Spring Hike on Hurricane Hill A Six photo Story

All photos and content copyright Brenda J Pederson

May 2016

The Pacific Northwest offers unlimited opportunity to experience nature as often and as deeply as you'd like. With majestic mountains, miles of ocean coastline, lakes, rivers, deserts, rain forests, and fertile valleys there’s something for every taste.

Spring flowers starting to bloom. This lupine is tiny but gorgeous.

Some seasons require a hardy disposition to deal with rain or snow, but once the calendar turns to June the weather is more likely to cooperate with outdoor plans. Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park is a favorite spring destination. In June or early July, spring flowers emerge as the snow melts, covering the slopes with delicate, yet hardy, blossoms.

Olympic marmots are only found in and around the Olympic National Forest. If you want to know what makes them different from other marmots, I'll let you do the reading. ;-) I will tell you that they are pretty big - with stubby little legs. The remind me of a beaver except the tail is wrong. But the teeth are pretty big! They mainly eat vegetation and these two, along with a few others on this hill, were munching along like a bunch of cows in a pasture. Apparently, however, the marmot on its back did somethng wrong, because the other one ran over, chomped on the back of it's neck, which led to the smaller one yelling "uncle"* and rolling over on it's back. A few minutes later the big one took another one down in the same manner. Apparently this is the alpha male..... Humans don't really bother these guys that much. If you approach them they may disappear into their tunnels. On the other hand, there was another along the trail that I stopped to take a photo of and every time I snapped a shot he moved a little closer until he was sort of coming at me. I decided I didn't want to stick around to see if he was curious or angry! Besides the big teeth they have very substantial claws. ;-/ *For my non-American friends, "crying uncle" means you give up. ;-)
Olympic Marmot, a species found only in Olympic National Park enjoying the spring weather.

The Hurricane Hill hike, which starts about 1.5 miles past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, is a pleasant, 3-mile round-trip, with panoramic views along the way. Some sections are a little steep but mostly it’s a gradual incline suitable for all ages. Early in the season snow may cover parts of the trail.

This raven invited himself to lunch.

You are nearly guaranteed to see wildlife. Deer roam freely; Olympic Marmots graze or faux-box with each other; raptors and other birds are plentiful. Many are tolerant of humans and some, like the deer, will try to join your picnic.

The highest point on the Hurricane Hill trail on Hurricane Ridge.

Arriving at the top of the trail, you're rewarded with panoramic views of mountains; Port Angeles, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island are way below; forest-covered, rolling hills surround you.

Forest and mountains as far as the eye can see.

After your hike, stop at one of the picnic sites you'll find along the road back down the mountain. Many of them have incredible views, too, and the food will taste just a little better than normal.

See more Six Photo Stories.

Created By
Brenda Pederson
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All content and photos copyright © Brenda J Pederson

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