Here is one of the places I go in my imagination when the world is too much with me (election, hurricane, climate change. . .). If you look closely at the photo, you'll see the beginning of Obstruction Point Road, just past the small sign. It's one of the almost absurdly civilized ways to get pretty far into the heart of the Olympic Mountains with a vehicle. If you were snapping this photo, you would already have driven from Port Angeles, Washington, to Hurricane Ridge, 18 miles and 4,300-feet elevation gain, one of Olympic National Park's most famous attractions. Hurricane Ridge and Obstruction Point Road both afford extraordinary views of the snow-capped mountains, but in all other ways, they couldn't be more different. The hallmark of one is acres of asphalt parking lot. The hallmark of the other, if you're lucky, is (well-graded) emptiness. Passing another vehicle on one-lane Obstruction Point Road is perfectly safe via one of the turnoffs, but perfectly unnerving, because there is nothing but trees–and oftentimes nothing but nothing–between you and the valley floor, 3,000 feet below. You have to concentrate. Today the park's website tells me the road is closed for the season and that I should expect winter conditions at Grand Pass. Imagining donning the right gear, walking out to Obsruction Point Road's tiny parking lot (about 8 miles) and then on to Grand Pass (about 6 more), snow or no snow, feels exactly right from the current-events tossed flatlands, November 3, 2012.