Into The Great Wide Open, Under Them Skies Of Blue

September 7, 2019

Tom Petty surely didn’t have hiking in the Pacific Northwest in mind when he penned those words, yet I can’t help but sing them to myself when I reach a vista point or clearing after trudging up, Up and UP!!!

Last month Handsome Hubby and I took a ferry from Edmonds to Kingston, drove the hour plus to Port Angeles and eventually arrived to Deer Park Campground at 5,400 foot elevation in the Olympic Mountains after motoring along a nine mile unpaved road.  In spite of it being late summer and a Tuesday, we got the last camping spot!!  We were nestled in the trees, though only a few steps away our Wide Open views were phenomenal!!!  And when next day we hiked to Blue Mountain we beheld in panorama, several Olympic peaks, Port Angeles and the surrounding “shipping lanes” within the Strait of Juan de Fuca which is the Salish Sea’s outlet to the Pacific Ocean.  “Awe” – some!  We also hiked the Obstruction Point trail giving us even more elevation gain to 6,125 feet.  The trail is rated “difficult” and between that (translation – very steep and up, up, up) and my lung’s inexperience with exertion minus the customary oxygen availability, well, we made it in 3 1/2 miles of the 7 1/2 before turning around.  I like to challenge myself and frankly, I was kind of surprised at my whimp factor, but some days are just like that.  It was a Gorgeous day though and a wonderful adventure, rewarded by delicious camp food and fires, courtesy of Camp Rock Star, Bill, enjoyable tent sleeping and even visits both evenings we were there by a sweet little deer who hung with us for a bit!

Besides enjoying amazing weather, incredible views, our usual joys of camping, the immense Old Growth trees, verdant flora and sporadic fauna – we met Caretaker Donavan and were invited into his tiny abode with stories of Deer Park’s History.  In the 1950’s this location was home to a small ski resort with a rope tow.  In fact, a book has been written with these facts, the author happened to visit while we were there and we received a signed copy!  I am looking forward to reading it soon!

“For nine kinds of plants and 20 animals, the Olympic Peninsula is a very special place. It is their only home––the only place in the world you can find them. Species limited to a specific area are called endemics and are often concentrated on islands, land that has remained in absolute isolation for a long time. Why are there so many endemics in Olympic’s high places, like on Blue Mountain?  No place in the world outside of the Olympic Peninsula can you see the Olympic chipmunk, Flett’s violet, the Olympic torrent salamander, or any of the region’s other endemics.” (nps.gov)

On the way out and home, we stopped at Dungeness Spit, a place we have both heard of all of our lives but have never been to.  And it was at sea level!!  Dungeness Spit is a 6.8-mile long sand spit jutting out from the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is the longest natural sand spit in the United States and it is entirely within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.  There is also a lighthouse which is one of the oldest in the Northwest operating continuously since 1857.  And the Old Growth we saw in the Olympic National Forest?  We saw Humungous Old Growth driftwood!!!  So Much Driftwood!  And rock cairns and lovely stones smoothed by years of the lapping and tumbling currents.  When we arrived home, we watched the sun set over the very same Olympic Mountain range we had just been in!!! What a Terrific, spur of the moment three day trip!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. ourcrossings says:

    Wow, your photos look absolutely amazing and I don’t think I have ever seen a place more beautiful and diverse than Olympic National Park! It’s one of the places I would love to visit one day 😀

    Like

    1. robbidenman says:

      Thanks – and honestly, those iPhone pics taken by this amateur DON’T EVEN DO JUSTICE to the immensity of the views and the beauty!! I have lived in the PNW most of my life and have been to Port Angeles a few times as well as to Lake Quinault Lodge for a weekend, but this was my first visit for hiking. For sure make time for it on your list!! The high altitude in the breathing factor was very noticeable for me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ourcrossings says:

        You live in such a beautiful corner of the world, can’t wait to see more of it trough your posts and photos because there’s certain magic when it comes to PNW region.

        Like

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