Hurricane Hill – Enjoying the Inversion

Mt Baker from one of the turnouts on the road up to Hurricane Ridge. You can see the clouds below formed by the inversion.

I went up to Hurricane Ridge to go snowshoeing and hiked out to Hurricane Hill last Monday on the MLK holiday. The snow was very firm so I didn't end up needing the snowshoes.

The weather over the last week has been strange. The last few years we have had a strong inversion in January and it seems to now be a common thing for us here in the Northwest. Or maybe it has only taken me until now to realize we have these every year, I don't know. The definition of an inversion from is "a layer of the atmosphere in which there is a temperature inversion, with the layer tending to prevent the air below it from rising, thus trapping any pollutants that are present."Whatever the reason, when there is a strong inversion, a trip to the mountains should not be missed. We enjoyed 65 degree weather at 5000 feet. It was 35 degrees at sea level so you can see why the mountains are a very desirable place to be.

We hiked out on the Hurricane Hill road which is used as a ski and snowshoe trail in the winter.
Long January shadows
Mt Angeles from the trail
A look back on the trail.
On the trail
Looking out over the inversion towards Canada
The top of Hurricane Hill. Some of the Monday Hikers group joined us and the top suddenly became crowded.
A panorama looking out over the inversion shrouded Strait of Jaun de Fuca from the summit of Hurricane Hill.
Taking a look at the small cornices on Hurricane Hill.
Some of the Monday Hikers atop Hurricane Hill
Mt Baker
Some small peaks above the inversion in the San Jauns Islands or possibly Canada's Vancouver Island.
A look into the interior of the Olympics. The peak in the center and way off in the distance is Mt Olympus, the tallest mountain in the Olympics at almost 8000 feet. Don't let its relatively low height fool you. It's close proximity to weather coming in off the Pacific makes it one of the most heavily glaciated mountains in Washington State.
Heading back down.
It was a beautiful day! The route basically follows the ridge all the way back to the car.
A skier or snowshoer on the trail.
Lots of people enjoying the weather!
The route basically follows the ridge all the way back to the car.
Another gorgeous day in the mountains!
Typical inversion. (Graphic stolen from the Mendocino County Air Quality District. Click image to visit their web site for a more detailed explanation of inversions).
Typical inversion.
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