Winding Down Winter

Olympic Peninsula Road Trip

While the skiing was decent in Colorado, the winter in PNW had been warmer than usual, and there’s not much snow on the mountains. Bad for skiing, but good for some hiking and walking around. I picked two days when the weather was nice and drove around the Olympic Peninsula for a short road trip. I’ve been to the Olympic Peninsula in the past, but there were a few places that I still wanted to visit.

View of Lake Crescent from Mount Storm King from the beginning of the rope section.

I started the trip by taking the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston, and then from Kingston got on the US 101 and continued to drive west towards the Pacific Coast. Along the way, I stopped at Lake Crescent, but instead of going the lakeshores, I got on the trail for Mount Storm King. My first hike of the year wasn’t a long one at less than 5 miles total, but it was a pretty good steady climb with some steep areas. I didn’t go all the way to the summit, as the final section with the scramble and ropes was a little too sketchy for me hiking alone. Still got some pretty good views of Lake Crescent and surrounding mountains from the maintained portion of the trail though.

Cape Flattery near sunset time
View to the northwest from Cape Flattery, with the Cape Flattery Lighthouse on a small island, and Vancouver Island further up north in the background.

The next stop was Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point of the contiguous USA (lower 48 states). A short easy trail leads to the actual cape where I saw the sea stacks, the Cape Flattery Lighthouse on an island nearby, and Vancouver Island to the north.

The Hall of Mosses trail in the Hoh Rain Forest area of Olympic National Park certainly lives up to its name. So lush, green and mossy even in the winter.
Playing fetch at Ruby Beach with a random friendly dog.

From Cape Flattery, the trip continued south near the Pacific Coast. I stopped to check out the lush growth in the Hoh Rain Forest within Olympic National Park, and then went back to the coast for Ruby Beach and the Kalaloch Tree of Life, before following US101 to Lake Quinault. Eventually I made it to the Hoquiam/Aberdeen area and took the highway back towards the Puget Sound. It was a short trip, but I saw everything I wanted to see and the weather was great considering the season.

The Tree of Life at Kalaloch showing that life is resilient
World’s Largest Sitka Spruce tree near Lake Quinault. One of the largest trees I’ve seen that is not a coastal redwood or giant sequoia.

Other Outings

My first ski run of the season at Crystal Mountain. Snow wasn’t that good at the beginning. There were two weeks where it was good, and then the good snow was gone again.
Skiing at Snoqualmie early at the season. Practicing those short turns to avoid running into the slower people down the hill.
Holiday party cruise on Lake Union.

Other than the trips, I skied the local mountains for some weekend practice, and went out to the coast for some razor clamming. I also spent some time back in Canada with my family for Chinese New Year.

Second time digging for razor clams on the Washington Coast. A bit tougher than my first outing last year.
Crabbing at Westport, WA. Largest crab I pulled up was this female. Didn’t get any keepers.
First time watching the Seattle Krakens NHL hockey game. It was an entertaining game that went to a shootout.

Overall, it was a busy winter in terms of getting outside. Now it’s back to work and hoping I don’t get fired or laid off. The tech job market isn’t great and layoffs continue even though big tech stocks are at all time highs, so there’s concern there. Of course, I can’t let that bring me down too much. My job is important to me, but it is just a job. For now I’ll try to catch some more ski days as winter winds down. As spring comes around, I’ll probably do the usual and transition into more hiking and clamming outings. Thanks for reading.

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