On any given summer day, the options of where to go and what to see in Washington State can be overwhelming. There are the Olympic Mountains and Pacific Ocean and Hoh Rain Forest in the far west. Then, there are the Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound and Mt Baker and Mt Rainer and Mt St. Helens that run along Interstate 5. Then, in Eastern Washington, there are the lakes and rivers.
As a child, I spent a lot of time in nature with my dad and brother. We would do days-long hikes in the forest and sleep in tents and cook using the camp fire and see all kinds of wildlife, even bears! When I was in middle school, we even climbed a real mountain with real climbing gear like crampons and ice picks and then slid down on our butts. You could say I was a bit of tom boy and loved every second of it.
I grew up in Kingston along the Puget Sound in the Western region of the state and therefore spent most of my time outdoors in the Olympic Mountains due to their close proximity. The Olympic Mountains are not the tallest mountains around. In fact, the tallest peak is only almost 8,000 feet high. However, the mountains are known for their heavily forested foothills and deep valleys. They are perfect for hiking and biking and horseback riding and known for their amazing views.
One of the easiest ways to really see the Olympics is actually a trip to Hurricane Ridge, which is near Port Angeles [no Twilight comments, please]. Hurricane Ridge is situated in the eastern most region of the mountain range and provides a perfect vantage point of the rest of the range at more than 5000 feet high. It is a harrowing drive to the top of the range with narrow, winding roads and a thousand-foot drop off the side of a cliff. However, from the top, on a beautiful day, you can look right to left and see the peaks of most of the mountains that make up the Olympics along with all kinds of wildlife.
Yesterday, we drove the 1.5 hours to Hurricane Ridge so we could bask in the beauty of home and the sunshine.
And also so I could practice my photography. I am two weeks into a five week photography class and these are the first pictures I have ever taken using just the manual setting! There was a lot of mumbling and grumbling and even some swearing but eventually I figured it out enough to snap some photos that were more than just blinding white.