It took us a bit of doing, but we managed to climb up the Switchback Trail to Klahane Ridge. We had been putting it off for all the usual reasons which generally come down to laziness and possibly cowardice. We hadn't really intended to get all the way up to the ridge. In fact, our goal was the junction with the trail to the lodge, around 630' above the parking lot. Somehow, we pushed on, climbing another 850' or so.
We were well rewarded. The snows have melted, save for a few patches by the side of the trail. The flowers are in serious bloom, and we even managed to catch a few avalanche lilies along with the usual glacier lilies, violets, phlox, indian paintbrush, cow parsnip, and a host of others. But, the big reward was at the ridge itself. No, there wasn't much of a view of Port Angeles. The bowl in the mountains was full of cloud, but right on the trail was a male mountain goat in a clearly mellow mood. He posed for the camera, munched on the foliage, gave himself a dust bath and sauntered on.
There was another reward waiting for us near our trailhead. All along the trail the air was full of phlox, a deep sweet scent, but there was a different scent, a familiar one. The bog orchids in the streams by the parking lot were coming into bloom. All told, it was a most rewarding hike.
P.S. Did we mention the views? Yes, there were spectacular views.
|Our ascent into the clouds