The Expected and the Unexpected

Trip Start Jun 22, 2010
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Friday, June 24, 2011

Perhaps it was to be expected. We had hoped to get an early start in the morning.  We wanted to hike in Olympic National Park then spend the afternoon and early evening in Seattle before driving to our friend Elizabeth's house. However, it was our first night in a hotel after a week of camping.  We wound up lounging in bed for quite a while before a very late breakfast at a local diner.  Over breakfast I stressed to Mike that I still wanted to check out the Hurricane Ridge area of Olympic National Park. We had seen the snow peaked mountains from the Victoria ferry. I wanted to enjoy a little hiking in closer proximity to the majestic vistas.  It meant less time in Seattle, but Mike agreed.

Hurricane Ridge Road climbed up into the Olympic Mountains. Soon rain began to fall as we ascended higher. Mike slowly navigated the wet, windy roads. Once through the cloud line, the rain ceased.  We rounded a corner and saw a small waterfall flowing down a gully before ending in a pile of snow.  Mike pulled over and we got out of the car. It had been a long time since I felt the crunch of snow beneath my feet.  I have to admit I was expecting to see snow from a distance, but not walk on it and touch it.

At 5200 feet the road closed at the Visitor’s Center. High snow banks flanked the parking lot. The Hurricane Hill trail head was another 1 miles down the closed road. Dressed in our warmest clothes, Mike and I set off down the plowed road.  Breaks in the trees unveiled gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. Just as I was thinking I was surprised that Mike had not thrown any snow balls at me, I turned to see him packing snow in his hands. I ran zigzagging making it harder for him to hit me. I ran the rest of the way to the trailhead only to discover that the trail was still covered with snow. Our boots were waterproof, but the snow was deeper than that.  We realized that we were going to have to cut our hike short.  Fog was rolling over the mountains so at least we would not be missing out on magnificent views.

We drove slowly down the mountain and back through the rain. However, the sun was out when we descended back to Port Angeles. It took us about 2 hours to drive and ferry across to the mainland.  In the northern suburbs of Seattle, we encountered lots of traffic and traffic lights and strip malls. We were back in civilization and a little shell shocked with all the activity. Shortly after five when we finally arrived in downtown. In spite of the later hour, we decided to head to Pike Place Market anyway. Some of the vendors were packing up their crafts, but there was still plenty of seafood, produce, flowers and baked goods to drool over.  We managed to see a little bit of fish throwing and caught the end of a wine tasting.  

Pike Brewing Company, located on the first floor of the market, made it an easy choice for dinner. The eclectic space, filled with thousands of beer related items from all over the world, was filling up quickly. We lucked out with the last table. After a week of brewery dining, I was excited to see that the menu had several items beyond the typical brewery fare. Mike was very impressed with their beer especially the Pike Tandem Double Ale. I inhaled some unexpectedly delicious fresh mussels and broccoli.  With so many brewery options in the Rainy City, we were relieved that our one stop was a winner.

Although we had only spent a couple hours in Seattle, we didn’t want to arrive at Elizabeth’s too late so we headed south to DuPont. On the drive down, Mike and I saw signs about the marathon the next day. I reminded Mike that another one of my friends in the area was running that the next day.  Knowing that Elizabeth had competed in several Ironman triathlons, we both expressed surprise that she was not participating in the morning’s run. We arrived at Elizabeth’s after nine. After opening a bottle of wine, Elizabeth admitted that she was running a half marathon in the morning. "I was scared if I told you, you wouldn’t come," she explained as she poured a glass of Syrah for each of us.  I laughed and shook my head. I should have expected that.
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