A trip to Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge is in Olympic National Park. I don’t get up there every year — it’s a bit farther than it is to Mt. Rainier — but I did combine a trip up there with a stop at the annual quilt show in Sequim, Washington, which in turn is associated with Sequim’s annual lavender festival. All in all it makes for a terrific, but very long day.

I’m going to concentrate on the wildflowers I saw, like I did with my last post about Paradise. The lavender festival was a bit earlier than usual this year. It’s usually the last weekend in July, but this year it was the 19th through the 21st. This meant that the flowers I saw were a bit different than those I normally see on this trip, because summer progresses so quickly in the mountains.

Most of the flowers I actually saw this time were on the Hurricane Hill trail, the first mile or so of which is along a south-facing slope. The meadows above the visitor center at Hurricane Ridge itself were mostly not quite in bloom yet, especially the lupine, which can turn whole sections of the meadows blue.

Anyway, here’s a sampling of photos of what I saw, with the full list after.

Columbia tiger lilies -- literally dozens of them.  I've never seen that many at one time before.

Columbia tiger lilies — literally dozens of them. I’ve never seen that many at one time before.

Scarlet paintbrush, just opening.

Scarlet paintbrush, just opening.

Harebells, or, as my flower book insists on calling them, bluebells of Scotland.  How can they be of Scotland if they're here?

Harebells, or, as my flower book insists on calling them, bluebells of Scotland. How can they be of Scotland if they’re here?

A cow parsnip, a purple thistle, and a meadow.

A cow parsnip, a purple thistle, and a meadow.

Scalloped onion.  I'd never seen this one before.

Scalloped onion. I’d never seen this one before.

Rockslide larkspur.  The last time I saw these I was in Yellowstone.

Rockslide larkspur. The last time I saw these I was in Yellowstone.

Some sort of saxifrage, I think.

Some sort of saxifrage, I think.

A nice bouquet of larkspur and paintbrush.

A nice bouquet of larkspur and paintbrush.

Nootka roses.  I don't think I've ever seen them here before.

Nootka roses. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them here before.

Broad-leafed lupine.  I had a hard time finding any that weren't just in bud, but these were lovely.

Broad-leafed lupine. I had a hard time finding any that weren’t just in bud, but these were lovely.

Magenta lupine, which the flower book claims is endemic to the Olympics. But if that's the case, why have I seen it elsewhere?

Magenta lupine, which the flower book claims is endemic to the Olympics. But if that’s the case, why have I seen it elsewhere?

Those white dots are American bistort, and the mountains in the background are the Olympics, with the visitor center in between.

Those white dots are American bistort, and the mountains in the background are the Olympics, with the visitor center in between.

And here’s the list:

Western wallflower

Broad-leaved arnica

Yellow monkeyflowers

Alpine phlox

Nootka roses

American bistort

Columbian tigerlilies

Paintbrush, magenta and scarlet

Harebells

Hawkweed

Yarrow

Woolly sunflowers

Pearly everlastings

Cow parsnip

Avalanche lilies

Thread-leaf sandwort

Thistle

Saxifrage — not sure what variety exactly, sometimes it’s hard to tell

Scalloped onion

Fireweed

Leafy peavine

Rockslide larkspur

Broadleafed lupine

Mountain heather

Asters

25 in total.  Not quite as many as I saw at Paradise, but a credible day.  I wonder how many I’ll see at Sunrise next week?

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Categories: exploring, hiking, national parks, outdoors, parks, plants, quilting, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “A trip to Hurricane Ridge

  1. Any thoughts on when the wildflowers will be at their peak in different areas? Seemed to be about midway through August on Mount Baker, I’m getting excited.

    • Generally speaking, after twenty years of doing this [g], I’ve discovered that there’s not so much a peak week or other short time period. It’s more that different flowers will be blooming depending on when you go. If you go just as the snow is melting (I’ve had rewarding wildflower hunts as early as the end of June), you’ll see a different bunch of species than if you go at the beginning of August or the end of August. It really does change pretty dramatically week to week.

      That said, depending on how deep the snowpack was the previous winter and how hot the early summer’s been, my favorite time to go to Sunrise on Mt. Rainier (my favorite wildflower hunting grounds) is late July-early August because I love lupine and phlox. But that means I miss out on the avalanche lilies and the pasqueflowers [g]. It’s all a trade-off.

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! And by the way, I love the crumpled paper background.

        I’m surprised to hear that phlox is among anybody’s favorite wildflowers. No offense. I always thought of it as a nice little touch of color in a barren world. But it isn’t showy like lupine (and its best friend, paintbrush) or like the fragile and delicate looking glacier lilies.

        Do you go east, like to the Teanaway, Ingalls Creek, Icicle Canyon, and so on? I used to mostly hike the western slope of the Cascades, where most of the flowers I’d see were trillium and foxglove; the eastern slope was a revelation for me.

    • I love how phlox covers the ground with flowers, sometimes to the point where you can’t even see the foliage. And I love the delicate variations in color from white to almost blue to lavender.

      Sunrise is about as far east as I get, since much farther than that gets too far for a day trip. I’m not even sure where those places you mentioned are [hint,hint].

      • Well, these are definitely long drives. Even from Seattle, a lot of these places will take three hours to get to. I don’t know how you feel about camping or about hotels…

        The Teanaway river and its watershed is one of the best kept secrets in Washington. It’s a wildflower garden, and a hikers’ playground. I’ll post some photos to my blog when I have a chance, you can find plenty more on Google and WTA. Anyway, it’s outside of Cle Elum at the end of a forest service road. There’s a lot of pine and larch forest, a lot of serpentine barrens, and more than 200 species of wildflower. A lot of phlox lives here, and stone crop, but also the usual suspects like lupine, paintbrush, lilies, balsamroot early in the season, and others like shooting stars and “elephant head lousewort.”

        Icicle Canyon is a more arid place outside of Leavenworth, its water mostly comes from the spring melt. While that’s happening, the meadows change color with the blooms. I’ve seen more butterflies here than anywhere else.

        Ingalls Creek is about midway between these two places, and I haven’t explored it quite enough to say very much yet.

        I went to Spider Meadow for the first time last weekend, and stayed overnight. It’s a beautiful meadow in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, I think all the plants growing there are wildflowers, but most of them haven’t flowered yet. I saw a bit of lupine and a lot of paintbrush, most of them still forming the buds. Wonderful place, but an especially long drive. This is a bit north-west of Leavenworth.

        I think that because all of these are places where summer comes early, and where the water is mostly from snow melt and not from rain, they’re all places that are best to visit in the spring if you want to enjoy the flowers.

    • Wow. Thanks for all the information. I do occasionally make an overnight to the east side of the mountains — I’ve enjoyed visiting the Okanogan in particular — but the Teanaway River in particular sounds within my reach for a day trip. And very enticing [g]. I’ll have to check it out, and if I ever get over around Leavenworth I’ll have to check the other two areas out, too! Thanks!

      [starts planning for a May or June jaunt next year]

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