This time last year, I'd just bought my truck and was itching to take it out on some logging roads somewhere out of town to see some 4x4 action. Suitable cover story in place ('let's go camping'), Katie, Anne & I made our way out past Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula and headed for an out-of-the-way campground called Deer Park, 18 miles of gravel track off Highway 101. The drive is well worth it; the campground lies just below the summit of Blue Mountain at a modest 5400ft and its title is well deserved. Within minutes of arriving, the inquisitive and fear-free residents that give the site its name form a welcoming committee and tend to mill around for the duration of the stay. Above the clouds, the views are fantastic and the background noise is filled with silence.
Well, this fourth of July weekend we decided to do it again. Additional recruits Sean and Jenna honored us with their presence and by 1125 on Saturday morning, we were all riding a ferry together. A quick stop of the liquor store and supermarket on Bainbridge and we were ready to go with a straight shot drive all the way through. The party in the green vehicle was somehow detained at a local winery for a brief period, but the rendezvous at site #12 atop the mountain turned out well. Adhering to long established priorities, we ate, drank, set up camp and then headed out for a stroll through the mist. Sean's tracking skills, while impressive, were no match for the agile quarry that was the rest of us. Back at camp, we had to cut short a game of hacky sack realizing that holding out for a hack would probably leave us without firewood and nutrition for the night. We ate like royalty and quickly found out how cold it could get when the sun went down. No-one seemed to take objection to an early night.
According to the ranger it dropped to 33 degrees (F) overnight which is rather impressive in July. Fortunately, we woke up the following morning to discover�bright clear skies and perfect weather for a wander to the summit. Once again, Deer Park scores a 10/10 in the beauty, tranquility and escape categories. Well done us.