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After a week of gorgeous weather here in Seattle we were looking forward to go dayhiking at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park on Friday. However the weather had different plans. Not wanting to battle high winds and possible snow we retreated to a lower elevation trail which leads into the park. We picked the Upper Dungeness River trail. It primarily travels next to the river and is sheltered by old growth. We decided to hike into Camp Handy which is about 3.5 miles up the trail.
Camp Handy still has one of the old fashion trail shelters which used to dot the Olympics. At one time there was over a 100 shelters. Now due to different forest/wilderness management practices, vandalism, and lack of resources ($) there are only about 30 or so left.
As we hiked up the gentle trail we got to look at all the different types of mosses, fungess, ferns and mushrooms which grow in this very wet enviroment. Ironically this part of the forest is called the dry side because it is in the "rainshadow" of the Olympics. It only gets about 50 inches of rain a year compared to the west side which gets considerably more.
The trail gains about 600 ft over 3.5 miles but given the down pour we were happy to make the shelter. As we cooked lunch the sky cleared for a short time and we got to see the snow covered peaks which surround the valley. The sun was short lived and as we packed up the rain started to come down again.
We made pretty good time to the car as the trail was all down hill. The weather kept the crowds away and we only saw two people the whole day. This can be a very busy trail during the summer. The temp began dropping as we hiked out and it started spitting snow when we got back to the car. Overall a great trip for a very rainy day.
On a side note. Make sure you double check you gear for cotton/poly blends. I had a shirt I wore on summer trips summer which I used as a base layer on this trip. Because of how it looked and dried during the summer I assumed it had no cotton in it. Big mistake, I was soaking wet after a half hour of hiking. When I finally changed my shirt I looked at the tag and discovered it was 45 percent cotton. Total rookie move. I am glad I had packed other clothes. I felt pretty stupid telling my wife and nine year old after drilling it into their heads not to bring anything cotton on hiking trips. I have some pictures of the trip which I will upload later.