PCT – Day -1 (28/06) – Olympic National Park

I got up early today (6am-ish) and started off with an espresso and a latte, before jumping in my car to drive out to the Olympic National Park. I made the brave, yet foolish decision, to drive via Tacoma, rather than to use the ferry and got stuck in some traffic. Onboard coffee helped though, plus the happy thought that I probably won’t have to face any other traffic problems in the next few momths – or have you ever heard of a hiker jam?

Anyway, I made it out to the peninsula and, not really knowing where to go, flipped a coin and went up to the Hurricane Ridge visitor centre, eh … center. Not sure it was lucky, since some locals can probably point out at least 20 locations better, but I ain’t complaining.

Only half way up the mountain, I got my first taste of the tame wildlife.

Bambi getting ready to overtake

A little further on, the first decent look of some snow capped mountains.

It’s white and cold

Once at the top, I parked next to the visitor center and followed one of the short loop trails around the mountain top and encountered my first snow in years.

More snow

The visitor centre

The local wildlife was less impressed by my enthusiasm though.

Who can get excited about snow?

Despite it being overcast, the views were rather nice too.

What I really enjoyed though, were the beautiful little flowers on the meadows.

One thing Australia is grossly lacking is a decent abundance of wildflowers.

A little further on I came across even more wildlife. An Olympic marmot was peacefully munching on the dirt in the ground (not sure about the nutritional value, but hey, I’m not one to judge).

Punxsutawney Phil’s cousin

On my way back, I stumbled upon this fellow though, who seemed more than used to multicoloured humans shoving cameras up its nostrils. So I was a good little tourist and took a pic too.

What’re you looking at?

Alas, all good things must end and I had to go back. Did take the ferry this time though.

And it was a nice trip back to the hustle and bustle.

I finished the day by doing some last minute shopping and then some rather frentic searching for somewhere to discard all my rubbish I’d accumulated over the last few days (gear packaging and food wrappings). The complete lack of rubbish bins everywhere is rather astounding. In the end I split things into smaller bundles and distributed them amongst a collection of public bins at Discovery Park. Phew.

I’ve also been trying my hands (or should I say lips) at the American accent. Sometimes it works surprisingly well (especially with short and simple phrases), whereas at other times my Aussie twang shines through quite brightly. I’ll have to practice a lot more or people will think I’m Canadian.

The hardest part is not to call everybody “mate” though.

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