Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Photos Speak for Themselves

Sunrise Ridge Trail

Hurricane Ridge


Olympic Marmot

Alpine Beauty

These are all from our last full day on vacation and were taken in the subalpine region near Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Lets just say it was a terrific vacation. We probably crammed way too much into one week. Drove 1300 miles. Hiked 36 miles. Had some wildlife encounters (including multiple bears).

Dealing with that first week back to work is always the worst, although a light schedule and my fellow physicists made it easier this time. We had a lot of adventures. Great times!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

It's Always Something...

Now that I can breathe a sigh of relief about the national parks being open during my vacation, I found an even bigger problem with my travel plans: SNOW!!! Since the trip is days away, I started checking trail reports. I did not anticipate that nearly every trail I want to hike would still be covered by a thick layer of snow in August. Apparently the Pacific Northwest got record amounts of snowfall last winter, which has failed to melt in the usual timeframe. The higher elevation trails are either impassible, impossible to reach because the roads are also snowed under, or both. Lower elevation trails can be challenging due to fallen trees and high flow creeks and streams due to melting runoff. The net result will be that we have to modify where we visit and will probably not get to do nearly as much hiking as I had hoped for. PDM might prefer this arrangement, but I am disappointed that I won't get to walk through an alpine meadow filled with wildflowers and surrounded by beautiful mountains (unless I can find one that isn't under several feet of snow).

I am also a bit concerned that with far fewer places to spread out, the crowds might be much larger than what we'd prefer (we would rather not have ANY company on a trail other than plants and wildlife of the type that doesn't eat people). Still looking through my books and guides for creative alternatives, and hoping that our innkeepers will be able to point us toward paths less traveled, or maybe the park rangers will have some suggestions. But I am still astounded that my August vacation plans are all shot to hell because of snowpack. That just amazes me - and never crossed my mind when planning this trip.