The Olympic National Park
Hurricane Ridge is a mountainous region in the Olympic National Park that overlooks Port Angeles and the adjacent Pacific Ocean. Only 30 minutes from town, the road climbs from sea level to over 5,000 feet (1,600 m) where there is an average of over 400 inches of snow fall a year.
Terry and I jumped at the opportunity to join a school group to spend a day floating over the 70 + inches of snow currently on the trails. Our fellow adventure seekers are primarily foreign students from China, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Our fun was enhanced by their enthusiasm to see so much deep snow and unique scenery.
Snowshoes have been used for 4,000 to 6,000 years. The equipment we rented is for the same purpose but is definitely from modern times as we had polished aluminum, plastic, and composites shoes rather than the hide, sinew, and wood of the classic models. Hurricane Ridge turns out to be almost as active in the winter (although only open Friday through Sunday) as it is in the summer.
Chains are often required for the trip, but we had no issues and enjoyed the van ride joking with our fellow students, even though most are younger than our kids. Terry even knew a few of their songs! The mountain top visitor center hosts a small ski area with a tow rope, an overflowing parking lot and miles of snowshoeing trails.
Thankfully snowshoeing is easier to learn than other winter sports (I am pointing my finger at you ice skating and downhill skiing!) and after adjusting a few straps we were plodding and darting across the snow. Effective traction plates makes climbing steep hillsides a breeze. You are only limited by your lungs, nerves, or sense of good judgement.
Our group started out together up the Hurricane Hill Trail. Soon we lost sight of our fast contingent of the NWAC Champion Female Soccer team. During stops for water or photo opportunities we were approached by fluttering Camp Robbers (Gray Jays).
These beautiful birds were cute enough that I hardly minded that Terry fed them most of my peanut butter sandwich. A great day was had by all. On the return trip the quiet bus full of sleeping Peninsula College students was proof positive that although snowshoeing is fun, it is also hard work!
And below is a short video of the trip
Have you ever gone snowshoeing? Did you enjoy it? We’d love to know some of your favorite spots. Thanks for reading!