Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Heather Park Trail 01

Photos in the clouds.

In mid-September I decided to take a day hike.

I was living in Port Angeles, WA at the time, and the weather was nice, so why not?

Down low, at the trailhead, the day was chilly – frigid even, but sunny. Things looked good.

The trail begins at the very northernmost edge of Olympic National Park, which abuts the city of Port Angeles, and at that point the whole trail is secluded in forest.

So, no matter how sunny the day was, the trip up was freezing cold.

Even though I was sweating while huffing my way up the trail, my hands and head were freezing.

Slow as I am, I finally caught on, and pulled gloves and a fuzzy cap out of my pack.

Then I continued huffing and sweating. A gray-haired woman passed me and eventually pulled so far ahead that I lost sight of her.

I kept snorting and snuffling, huffing and puffing, and finally made it to Heather Park, which is a sort of tilted meadow with a small stream running through it. After a break and some sightseeing I pushed on, headed for the top. After a while I met the gray-haired woman again. She was headed back down, after spending at least an hour up on the ridge. So much for my ego.

From Heather Park it's still a slog to get to the barren and open ridge on top of the mountains, but it's fun. To the north there are views of the cities of Port Angeles, Sequim, and Victoria B.C., around 20 miles off on the southern edge of Vancouver Island.

To the west, you see more mountains. To the east you get views of peaks, and a glimpse or two of Klahhane Ridge, which leads south to the national park visitor center and Hurricane Ridge.

But this day, the action was all in the sky. After a rest and a sandwich, I was ready to do more exploring than I had time for when I came through on a backpacking trip earlier in the season.

But that was about the time that the clouds began rolling in. And rolling is the right word. The clouds came charging, tumbling, and rolling in from the southeast (the route that most weather follows there), and before long I was in the clouds, which came and went according to their own whims and wiles, while a mile below me the sun still shone brightly.

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