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20110801 A gold medal for the Olympic Peninsula

A few weeks ago some of the girls suggested a weekend on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, hiking, biking and generally having a good time. We thought this a great idea and signed up. After much prompting the Irish faffing champions couldn’t get it together so Angie and I headed down on our own.

With the dollar over par avoiding border line-ups has become a tactical game. This time we were up and 5am on Saturday and on the road by 6. It was worth it though with only a 25min wait to get through. Down at the Coupeville ferry very low tides had caused chaos though, so rather than waiting hours we got a reservation and headed off to explore nearby Coupeville, which turned out to be lovely and had a great farmers’ market.

1 - coupeville pier2 - kayaks

After an early afternoon ferry across we spent the afternoon lazing in picturesque Port Townsend :

27 - pt townsend from ferry

At the nearby beach there was a wooden kayak meet with some beautiful hand-made boats:

4 - kayak bows

5 - wooden kayaks

6 - wooden kayaks 2

In uptown Port Townsend we came across their equivalent of OCB in a garden.

3 - OCB pt townsend

The had the biggest road bike I’ve seen in a long time for sale, a vintage 67cm Cannondale. It would have been perfect for Conor or Kev!

Sunday morning was grey, wet and cloudy. Not at all promising for our planned alpine hike. Driving up Hurricane Ridge in the fog and mist we were expecting to turn around and the top and come back down again, when just a couple of km from the top we burst out into sunshine and a spectacular inversion!

       7 - hurricane ridge flowersWe decide to hike along towards Klahanie Ridge and see where it took us. Along the way the retreating mist had left bejewelled plants:

8 - bejewelled

Lots of deer along the way, including this family:

9 - bambi

Further along we took an interesting looking left fork, which took us up towards Mt.Angeles:

 10 - angie mt angeles_

As we were so close, we thought we may as well climb it. Now we just had to figure a way up through the scree:

11 - angie scree

A couple of wrong turns and retreats later we found the right way and scrambled onto the summit:

  13 - angie mt angeles summit

Spectacular views all around:

12 - inversion

Still only just above the mist:14 - summit view

Obligatory summit shot:

15 - paul angie summit

Coming back the mist was still clinging to the ridgeline, giving some spectacular “God rays”:

16 - god rays

Why didn’t we bring bikes?

 17 - perfect singletrack

Angie on the ridge, heading home:

 18 - angie ridge

Looking down at the Hurricane Ridge road, where tomorrow we would ride:

19 - hurricane ridge road

Washington State or the French Alps? Hard to tell:

20 - the alps-

Back down at sea level the sun came out so we headed out to nearby Dungeness Spit:

21 - mtns from spitYou can walk almost 5 miles out along the spit to the lighthouse at the end. We didn’t.

22 - dungeoness spit

 23 -angie beach walk

It may be almost August, but Angie still had her down jacket on on the beach:

24 - angie on log

 25 - paul angie on log


26 - angie on log 2

Next day was what we had really come for, riding up Hurricane Ridge, one of the biggest road climbs in the PNW.

If you are going to ride up, you may as well start at the bottom, the very bottom:

     31 - starting on beach

Altitude 0m

32 - altitude 0

It’s a looooong way up

 33 - angie climbing

Only a couple of km to go, the old gal’s still going strong!34 - angie near top

   Me coming in to the finish:37 - paul climbing 

38 - paul climbing 2

That’s it. 1572m and 32km of climbing

35 - finish altitude


36 - bikers at finish

What goes up must come down:

39 - angie descending

All that remained was to enjoy the trip back. Mt. Rainier was clear in the evening light from the ferry:

28 - rainier

We stopped off at Deception Pass to look at the beaches::


29 - deception pass beach

and bridge:

30 - deception pass bridge


The only spoiler was an hour and half wait to get back into Canada, but well worth it for such a spectacular weekend!


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