July 24- Having done the coast and the rainforest, today was mountains day in Olympic. First we did a short hike to see a lovely little waterfall near Crescent Lake. Then we drove up to Hurricane Ridge, which gives fantastic views of Mt. Olympus and its glaciers, and the other mountains in the Park. We did a nice little hike up along the ridge behind the visitor center, with great panoramas of the mountains and also the Juan de Fuca sound, all the way to British Columbia.
We had another gorgeous day of no rain in the rainforest - actually, July is the driest month here and rainfall is on par with the DC area's monthly averages, so it's not that odd to have clear weather. One issue we've had at Olympic, though, is that every trail we've been on has been very crowded. I think that is a downside of the amazing wilderness character of this park - there really aren't that many places to go if you aren't up for a long backpacking trip (and even the long backpacking trips all originate in the same few Park access points), so everyone who visits does the same things. Even in Yosemite, which is obviously a very busy park, there were enough different places to go that you could easily climb a rock dome or head to a waterfall and largely get away from the crowds.
Tonight we are camped at a place recommended by my colleague Peter Jenkins, who took a trip here with his family recently and gave us a bunch of pointers for the peninsula. The selling point for this place is that is right by the Lower Elwha Dam, one of two on the Elwha river that have been infamously killing salmon for years. After a lot of wrangling, the dams are finally coming down next year, so the Park Service staff are all wearing buttons that say "Last Dam Summer." So we walked down to the dam to say goodbye and good riddance. Peter's exact description was that it "looks evil" - yep, that's about right.
Headed to Seattle tomorrow. Still not quite sure how we are going to manage the city in a camper.