September 4th, 2004 – by: Kramerdude
Hiking on Lilian Ridge
Early morning and I headed out from Seattle, south to Tacoma and up and around Puget Sound. The views were amazing, from Ranier off in the distance southeast of Seattle, the Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, the Hood Canal Floating Bridge, to the Olympic mountains that signified I was nearing my destination. Stopped to pick up some supplies for the days activities and to be prepared should something happen while I was out in the park (esp. since I was hiking solo).
My plan for the day was to immediately head into the park and up to Hurricane Ridge and then out Obstruction Point Road and head into the backcountry for the day.
Looking down at Grand Lake from Lilian Ridge
Obstruction Point Road is kind of freaky, it's a 7.6 mile, 1-1.5 lane gravel (but well graded) road that gets significant usage. What makes the road so much fun though are the several sections where the shoulder just drops off several hundred feet into space. So when traffic is coming towards you its always a challenge to find a space to get around each other. And of course the morning I chose to drive the road there was also heavy fog in several sections that restricted visibilty even more.
But I survived to make it to the end of the road and Obstruction Point parking lot. Gathered my gear for the day and headed out on the trail. No real goal in mind but was heading towards Grand Valley and its three alpine lakes and then head towards Grand Pass and see how far I make before needing to turn back around.
Turnaround point for my hike on the way to Grand Pass.
So I took off along Lilian Ridge, providing some great views of the mountains for the first couple of miles. At the end of the ridge had a 1200 ft descent to the valley, with some views of Grand Lake, but ultimately where the trail came out I would be led to the second lake of the three, Moose Lake. After the descent, I lingered on the shore of Moose Lake for a while soaking up the solitude in the mountains. I saw a few people, but not many down in the valley. After a while soldiered on up the valley passing Gladys Lake, but I had lingered too long at Moose and glancing at my watch I realized I'd better be turning around soon or I'd be trying to set up an emergency camp at some point on my return trip.
So I headed back down past the lakes, passing Grand Lake this time as I chose to return to Obstruction Point by way of Badger Valley instead of the ridge.
Badger Valley, which I had just climbed out of.
The climb was a lung buster, but the views were simply amazing. At one point I remember that I was climbing 20 steps and then resting for a 10 count towards the top as it had been a long day with about 12 miles of hiking as I climbed to my car. That was my other problem, most times you are coming back down hill to your car when hiking in the mountains, this was one of those cases where I had to climb 1500 ft out of the valley back to my car in the last 2 miles of my hike. Not fun.
Headed back down Obstruction Point Road and down from Hurricane Ridge with the setting sun. Back in Port Angeles, I checked into my hotel (a Red Lion), and searched for food and a beer (don't remember what I found but after my long day anything had to have been good). Then some rest for another day of trekking.