“Our national parks are blood.  They are more than scenery, they are portals and thresholds of wonder. . . Whenever I go to a national park, I meet the miraculous.”
— Terry Tempest Williams, The Hour of Land

We ascended the road to Hurricane Ridge in a cloud.

We ascended the road to Hurricane Ridge in a cloud.

“What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness?  Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.”
— G. M. Hopkins, from “Inversnaid”

Sign at the Hurricane Ridge Visitors' Center

Sign at the Hurricane Ridge Visitors’ Center

We began our tour of the national parks with a 3-day loop drive around Olympic National Park in Washington State.  This is a most amazing park because of the diversity of its landscapes — from snow-capped mountains to temperate rain forests to Pacific ocean beaches.

Our first destination was Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains.  Clouds had settled at the higher elevations.  There was little opportunity for sightseeing, as we looked out on nothing but white!

Our view of the Olympic peaks was a bust!

Our view of the Olympic peaks was a bust!

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This wet and gloomy weather is one of the hallmarks of our Pacific Northwest.  When you vacation here, you have to surrender to the elements.  We soldiered on to our next destination, the Hoh Rain Forest, thinking that rain in a rain forest might make a more authentic experience.  But, of course, it was not raining when we got there!

Still, the effects of rain were evident everywhere — moss-drapped trees, green green streams, nurse logs nourishing new growth, filtered light.  We walked the Hall of Mosses Trail and the Spruce Loop Trail.  The tall trees were awesome.

Driving into the Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park

Driving into the Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park

Tall, tall trees

Tall, tall trees

Along the Hall of Mosses Trail

Along the Hall of Mosses Trail

Nurse log, a fallen tree that nourishes new, young trees

Nurse log, a fallen tree that nourishes new, young trees

Green stream bed

Green stream bed

Spruce Loop Trail

Spruce Loop Trail

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way
by Mary Oliver, from Felicity

If you’re John Muir you want trees to
live among.  If you’re Emily, a garden
will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.

When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

Anything that touches.

God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable.  But holiness is visible,
entirely.

Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.

In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.

All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.

To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.

For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest.  What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!

Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.

The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

 

 

 

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“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
— John Muir

Looking out at the Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

Looking out at the Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

My niece is visiting from Israel, and her top sightseeing priorities are some of the American national parks.  So we took a two-day, 500-mile road trip circumnavigating Olympic National Park in Washington State.  You can get to different parts of the park from inroads along Hwy 101, and our destinations offered extraordinary natural diversity, from mountains, to rain forests, to ocean beaches.

Our first stop was Hurricane Ridge high in the Olympic Mountains.  But first we crossed the Sound in a ferry, and then drove through some pretty amazing scenery just to get to the winding road that would take us from sea level to nearly a mile in elevation at Hurricane Ridge.

Field of daisies near Sequim, WA

Field of daisies near Sequim, WA

"I see the wild flowers, in their/summer morn/Of beauty, feeding on joy's/lucious hours."  -- John Clare, from "Summer Images"

“I see the wild flowers, in their/summer morn/Of beauty, feeding on joy’s/luscious hours.” — John Clare, from “Summer Images”

Old ruin along Hwy 101 near Sequim

Old ruin along Hwy 101 near Sequim

The winding road to Hurricane Ridge

The winding road to Hurricane Ridge

The view from Hurricane Ridge is awesome, with majestic, snow-capped peaks as far as the eye could see.  We ate a picnic breakfast amidst some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere, joined by a curious (and smart, crumb-seeking) bird.  The meadows at the top were beginning to emerge from snowfields, and they were covered with tiny yellow flowers.

Parking lot at Hurricane Ridge

Parking lot at Hurricane Ridge

Mountain view

Mountain view

Picnic breakfast

Picnic breakfast

Avian friend

Avian friend

Snow-capped peaks

Snow-capped peaks

Melting snow

Melting snow

Scavenging raven (lovely feathers)

Scavenging raven (lovely feathers)

Motorcycle riders (I rarely go to a national park without seeking motocyclists)

Motorcycle riders (I rarely go to a national park without seeing motorcyclists)

My next post will be a continuation of our road trip. . . stay tuned!