had anyone mentioned it to me when Ford was little. Maybe I am bolder now and check things out now. We were in the room for nearly 45 minutes and only one other child came in. So it wasn’t just me not knowing!
It has a child sized ranger cabin, full of blankets, pillows and books to read.
A cougar to ride.
Building paths for salmon.
And a whole lot more, plus lots of printed activity sheets.
We drove up to Hurricane Ridge from there, which isn’t a long drive, about 17 miles. It’s a pretty drive and goes fast usually. Because the NP is rebuilding Hurricane Hill trail, at the end of the road, there are many weeks where it is closed. Be sure to look it up. We unfortunately came up during a week when Hill was closed. There is still plenty to do and see. We started off at the visitor center, and the boys got to check out all the things, as well as naming the many peaks. In the years when Ford wasn’t a little boy I never got to enjoy visitor centers and well….it is fun and I usually learn new things.
And there really are a lot of peaks out there……and also a distinct lack of snow this year. I look at the Olympic Mountains from our house and it has been bare much of the year.
As soon as we started hiking, the winds picked up and the clouds started going over us.
But walking in the clouds is nice in summer. It dampens the noise, and makes you feel as if you are in the heart of the wilderness, and not in the front country.
If you look at it, you will see a face about half way down, with a long arm and fingers. Or maybe it is just me that sees it!
The clouds were coming in two separate ways, like the tide rolling in.
We walked up and down the network of local trails in the front country, sometimes getting views, but when that failed, just look down to the ground for other views.
It was nice to take the boys to a place they had never been and see it from their eyes.
America the Beautiful Pass or entry fee required. Weekends are busy in summer – going on a weekday as we did allows for less crowds.