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Olympics 2001
 
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Staircase March 2001

What a very special place! I just seem to keep coming back to this trail over and over again and it is always delightful and different.We camped at Camp Pleasant, about 7 mile up the North Fork Skokomish River trail.     Saw a lightning storm above us on the mountain. We retreated to the tent by 6pm   after wine and a fabulous tortillini dinner.   Beautiful trail. Wet Gabe and I,   but we had this amazing place   (almost) entirely to ourselves.     There's nothing like hiking in the Olympics in a downpour! It had started   raining about a mile up the trail and didn't stop,   got worse in fact,   for the next two days. It finally stopped raining when we were in the car, driving away from the trailhead after our hike. Figures.



Gray Wolf April 2001

This was such a nice spring hike. Boot-sucking mud everywhere you stepped, but the weather was nice and the river was beautiful. My favorite place on the trail was a spot near the river where the trail is very narrow and every visible surface was covered in luxuriant green. BEAUTIFUL. The forest was glowing. Someone had strategically arranged rocks into a funny smiley face in the moss. Looks like there are some rather nice camp sites here and I'd love to get further up the trail.



Cape Alava/Sand Point Loop May 2001

What a beautiful place! Easy hiking...9 miles over 4 days! We had lots of time to play on the beach, investigate the tidepools and do some bird/animal watching. The second night we had FIVE deer in our campsite! A mamma, last years babies and this years fawns. Playing 'spoons' in camp was a blast! Thanks to whoever it was that remembered to bring the cards. This was my first night sleeping on the beach without any kind of shelter. Its incredible to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean and barking sea lions.



Goblin Gates (Elwha River) June 2001

This was an annual father's day hike. Hot day! The river is BEAUTIFUL! Goblin gates is an incredible gorge. This was another one of those hike suggested to me by Matt L. Thanks! The river here is turquoise blue and foamy white, framed by incredible rocks. There is a huge yew tree, which I insisted that my dad take a picture of me with. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to hike in the Olympics.



Hoh River June 2001

   

   

The first night we camped on the   gravel bar at Olympus guard station. Nothing is better   than having the   river behind me and a view of the mountains before me. Rice-a-roni mixed with instant black beans is wonderful! I saw deer and bald eagle and lots of sign of elk. The second night we camped at Elk Lake and got eaten alive by mosquitoes. We hiked up to Glacier meadows to eat dinner and share a beer (chilled in the snowpack). There are some wonderful views of Snow Dome   between the lake and the meadows. We hiked all the way out (from the lake) on the third day~15 miles! Whew! My first death march. It was hot out and I didn't pack enough food! The Hoh valley is a magical place.



Elwha River July 2001

This is a beautiful river valley. Blessed with beautiful weather Gabe, Teague, Maria and I did an overnight to Mary's falls just after they reopened the trail to camping. We checked out the old cabins (ew, mice!) and explored the area. The trail follows some nice rolling hills. We found a fantastic campsite right next to the river. We saw deer, columbine, candystick   and orchids.



Rialto Beach July 2001

Molly and I found a solitary little cove north of Rialto Beach to make camp. Wildlife included a deer that seemed to be following us and two bald eagles.   While she was cooking dinner, I was taking photos of one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen. Hiking over the boulder fields with a full pack was definitely an experience I will never forget. Short legs suck for hiking on big rocks. I can't wait to do it again! We got trapped by the tide at one point and were *forced* to kick back, enjoy the sun and read for awhile. Camp songs included the Gambler and Jose Cuervo (he's a friend of mine...) not to mention countless Grateful Dead tunes. Fell asleep to the sound of the ocean. Next time we might stay at the 'Gilliigan Island' campsite we found.



Grand Valley July 2001

Nothin' like back-to-back trips!   We hiked into Grand Valley the LONG way...From Deer Park via Badger Valley. 12+ mile day! The wildflowers were AMAZING (thanks Matt L. for suggesting this one) We saw shooting stars, elephant heads, phlox, lupine, columbine, paintbrush, white and pink heathers, gentian, and a bunch I didn't know the names for. Molly picked up the names of the plants and flowers instantly. Damn I wish I had that girl's memory! The views along the Deer park portion of the trail are fantastic! I skinned my knee pretty good in Badger Valley. I almost went   flying down the mountain, but I caught myself on some bushes.   Molly gave me a foot rub that night for being such a trooper. She rocks!

The nights in the valley here are freezing, even if the day temps were high. Plus the mosquitoes are horrendous! It was worth every bite and then some. The second day we hiked to Grand Pass and did some trail work. Subalpine plants and rocks galore. Plus more amazing views. Did some geeky map and compass work to identify the peaks I was looking at. Our roomie, Jess, hiked in to see us and to give me a ride back into town the next day. What a nice surprise...A ride and someone to hike out with.

The third day   we had to hike out in   the wind  and rain (without Molly) across scree slopes. We were tired, dirty, wet and hungry. The hike out, of course, is entirely uphill, which did not add much to our fun. The cold beer and hot food when we got home was divine.



