We had been waiting for the weather to warm up a bit before visiting Hurricane Ridge, which lies at an elevation of 5242 feet in Olympic National Park. After returning from Alaska we decided to head up to view Hurricane Ridge for the first time.
It was drizzly down at sea level, but we'd been told that weather in the mountains was often different than in the lower areas. We started in the rain, but things soon turned foggy.
We passed through a few tunnels as we continued up.
And finally, we broke out of the clouds and fog and saw blue skies and sunshine up top.
At the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center we found plenty of snow plowed up alongside the parking lot. It was about twenty degrees cooler up top as well!
Most of the trails were still closed, but we took a short walk. We saw an Olympic Marmot almost immediately. The Olympic Marmot is found only on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington so we felt lucky to see one.
It was still pretty cold for many birds to be up at this elevation, but we did see a couple. The Gray Jays in the Pacific NW have dark caps on their heads that birds in the Rocky Mountains don't. We were a little confused by this bird until we discovered this information in our field guide.
Dark-eyed Juncos were by far the most common birds. They don't seem to mind the snow one bit.
Our favorite find was this Townsend's Warbler. Not to many colorful birds up here right now!
We plan to head back up to Hurricane Ridge a little later this summer to do more hiking.
Next: More of Alaska!