August 15th, 1998 PacNW
By far the most visited spot in the Olympics, Hurricane Ridge rises a mile straight up from Port Angeles and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, providing stunning summit views of 7,965-foot Mount Olympus, the highest peak in the Olympic Range, and other glacier-shrouded mountains.
Park Entry: $10 per carload
Hurricane Hill Trail begins at the end of the Hurricane Ridge Road. In the 1.5
miles to the top of the hill are mountain peak vistas, a view of Port Angeles, and the Straits
of Juan de Fuca. Wildflowers are numerous in early summer. Wheelchair accessible first .5 mile
only. This portion is paved but with steep drop-offs and no guard rail.
Meadow Loop Trails begin near Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. They offer strolls through a typical subalpine environment, thick with wildflowers in summer. Watch for blacktailed deer (DO NOT FEED!) and listen for the whistle of the Olympic marmot. The trail continues to Klahhane Ridge. (source: Seattle Sidewalk)
The Meeting and Ferry Ride
This Fun Run could not have gone any smoother considering the big scheduling problems we had to deal with. We actually had everyone show up to the ferry terminal in plenty of time to get on without problems. Chris and Keith were early enough to take point in the ferry line :-)
The PacNW members who graced us with their presence for this meet included:
|Todd P||1983 MkII||Red||Greg M||1987 MkIII||White|
|Chris E||1985 MkII||Burgandy||Keith H||1989 MkIII Turbo||White|
|Eron H||1985 MkII||Blue||Chris J||1989 MkIII Turbo||Red|
|Dane M||1991 MkIII Turbo||White|
We also were joined by a few of the NW MR2 Seattle chapter guys. They consisted of a pretty even split of MkI and MkII MR2s, including some nice examples of the limited edition Supercharged models. Just like at the Zupan's meet, we allowed them to join in our festivities. The more the merrier in our Toyota family... Their members included:
|Fred D||1986 MkI||Black||Jake/Julie||1991 MkII Turbo||Blue|
|Rob F||1988 MkI SC||Silver||Andrew H||1991 MkII Turbo||Black|
|Mike N||1988 MkI SC||Gray|
Mike Newell in his gray '88 SC MkI MR2 stuck with Chris and Chris up front for most of the trip. It was wild to see that little bugger go. While it didn't have the mega thrust to keep up with Chris J when he really hammered it a couple of times, he was easily able to stick with them for the other 90% of the time.
Chris contacted the Edmonds ferry dock and made sure the lowered members of our group would be able to get on the lower deck to avoid any damage to their airdams from going up the steep side ramps leading to the upper deck parking. The ferry left on time and with everyone on it, happy and relieved.
The weather worried us a little that morning. After nearly a month of no precipitation and drought conditions around most of the state, that day decides to be cloudy. But, since the forecasters said it would burn off by the afternoon, we were okay with it. Plus, Port Angeles (the town right below the Ridge -- a mile below :-), sits in the Olympic rain shadow and gets very little rain on a yearly basis.
We met up at the Kingston Thriftway as planned and everyone banned together for a caravan run. We decided to all follow Chris E. since he had done this run only a few weeks prior acting as our scout. But, with the typical summer vacation traffic to the peninsula and other blockages to our efficiency, we just had to pass some people :-). Where ever a passing zone became evident, it was like a bunch of booster rockets fired and we'd all blast ahead with a demonic whoosh from the turbos and pass large chunks of people at a time (while we could). It was quite invigorating actually :-)
We arrived at the Olympic Nat'l Park Visitor's Center fairly on schedule and were surprised to see Todd P already there (he came in from Victoria). He had taken the early morning ferry over and was there literally hours before we arrived. Unfortunately, he also let us know that he and his wife had to be back down by the Port Angeles dock around 2-3pm in order to catch the ferry back in time.
After a quick photo session, a bathroom run and some quick history lessons at the Visitor's Center, we were off to tackle the run up into the mountains...
The Fun Run to the Ridge
This was everyone's favorite of the day's activities. The ride up included some of the most spectacular scenery I had ever seen around me. It was to the point where I could easily seen how people could get into accidents from the shear awe of it. In contradiction to this, the road was just begging for some banzai driving. There were tons of switchbacks all the way up in such a way as there was really no time to straighten out after each one. You just kept rowing the car back and forth as you exited one and entered another. People with upgraded sway bars could really see how well they worked on this road. That was definitely the most utilized suspension component here (along with tires).
