As much as we can try and document certain places for the benefit of others to enjoy (or for ourselves to remember later), photos often fail to convey the beauty and thrill of an experience. I think a view might be better appreciated when you work for it by hiking miles or straight up a side of a mountain – it’s a reward. But let’s talk about this view! I loved this sunset hike on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. In a last minute change of schedule, we decided to drive here for the sunset rather than hiking the ridge in the morning, mostly because we wanted to participate in the stargazing program after sundown. Aside from a few other people, we felt like we were the only ones on the mountain and that is still a thrilling thing to experience for city folks like us. With snow capped mountain ranges on one side and miles of Alpine valleys on the other, it feels like you’re in another world, remote and peaceful.
Speaking of which, I do feel like our world has expanded now that the girls are older and able to hike distances. I think they understand that feeling of accomplishment now too. I was saying to Mark, however, that we’re at a “golden period” where the girls are old enough to take on more physically taxing adventures and we’re still young enough to tackle them ourselves. I was sort of joking, but let’s not kid ourselves – those random aches and pains from (presumably) getting older are happening more frequently. With my back issues, I don’t take anything for granted and hope to enjoy many more hikes to more remote places now that the girls can take this on.
The sunset on the ridge that night wasn’t the most dramatic (not a cloud in the sky), but the sweeping expanse of horizon gave us the most beautiful gradation of colors. We were lucky that we got such a clear night, and the unfortunate forest fires (which we could see in the distance) gave us fiery red bands near the horizon that lasted what seemed like hours when the sun dipped down out of sight.
We stayed until it was dark enough for the stars to emerge, and with the absence of lights of any kind on Hurricane Ridge, you can see the Milky Way, which is incredible to see with the naked eye. The astronomy program also brought in a huge telescope that allowed us to see Saturn and some constellations. It was the first time the girls truly understood what a starry night was and for these city kids, the sky that night was all magic.