Hurricane Hill (Mar 20, 2011)

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hurricane_hill_coverConditions: Snowshoe
Gear: Snowshoes
Map: USGS Mount Olympus
Area: Olympic National Park
Reference: Snowshoe Routes Washington
Stats: 4.94mi, 1279' gain (round trip)

Stefan put out the call to see if anyone was interested in a trip. I bit. The plan was to head over to Mount Angeles (out of Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park). Twas just the two of us. Weather looked like it was going to be good, though cold.

I met Stefan at a small parking area (P&R?) just before the Hood Canal Bridge. We jockeyed gear and headed toward Port Angeles and the park. The road up to Hurricane Ridge was open (check conditions, sometimes it's closed due to snow). As we drove up the road conditions weren't' improving. They weren't bad...there were blue skies out there...just that Mt Angeles as completely socked in. It's a relatively short trip out there but why waste such a nice trip if there wouldn't be any views?

So we decided to head over to Hurricane Hill and beyond. Conditions were great. Deep snow but a nice track laid out towards Hurricane Hill. From the Visitor Center it's not a long trip out to the top of HH...about 2.5 miles. We got there with plenty of time to spare. Conditions make the hike look like a polar expedition. Everything, trees, exposed rocks...was completely encased in snow or ice. It was a bit windy...we found a nice sheltered area (if there is one) and stopped for a bit to eat. Now what to do...

Stefan suggested heading over to Griff Peak. I was game though not for long. Staying on the ridge wasn't a go with all the snow. So the plan would be to drop into the basin to the NE of Hurricane Hill and traverse over to Griff Peak. Stefan later said probably a good idea I called it quits. Snow was knee deep and the short trip over to Griff took longer than expected. My knees weren't quite ready for steep and soft snow. So I found I nice sheltered spot just east of the HH high point and had a proper lunch. I watched Stefan disappear first into the trees, then into the mist. I waited hoping I'd eventually see him on the flanks of Griff. No luck.

Getting cold...I decided to take a slow hike back to the HHVC. Great hike back! I got back to the warmth of the heated building and left my snowshoes and trekking poles stuck in the snow just outside the building. Stefan eventually came back to the VC and we piled gear back in the car and headed back to the Hood Canal Bridge where my car waited. Shoot...just before arriving at the bridge I remembered where my snowshoes and trekking poles were...and they weren't in the car! It was a quick message to BeeCee who lives in PA asking if she wouldn't mind picking them up for me the next day. She was glad to do the favor and even dropped them off nearby in Seattle when she was visiting later that week :)

Fun trip. Beautiful, beautiful snow...

More information on the lookout: An L-4 cab was built in the 1930's and destroyed in 1960.
Hurricane Hill Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright 2013 Janet M. Putz
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