Monday, January 30, 2012
A Long Overdue Questions and Answer Post
We here at Exotic Hikes are constantly being asked questions about hiking, so we decided that today we would finally address some of the more common questions about hiking in, on and around the Olympic Peninsula in a blog. These answers will be brief, so if you have any questions that require more specific detail, please email us at Exotichikes@gmail.com and we will respond as soon as possible.
As always, please feel free to add comments, add questions or give us feedback in the comment section.
“I am not in great shape, but are there hikes that I can do?”
The simple answer is yes. The Olympic peninsula has trails for people of all abilities. From handicap trails around the Hurricane Ridge Area, to Steep climbs up scree to hidden mountain lakes, The Olympic Peninsula has all style of hiking. In fact, some of the most popular, remote hikes along the Olympic Peninsula have zero elevation gain! The Olympic Peninsula is for people of all ages and skill, so don't be intimidated by the mountains and peaks. I think that the Olympic Peninsula is suitable for everyone, and encourage you all to come on out and see for yourself.
”Are there miles of beach trails along the Olympic Peninsula?”
Again, yes. The Olympic Peninsula has some of the most rugged, isolated coast in America, and trails litter the beach areas. From Ruby Beach to Shi Shi (pronounced Shy Shy) beach, one can walk for mile or feet and see the force of the Pacific Ocean, discover tide pools and watch seals, otters and even gray whales. The Washington Coast is also the perfect place to cuddle up with that special someone and watch storms roll in, while keeping each other warm from the wind and the rain. With lodges, hotels and campsites aplenty, you have no reason not to experience the Olympic Peninsula coast year round.
“Are there any close hikes to Seattle, Tacoma or Olympia?”
This question is difficult to answer, as the word close is subjective. Distance wise, the best hikes are a few hours’ drive at minimum from Seattle. You can get to the Staircase Entrance of the Olympic National Park within an hour from Tacoma or Olympia, but this is just a small trail area. Your best bet is to plan a weekend trip, or do what I do and wake up early and get to the trails by 8 or 9am. For beginners, a scenic car trip and a short hike is just what the doctor ordered!
“How many mountains are there on the Olympic Peninsula?”
This may be the toughest question to answer, as there are no consistent numbers of mountains in the Olympic Range. My personal estimate and belief is that there are well over 200 areas which are considered mountains by scientific standards. In fact, while no peak breaks 8000ft, there are 89 peaks between 6500ft and the tallest point, Mt. Olympus, standing at 7,969ft.
In fact, peakbagger.com states that “For their height, the Olympic Mountains are quite possibly the most spectacular mountains in the world outside of the polar regions. Nowhere do the Olympics crack the 8000 foot barrier, making them of almost Appalachian stature, but their incredible array of jagged peaks, massive glaciers, and epic approach marches is only matched in one or two other ranges in the entire "Lower 48" United States.”
With so many mountains on the Olympic Peninsula, everyone can find their favorite, private peak. From the heights of Mt. Olympus, to the views from Hurricane Ridge, all levels of tourists can ascend into the mountains and discover their own personal Shangri-La.
“What types of wildlife are located on the Olympic Peninsula?”
On the Olympic Peninsula, there are many species of Fish, Birds, Amphibians,Reptiles, Marine Mammals and Terrestrial Mammals. From the unique OlympicMarmot, the Roosevelt Elk in which the park was created for and the Douglas squirrel to the many species of Salmon and the awesome, yet phallic Geoducks and Banana Slugs, as well as Whales, Porpoises and Otters, the Olympic Peninsula is full of wildlife. In fact, we have linked directly to the OlympicNational Park’s website listing all the species in the Park.
“Where can I stay if I want to spend the night on the Olympic Peninsula?”
The Olympic peninsula, while isolated, is full of numerous places of lodging. On the Olympic Peninsula, you can stay at campgrounds in remote areas or stay at resorts located by hot springs, all travel needs are covered. Just a quick Google search shows hundreds of places of lodging, from hostels, bed and breakfast homes to fantastic National Park Lodges and fantastic hotels. The Olympic Peninsula is scattered with places to sleep for all levels of tourists, and for more information, please contact us for our recommended places of lodging.
“Is it dangerous to hike on the Olympic Peninsula?”
As with all areas of nature, danger lurks around every corner. However, even with all the wildlife, mountains, streams and trees, you do always have a better chance of being injured in a car accident. That being said, one needs to always study the weather, the trail conditions and talk to rangers and locals about the area. With any drive, hike or climb, certain precautions should be made. Make sure you tell people when and where you are travelling, bring a first aid kit, and sign in to all trailheads, ranger stations and access points.
Nature is full of unexpected events, making it exciting and connecting our most instinctual motions to landscapes, animals and sweeping vistas. Just because there is a very slim chance for an accident, it is a rare day when your trip to the Olympic peninsula won’t end ina feeling the awesome power of the Pacific Northwest’s Olympic Peninsula.
“Why go to the Olympic Peninsula and not Mt. Rainier?”
Occurring to my girlfriend, as well as many other locals, Mt Rainier is where you go when you want the crowded, typical tourist trip. Tend to agree with this because year round, Mt. Rainier is packed with tourists from around the world. While majestic, amazing and inspirational, Mt Rainier offers very little diversity of hikes and views, as well as limited wildlife. The Olympic Peninsula on the other hand is one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. With stunning views of the ocean, the rain forest, numerous species of flora and fauna, as well as some of the most remote areas in the lower 48 states, the Olympic Peninsula will leave you and your family with memories to last a lifetime. The Olympic Peninsula has something for everyone.
See you on the trails,