On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
This series was created by Alain Chamot (1971-2020).
Friends invited us to go camping with them at a State Park on the Hood Canal just a few miles southeast of the Olympic Mountains, locally called The Olympics. This is at the southwest corner of the Kitsap Peninsula.
We were excited, especially since we were a ‘bit’ rusty, not having gone camping for a couple decades.
It was timed to see the Perseid Meteor Shower. We found a neighbor to feed the cats and water the many vegetables and flowers in containers and unearthed loads of backpacking equipment that had never been used. It seemed many times we’d never get it together but we did, for the most part.
The east slope of the Olympics ruse abruptly above the Puget Sound lowlands. My understanding is they lie on top of a mound shaped mass of rock called a Batholith. The Hood Canal is a hook shaped inlet with the majority running in a straight line north south on the western boundary of the Puget Sound lowlands. The water in this view is Tahuya Lake. There are several lakes, including a couple with tiny islands, on a plateau surrounding Green Mountain ridge. It’s 600 feet above sea level. It felt strange to drive up a steep hill to find beautiful lakes.
Our camp ‘Camp Musical Chairs” in beautiful woods at Scenic Beach State Park. The park is on a small peninsula in the Hood Canal. Its moniker is from the eight chairs we had for the four of us. Our friends, a couple we’ve known for the 27 years we’ve each been together. They came with a great campstove so we ate very well, better than we would have on my wimpy little backpack stove.
That night we lay on the lawn at an old homestead house on site but started to fall asleep at 11, a couple hours before the height of the shower. We did see half a dozen meteors, dozens of satellites, and a few high altitude planes so it was all good.
On Wednesday we hiked to a ridge with views to the Olympics and to Seattle. My apologies this image is cropped from my camera phone but it’s amazing you can get an image this clear of Seattle from approximately 30 air miles away. Smoke was beginning to move over the Cascades from Eastern Washington and B.C. Mt Rainier was also visible and a smoke plume from a forest fire in the direction of Yakima.
Looking north from Green Mountain to the Hood Canal 1600 feet below. There are no signs of settlement in this view. Its location on the west side of the four million strong Seattle metro area makes for sparse settlement while to the east of metro Seattle population pressure is extreme. Fortunately farmland was preserved in the 80’s or there would be subdivisions all the way to the Cascade front range. The half hour ferry ride or Tacoma Narrows toll limits the sprawl.
The trail emerged from thick forest into a “timber sale”. The high double topped peak is named The Brothers. Several east Olympic peaks visible from Seattle were named after children in an early European settler family. Mount Elinor is a sharp peak visible to the south (left) of The Brothers. It was 85 degrees and the breeze had quit. It may have been one of the last gasps of summer.
We put our feet in the cool water of the Hood Canal at Scenic Beach. The tide was coming in fast on the rocky shire so it was warm for a few feet.
The view is Northeast towards Mount Constance, which rises to 7,800 feet. It’s almost as great as the distance the Grand Teton rises above Jackson Hole.
Heading home on Thursday Mount Constance was shrouded in a smoke layer at approximately 2,000 feet. The next day it was at ground level and 92 degrees. The timing of our trip was fortuitous. The campground in the second growth trees was five degrees cooler than the Kitsap Peninsula, the land between the Hood Canal and the main channels of Puget Sound. And we were ten degrees cooler than our house in Seattle. These forests moderate the weather in winter as well making them good habitat for deer and Elk.