The last time I hiked Hurricane Hill, my first-born rode along as a baby on my back. She was just barely a year old when we climbed this popular peak in Olympic National Park and took in the breathtaking 360 views. The other day, I tackled the same trail with the fine company of my full-grown fourth-born. As the complementary bookend to my journey through motherhood, this second adventure was just as satisfying and sweet as the first, though in notably different ways. Here are a few glimpses into the mother-daughter cameraderie and drop-dead vistas that my last-born baby and I enjoyed along the way.
^ When this is the view from the trail-head parking lot, you know it's going to be a good hike.
^ Well, this scenery from the drive up was also fairly telling. Gorgeous views of the subalpine forest and Olympic Mountains at every angle, and me with my foot still on the gas.
^ The trail started off easy. Cruising along on a paved walkway through the relatively flat terrain of a darling conifer forest, we were treated to frequent pools of shade and a pine-scented breeze.
^ Then things took a turn. Our path led out in the sunshine just as the vertical intensity increased, doubling our challenge. Grumbling companionably, we stopped often to drink deeply of our canteens and curse the evils of of the trail.
^ Grumbling companionably and stopping for lots of water breaks, we paced ourselves nicely and soon found ourselves at the very top of Hurricane Hill. To the south, the splendor of the Olympic Range opened before us.
^ And to the north lay the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Canada. Vancouver Island, to be precise.
^ The sweet little city of Port Angeles clung to the coast, and evidence of a forest fire stood between us.
^ To the west lay the indescribably majestic Pacific Ocean.
^ Once we had soaked up the breathtaking scenery, we wandered around the summit snapping photos of each other. I love the juxtaposition of a tiny fragile human against the massive, eons-old landscape.
^ Then we climbed back down the mountain, drove across the peninsula, and sailed back over Puget Sound. As the sun set low, we waved one last goodbye to the Olympics from the aft deck of the ferry. Hopefully, I will not wait so long to come back again.