Hiked the loop to the peak of Elk Mountain to view the solar eclipse. Was the perfect loop to do for such an event and an easy way to escape the crowds at Hurricane Ridge.
The hike out along Grand Ridge was wide with a mellow enough grade. Tread was eroding or sloughing off in a few location but overall pretty minor. Views the whole way out were great. Got to a high point on the ridge just in time to witness the eclipse with 360 degree views of Grand and Badger Valley, Grand and Moose Lakes, the Needles, Mt Deception, Mt Olympus, the Bailey Range, the High Divide, Deer Park, the Strait and north Puget Sound, PA and Sequim, the San Juans, Victoria BC, numerous snow capped peaks of the Coastal Range and Cascades, and a glowing Mt Baker!
The only sounds were the passing choir of bees busily pollinating the late summer flowers and the wind.
The connecting trail from the ridge down into Badger Valley seemed far less used. Tread was narrow, steep, braided from water, overgrown, washed out and eroded, and pot marked with marmot holes. Despite all this, the atmosphere and views of this short connector were amazing and surreal. This area of the Olympic high country is a spectacular gem
The Badger Valley trail up out of the valley from the junction back to the parking lot was quite pretty too, albeit gnarly steep.
2 hours round trip on my feet. 15 minutes sitting on Elk Mnt.
Way cooler than the eclipse itself was a shinning daytime Venus to the west of the sun. I wonder what the marmots thought...