Port Angeles, Olympic Peninsula

Cruising around the Olympic Peninsula

The first thing we did when Sidney and I got to Port Angeles was pick up a picnic lunch and head up to Hurricane Ridge. Though laden with tourists and Jack restricted to the parking lot, it was a spectacular place. In mid-June, we were surprised to see all the mountain peaks covered with snow. The operative word here is peak, as the mountains were knife-edge ridges bidding only the most fearless hikers onto the trails. The scenery was so Swiss, you expected Heidi to come wandering over the ridge with her goats. Instead we had Alpine Jack as our model.

After we found a place to spend the night, we took off for Sol Duc, an area near Crescent Lake, with hot springs and a 3/4 mile hike to a waterfall. We left around 5 expecting a few hour jaunt before dinner. At the hot springs, once again Jack wasn't allowed on the trail and we left him napping while we took off for the waterfall. The trail head said 3 miles, but believing the guide book's 3/4 mile, we gamely took off.

The area was rain forest and it was stunning!

We hiked and we hiked and after a while we began to believe the sign at the start of the trail. This was not going to be 3/4 mile but 3 miles there and 3 miles back. But by then, we had gone so far, we couldn't give up. After what must have been 2 3/4 miles we came to a large stream running over the path, with a drop-off of about 20 feet on one side and mountain on the other. The risk of crossing a slippery stream and ending up over the edge, splat on the rocks below was too great so, reluctantly, we turned back.

You can imagine Jack's joy when we got back. We hiked down a road and gave Jack a chance to have some fun. The next day we learned that the salmon were running in the river where Jack was standing in the shallows! When we got to the car, we realized that there was more road, and a few miles up, there was the sign, .75 miles to Falls. Oh. Off we went, this time in the company of Jack. The falls were beautiful and a little alarming. The rocks forced the river into a narrow chasm and enormous flow of water dropped about 50 feet. You viewed all this from a little bridge hanging over the falls. Jack thought we were nuts to go out there, but it was a stunning sight. No picture as it was almost dark by then and from the little bridge, it was impossible to encompass the scene.

We didn't get back to Port Angeles until a quarter to 10 and everywhere we went, the restaurants were closing and for a bit, we thought no dinner for us! Help! Finally a lovely Indian place on the waterfront, welcomed us in and the whole staff sat at a table enjoying themselves while we ate dinner. What nice people and the dinner was wonderful! The next day we drove to Beach 3.

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No unauthorized reproduction. Thank you. Text by Nan. Photos Copyright ©2002 Nan Hamilton