We snaked up the 15 miles from the park entrance to the Ridge in relatively quick fashion and without getting stuck behind too many slow people. The grade of the incline kept the turbo cars in 3rd gear all the way and their turbines at a boil the majority of the way. The N/As were using revs to combat the altitude and steepness.
We arrived at the top of the ridge... a whopping 5242' above where we started. Almost exactly a mile up into the clouds. And it was like we had driven to Heaven. This place is amazing. You sit along this ridge where clouds come in off the moisture-rich Pacific Ocean and the Straight of Juan de Fuca and get thrust up by these mountains you're now in and down into the valley below you. We were literally playing among the clouds. One minute you could see the Visitors Center, the next it was gone. Same with the cars in the parking lot. Just wild...
Chris went through a gauge and engine check after the run to report how the altitude had affected things. First, the EGT measured a solid 1000F after the run up. This was normal due to leaner running in the 0-5 psi we had to keep to with the traffic involved. The vacuum gauge no longer measured its normal 23 in-Hg for Chris and was instead around 18 in-Hg at this height. Also, oil pressure at idle seemed every so slightly lower. Again, normal. The altitude had its affects on everything else pressurized too. A bag of chips someone brought was now a balloon and soda cans were a lot more violent when opened :-).
It was nice and cool as we walked right through the clouds to the Visitors Center to eat some lunch at the cafeteria there. We grabbed some quick fast food and ate outside overlooking the interior of the Olympic Range. This included the 8000 foot Mt. Olympus in the distance and Mt. Carrie relatively close to us showing off their glacier-covered peaks.
From the observation deck we captured some great photos. This was actually not as easy as you'd think. This area is so dynamic that the sun keeps disappearing and reappearing as you get enveloped by another cloud. But I think it would much more boring if we were here on a crystal perfect day:
Another cloud flows
The view looking toward
We then went hiking up the Hurricane Hill Trail. This leads up another 500-700 feet above where we were along some very nice trails along the ridge. We basically walked right into some clouds on our way up and then popped out above them. Again, we caught some more decent shots:
The view from atop the ridge looking down
A few minutes later, another cloud rolls by
This trail takes you to the other side of the ridge and ideally would let you see Port Angeles and the Strait, but today was a little too dynamic a day to let that happen, at least while we were there. We walked a couple of miles and followed the ridge around the other side, passing the chair lift for the limited skiing they have in the winter, a few patches of snow and some marmots and other little critters. We even saw a deer go walking by the Visitor's Center Deck when we got back! The timing of this was just too perfect. We figured they must be on payroll :-)
All in all, I'd have to say this was the most scenic and enjoyable fun run to date. The weather turned out great, the temperatures were perfect (lower to mid 70s), and the wonders never ceased up there.
Of course, before leaving, Chris and Dane took a few obligatory car pics:
Chris's 1989 MkIII Turbo
Dane's 1991 MkIII Turbo
The Ride Home
The ride home was fairly uneventful since we got stuck behind the usual weekend traffic we came up with. Chris and Chris took the lead again, but this time Chris J got annoyed at simply following the traffic in the right lane and kicked it down and simply vanished. Like a bat out of hell, he took off and was no where to be seen until about a half hour later coming up on the Hood Canal bridge. This was where we also joined up with a father and his son in their '88 N/A on their way back from their weekend trip. He said he came up behind Chris along the long, straight stretch before the Hood Canal watershed and they were cruising along quite nicely. Then, they got stuck behind more slow moving traffic and there was no way to pass. Chris proceeded to kick it down and again simply disappear from his view on a road a couple miles long. Since this guy was taking the same ferry back as us, we all managed to get in the staging line together. By this time the guy and his son were dying to know what was under the hood of Chris's car since his car couldn't do any of that. He was astonished when Chris popped his hood revealing all the techno-goodies involved in making high-tech speed possible :-) Chris E. gave the guy some of our group recruiting info, including our primary URLs and some info and it looked like we might have a new member. We'll see...
The day ended with a nice seafood dinner and drinks along the Edmonds waterfront. There was talk of the upcoming Vegas meet in a little over a month away and what everyone wanted to get done before the drive down to Nevada. Some were small details, others were major mods. I guess we'll just have to wait and see...
Created: 8/06/98 by C. Jensen
Last Updated: 1/18/99