Sunday 23rd Oct 2016 I was at a loose end. I phoned Olympic National Park information line 360-565-3131 at 8 am to get the weather report … “34*F, no peaks and valleys visible, South winds 17 mph, road wet”.
Didn’t sound too good but I considered that it might improve by midday and a bit of sport could be had.
Some snow had fallen at high elevations over the previous two weeks of abysmal weather but I fancied an attempt on Mt. Angeles, 6454 ft (which I’d done several times over the years).
I dressed accordingly for cold weather jogging which included track suit bottoms and three thin layers on my torso plus a lightweight windproof, beanie hat and gloves. I carried a pack with 1 quart of water and some snacks.
I set off from the Hurricane Hill visitor center car park, 5242 ft, in light drizzle and low cloud along Sunrise Ridge around noon. The trail is well defined with plenty of elevation changes. North facing slopes were covered in a couple of inches of slushy snow/ice mix which necessitated some care. After a couple of miles a climbers way trail branches to the left that leads up steep ground which eventually gives access to a WSW gully that leads to Mt. Angeles’ summit. Even in Summer it requires some simple scrambling, especially at the summit.
The drizzle ceased and occasionally the fog-like cloud would lift to reveal vistas. Ascending steeper terrain through the trees I could only hike; too steep to jog, and soon entered snow covered meadows and lost all definition of the trail.
I plodded on by instinct and found my way to the rocky entrance of the WSW gully system. I scrambled higher into the gully proper but found myself in well-above ankle deep snow and no visibility higher.
I called it quits and descended to a rock at the base to eat a snack before returning to my car. I’d only been on the go for a little over one hour. The weather looked a little gloomy but my spirits were fine.
I jogged most of the way back and sat on a block to have second lunch with a friendly Raven who seemed to like a few crumbs of my PBJ sandwich. It was only just after 2 pm, too early to stop for the day so I decided on another jog that would be a little less demanding … Hurricane Hill, 5757 ft.
I’d cooled down having second lunch and needed to get warm from jogging along the normal “trade route” that most visitors use to ascend HH. It was quite pleasant, no drizzle, light to medium winds and the clouds lifted to give good views. Mt. Angeles summit was still enshrouded in dark grey clouds though.
I took a few photos pan-wise from HH summit and then jogged all the way back to my car. I was well tired after that and drove down to the plains for a well earned drink. Even though I hadn’t done very much mileage it was significantly arduous because of elevation … and I felt it!