Thursday, March 22, 2012

Easy Day Hikes on the Olympic Peninsula OR Hikes to do While Injured

One of my many injuries. This was
from a tree branch nearly
killing me during a storm
                Often, injuries plague us longer than they should and make us choose between hiking in discomfort and not hiking at all. For many of us, the latter is will only happen if we lost both legs and had no prosthetics readily available. Any number of days I am battling chronically sprained ankles, a never fully recovered fractured shoulder and bursitis in my hip. Don’t get me wrong, this is not about me complaining I am in pain. In fact, being an ex-cross country runner, pain while working out seems normal to me. Injuries impact us all, and while we may not want to stay home, especially with good weather coming up, we may need to find some places that are a big easier on us so our bodies can heal quickly.

                The Olympic Peninsula is diverse in many ways. From many unique species of flora and fauna spread around rain forest, to having beaches, rugged peaks and miles of switchback trails, the area has something for everyone. Today, we focus on the hikes that may not be as physically challenging, but are still rewarding in many other ways. Next time you are hurt and can’t climb up 3000ft of scree, or you are just looking for an easy hike to do with your kids or grandparents, check out one of these areas.

Some of what Neah Bay has to offer
     1)      Shi Shi Beach- Don’t be too shy about taking a long walk on a beach. In fact, millions of people can’t be wrong putting this on their dating profiles as something they enjoy! You don’t have to be Kajagoogoo  to get to this beach. Located close to Neah Bay, this may be out of the way, but it is a scenic drive and a fantastic place to take pictures. Flat, scenic and close to the farthest northwest point in the continental United States, this trail is perfect for all. Bring a camera, rain gear, and a sense of adventure for this 8.0 round trip hike.

-          Quick Facts:
o   Distance- 8 miles
o   Terrain- flat
o   Needs- Rain gear, extra socks, towel, bird books, binoculars

The view from Hurricane Hill
      2)      Hurricane Hill- Love the views of mountains, but not a fan of the scree, switchbacks or isolation? Check out Hurricane Hill at Hurricane Ridge. 17 Miles south of Port Angeles, this is a great day trip during any season. Stand atop a nearly 6000ft “hill” and take in view of Victoria, BC, Mt. Baker, Sequim and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to your north. To your south you can look into the interior of the Olympic Mountains. This is a great hike to see Marmots, Deer, vistas, valleys and wildflowers. At only 3 miles round trip, the elevation may be the only thing that wears you out. This is a great summer hike, but can (and should) be done with snowshoes in the winter months.
-          Quick Facts:
o   Distance- 3 miles
o   Terrain- mostly flat, but one main climb
o   Needs- Rain gear/sun screen, snacks, good shoes, binoculars

Murhut Falls
     3)  Murhut Falls- Read more here at our recent trip report!!!
     -          Quick Facts:
     o   Distance- 1.5 miles
     o   Terrain- Slightly hilly, a little flat until the end where the trail to get to the water fall is quite steep
     o   Needs: Good shoes, snacks, a camera, rain gear

Dungeness Spit from above
     4)      Dungeness Spit- This is probably the longest, easy hike around, as it takes nearly 11 miles to complete the trip. However, walking along a sandy beach for 11 miles on the Strait of Juan de Fuca is a great trip for a family for a day or weekend. With views of the Olympic Mountains, Vancouver Island, Mt. Baker, a light house and more, this hike pleases everyone. This strip of sand is a marvel of the world and a fun place to beach-comb after a storm or to just enjoy a sunny day in the rain shadow of the state. It is also a great place to bird watch, picnic and build structures out of driftwood.

-          Quick Facts:
o   Distance- 11 miles
o   Terrain- flat and sandy
o   Needs- water, comfy shoes, binoculars, snacks, camera
(Similar to this is Damon Point in Ocean Shores)

Devils Punchbowl at Lake Crescent
      5)      Lake Crescent and Marymere Falls- Read more here at our recent trip report!!!
-              -          Quick Facts:
                            o   Distance- Depends on trail
                            o   Terrain- flat 
              o   Needs- Rain gear, binoculars, camera

While this list is obviously not complete, these places help you experience some of the best of the Olympic Peninsula without injuring yourself more. The nice thing about these places is that they can be done in any season and typically don’t require a lot of strenuous activity to have a good time. They are a great way to start to get into hiking, heal from an injury, or just take an easy day to enjoy the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. To experience one of these with us, please call us at (360)350-8938

Until I see you on the trails,
Douglas Scott
Exotic Hikes

Alternative Hikes:
1)      Pony Bridge
2)      Hall of Mosses
3)      Ruby Beach

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