Weekend on the Olympic Peninsula

My friends and I were planning a camping trip over a long weekend in mid-July. But when the time came around for making concrete plans, the idea of a "stay-cation" had taken hold, and I ended up going by myself.

I headed out in the pouring down rain on Friday morning. Drove to our planned campground - Sol Duc Hot Springs campground. No reservations offered, but I thought I had a chance since I left early. But turns out they had been full since the day before. I headed back towards Port Angeles. All the campgrounds I checked were also full. I started envisioning staying at a nice hotel, but when I inquired at Heart O the Hills campground, at the base of Hurricane Ridge, turns out there were lots of campsites.

That turned out better than I had planned, since I wanted to try to get some pictures of sunset on Hurricane Ridge, which overlooks the Olympic mountains and Elwha river valley.

The campsite was nice – in general those in Heart O the Hills were smaller and spaced further apart than those at other campgrounds. The downside was that for almost the entire time I was there, it was enveloped in a cloud - if I drove up or down from the campsite: sunshine. In the camp: mist and rain. (Perhaps that's a reason why it wasn't full.)

It also had an Elderberry bush where birds feasted in the morning and evening.

On Saturday, I drove up the Elwha River road to where it was closed (due to flooding), and walked into the Glines Canyon overlook to see where one of the dams had been removed. (Starting in October, people will be able to drive to the overlook, but it was a pretty walk.)


Later that evening I drove up to Hurricane Ridge again. I had thought I might try taking pictures of the stars, but I was tired, and it was going to take too much time for it to become dark. Maybe next time I'll camp up at Hurricane Ridge and be able to catch the stars. (With very, very warm clothes - it's cold up there!)

That cloud cover is where I'm camping - it finally broke up on my last night.

The two evenings I was up on Hurricane Ridge, this deer slowly walked by everyone with a camera and carefully posed for photos.

On Sunday, I drove to the Dungeness Spit for a short visit.

I decided not to do the 5-mile hike out to the lighthouse - some other time.

Yup - more deer.

I watched a Pigeon Guillemot swim back and forth with a fish in its mouth.

Finally two others appeared (presumably teens.) The first one dove down and dropped the fish, the new ones dove down and one grabbed it - I assume it's how they learn to fish.

A few bald eagles watched from the bluffs.


Headed on home - the trip was too short!