Mount Olympus – what a great name. Sounds strong and majestic. It does not disappoint. Olympus and its five glaciers are at the core of the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park in Washington state. The national park maintains plenty of trails that lead to and fro through this wilderness at 5000 feet. I wonder if any of them lead to the glaciers…? Not that I’d ever do it. I don’t mind a little adventure, but not on this scale. I am quite content with a leisurely 17 mile drive through the cloud cover to Hurricane Ridge to view Mount Olympus and its surroundings. The guide books promised it would be spectacular, and I concur!
Arriving mid-June to several feet of snow, the roads were only open to traffic up to the snack bar and gift shop at the start of the ridge. The road beyond was plowed but not yet open for vehicular traffic. Hiking – yes. Cars – no. We started to hike down the road, then thought better of it because we really couldn’t see past the snow drifts anyway. We returned to the welcome center just in time to see two black tailed deer entertaining the small crowd that had braved the fog like us.
After gawking at the beauty of clouds floating through snowy mountains, it’s time to taste the local wine. Next stop: Olympic Cellars. Not a very imaginative name, but conveniently located right on the main road (route 101), with welcoming grounds and about 15 wines to choose from. I was tempted to buy some of the local foods available for pairing, but settled for a bottle of shiraz and some small gifts to take home to friends and family. We wanted to check out some other wineries but the ferry in Port Townsend was calling our names. And we made it just in time. We hadn’t considered making a reservation (I know, silly, right?). My first experience on the car ferry was welcomed with a little stress as we waited for the staff to determine if our rental would fit on board. Alas – we made it on with the last 10 cars and were on our way to Whidbey Island…ready to return to the Olympic Peninsula to explore another day…
Want to know the impact of these mountains holding back the clouds on their easterly journey from the Pacific Ocean? Check out day 2 of this amazing road trip.
I’m glad you came along for the journey. Did you like it? Please comment below to let me know your thoughts!