I sat in the airport alone. Something I hadn’t done in a very long time. I held the tears at bay only just. I texted Bobby furiously telling him that this plan of ours was stupid. But he calmed me down and convinced me to stay where I was and board the plane that would take me to Seattle to meet up with him. I left Jack in the capable hands of Grandma and Grandpa Marko but the comfort of knowing he was well cared for wasn’t enough to shake the gloom that overtook me. I thought my first trip away from our rambunctious, walking 12 month old would be a freeing and wonderful experience. I knew, as I sat alone and unencumbered on the plane, that I had been wrong. I missed him desperately and nothing anybody could say was easing the ache I felt growing within me.

Bobby and I were going to a wedding on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington and had decided to enjoy a whole long weekend sans Jack. We took a late ferry ride from Edmonds to Kingston and enjoyed an amazing sunset as we set sail across the Puget Sound.

Amazing sunset on the Sound.

Amazing sunset on the Sound.

After a day of self-indulgence followed by a peaceful night on the ferry a bit of the ache eased. We checked into our charming B and B, Foxbridge, for the night with plans of hiking on the Olympic Peninsula the following morning. The next morning dawned chilly, windy, with a small chance of rain. I hadn’t packed well for such weather and would have to see how I endured the elements in my favorite hiking skort. I had ample layers for my torso and I hoped that would be sufficient to keep me warm as we hiked. We drove the 1.5 hours to Olympic National Park and up to the Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center. It was still early and most of the center had yet to open. We filled water bottles and braced ourselves for the 8 mile dirt road that we were faced with that would lead us to the trailhead. We had asked a ranger if they thought our little rental car could make it. He asked us if the rental car company had told us not to take any rough roads. When we responded that that hadn’t been explicitly explained to us he smiled slyly and told us to, “Give it a try.” Why not we thought? We’d come all this way! The road to the Obstruction Point trailhead wasn’t in too bad of shape but the narrowness, the sheer drop offs on the one side of the car, and the steep inclines had us slightly concerned. But we made it without incident! (Watch the end of the video at the beginning of the post to see the road in its entirety.)

We shoved our snacks into our day pack and I felt a little more of my ache fade into the background as we set off on the windy and dusty trail. The trail starts off above the tree line on a narrow trail. Though the parking lot was fairly full we couldn’t see any other hikers. We set off on the trail that leads to Deer Park.

Signage at the trailhead

Signage at the trailhead

We weren’t planning on going the whole 7.5 miles to Deer Park but we hoped to reach the first trail junction that would lead us down to Badger Valley and then back up to the trailhead we had started from. The loop looked like it would be about 5 miles and much more enjoyable then a simple out and back trip.

The wind blew wildly as we set off down the trail and I had 5 layers on top with three hoods up which kept me comfortably warm.

Layering to keep my core warm.

Layering to keep my core warm.

The trail is very straight forward and stretches out before you. It would be pretty difficult to get lost on this trail. For most of the day we could still see the parking area where we had left our car!

The trail stretched out before and behind us

The trail stretched out before and behind us

If you’re hoping to see some wildlife look no further then this trail! Marmots are everywhere! They aren’t shy around humans at all. Signs at the trailhead warned of their habits of sneeking into engine compartments of parked cars to get at the salt. Remember to never feed the wildlife no matter how friendly they might seem!

Beware the Marmot!

Beware the Marmot!

MARMOT

MARMOT

We reached the trail junction we had been looking for but we weren’t quite ready to leave the ridgeline trail. We continued along a little further and enjoyed some of the spectacular scenery around us!

Amazing mountain vistas surrounded us!

Amazing mountain vistas surrounded us!

We felt like we were above the clouds!

Odd to be above and below clouds!

We eventually turned around and headed back to the trail junction, taking the trail down into the valley.

Junction

Junction

As we descended into the valley, the sun broke its way through the clouds and it got warmer and warmer as we made our way down. We began shedding layers and basking in the warmth of the day.

Heading down into the warm valley

Heading down into the warm valley

The trail here could be a bit dodgy, steep, washed out, and exciting! It made the day much more enjoyable and more interesting then the more dull, yet more scenic, upper section of trail.

Going down a steeper, eroding trail

Going down a steeper, eroding trail

The trail is definitely suffering from some erosion issues here.

The trail is definitely suffering from some erosion issues here.

We passed several small creeks along the trail and really wondered where the water was coming from! There was no snow and we hadn’t passed any creeks on the upper trail. The mystery remained but the cold water fresh from the stream with our new Sawyer Mini filter was delicious.

Mystery Creek

Mystery Creek

Cold, delicious mountain water!

Cold, delicious mountain water!

Taking the trail down into the valley meant that we would eventually have to make our way back up to the trail we had originally started on. We were faced with 17 switchbacks that would bring us back to the Deer Park trail.

So many switchbacks!

So many switchbacks!

We had soon made it back to the main trail and celebrated with a selfie!

Woot!

Woot!

The day had continued to warm and we had both worked up a decent sweat by the time we reached our car in the parking lot. We drove the 8 miles back to the visitor center and enjoyed a hot lunch in the basement cafe as the clouds took over the sky and dumped rain on the land. The hike had almost erased the ache I had in my heart, but returning to a bustling visitor center filled with families and babies had made the ache stronger.

We ended up having a fantastic weekend spent celebrating a great couple and a beautiful wedding. We reconnected with one another in a way we haven’t since before Jack was born and that was also amazing! Couple time is so important and we were grateful to have had the opportunity to do it thanks to the generosity of Jack’s grandparents! We were soon reunited with our baby boy and we were beyond ecstatic! He snuggled and cuddled into me and didn’t want to leave. While time without him was wonderful, time with him is priceless.

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About the author


I am the youngest of six daughters and spent my childhood vacations camping in the beautiful State Parks of MN. In 2009 I married my best friend, Bobby Marko. We have embarked on numerous adventures along with our Golden Retriever, Latigo, our son, Jack (born 7/26/2014) and our daughter, Rowan (born 10/25/2016). When not adventuring in the great outdoors I spend my time as a stay at home mom and volunteer. I am a Branch Lead for the Twin Cities Hike it Baby branch. My favorite pastimes include dog training, eating chocolate, reading mysteries and crappy romance novels, and creating paper crafts, my passion lies in writing.

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