Subalpine Wanderings

Five years ago, I took a hike off of Obstruction Point Road, in Olympic National Park. It was one of my top ten favorite hikes, with spectacular wildflowers interspersed with gnarled fir trees and snowy-splashed peaks. Last month I returned, hiking the Badger Valley loop with some wonderful naturalists. The 8.5 mile trail includes 2500 feet of elevation change (first down and then back up again!) through plant communities ranging from meadows to forest to alpine. I also got to see many of my favorite flowers: columbines, lupines, penstemons, larkspur, tiger lilies, and the bizarre elephant-head flower. Also orchids, two grouse, and corn lilies (one of the most “violently poisonous” flowers in Washington, according to my field guide), and Mount Olympus.

 

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