This is a fabulous place! (And yeah, I was *working*) My co-worker, Scott, and I escorted Heather for the first leg of her trip (day hike for us, multi-day backpack for her). The view from Big Hump of St. Peter's Dome is a wonderful lunch spot. You can see the valley and the river below you. What a great place this would be to stretch out on the rocks and take a nap in the sun. Mmmm...Zzzzz. The forest   and the river are really pretty too.   I couldn't get over how BLUE the water was. Cold too!



Upper and Lower Lena Lakes August 2001

This was such an eventful trip. My coworker, Jason, invited me along on his field days (mine were the same days, but he had a trip planned already.) So I tagged along. It rained on us   pretty much constantly for three days! The first night we stayed at Lower Lena Lake. The lake is pretty, and exploring around the perimeter was fun, but the poor lake has been abused and overused. We picked up a ton of garbage on both sides of the lake. One great thing about this camp area is that the privy is wonderful. Huge and clean!

The second day we hiked up to Upper Lena Lake. This is probably one of the most difficult trails I have ever done. It was basically like walking up a rocky waterfall. The rocks were slippery and sharp. I fell on more than one occasion. At one point there was a big boulder that you had to go up and over. Well, the up part was fine, but there was no place to step down on the other side. So...I jumped. Not the smartest thing to do with a full pack on. I skinned my knee. Up the trail further, where it broke into some truely amazing wildflower meadows, the vegetation had grown over the trail. That, combined with my tiredness and my general lack of grace (typical!) I found the one smooth rock on the trail. Whoops!!! My feet just went out from under me, and I fell on my back with my head pointed downhill. there was no way in the world I could have got up without taking my pack off, so Jason had to help me up. No injuries...Yet.   We made it to camp shortly after that.

When we got to camp, we were starving. So Jason fixed us some spaghetti for lunch. Yum. I took a nap while he went flyfishing. The deer around the upper lake are absolutely fearless!! There was a doe hanging out right next to the tent and I could hear her snorting as she ate! I woke up to fresh trout being cooked and mixed in with the spaghetti (they were little trout, not big enough for whole servings). A nap AND someone else cooking dinner for me? SWEET! After we gorged ourselves on pasta, Jason pulled out his bag of "bannock." We added a package of maple and brown sugar oatmeal and some fresh apple to it and made these backcountry fried scone things...OMG...YUM!!! Right after we had finished dessert, the backcountry ranger came to visit. He had just missed all the yummy goodness, so we gave him some of the leftover bannock and oatmeal and directions on how to make it. It was still drizzling and cloudy out, so the nice views of the mountains that you are supposed to be able to see from the lake were obscurred.

Hiking out on the third day, it was still wet and drizzling. About two miles down the trail, I slipped on a root for about the millionth time and Jason made some joke about it. Not two seconds later he slipped on the same root and down he went! Talk about instant karma. There was an audible 'pop' as he fell. Oh, this can't be good. He had sprained his ankle. Badly. We had to ditch his pack and fashion a sort of crutch for him. He used his flyrod case as the second crutch. Being a former (not ex!) marine he wouldn't let me help him at all. I did   my best, telling him stupid jokes and identifying all the plants, getting him to tell me stories (he's a great story teller).   The funniest part of the entire trip was when we ran into a couple of visitors that were headed up the trail and they asked what happened. We gave them a condensed version of the story and they said "oh, the rangers will probably help you get your pack..." Jason says, with a completely staight face, "We ARE the rangers." Oh, man, you should have seen the look on the visitor's faces!! LOL. We hiked the 8 miles from Upper Lena to the car in just under 10 hours. Nothing like driving straight from the trailhead to the hospital. Not to mention all the federal gov't paperwork we had to fill out.



3rd Beach August 2001

This was just the attitude adjustment I needed! Beautiful clear skies and sunny weather. The crashing waves sounded like a giant rainstick. The trail to the beach was kind of muddy, but I imagine that it is far worse in the rainy season. Not many people on the beach (just the way I like it). There   are fantastic sea stacks to the south. It felt incredibly good to wade in the surf and wiggle my toes in the sand. I kicked back on the beach, read my book and   enjoyed the salt air. The beach is perfect! Sandy and flat. I have to come back here for sandcastle building.



Spruce Railroad Trail August 2001

The drive to the trailhead is almost as nice as the hike. Very scenic, over a well-maintained gravel road, through some amazing forest. I had to wonder what visitors think when they get to the trailhead and see all the cougar and bear warning signs. It looked really ominous. What a great day hike! Nice and flat, easy. Some of the old rails are still present in places, and I saw one of the (old and crumbling) tunnels. Amazing views of the lake   and the peaks surrounding it. There is an excellent swimming hole at the bridge, and I wish I had brought my suit (too many tourists for skinny dipping). Poison oak is found here.



Oil City August 2001

Kate and I hiked to Oil City (near the Hoh) for our 'field day' for work. This is where the Hoh River empties into the Pacific Ocean. Incredible! We saw brown pelicans, explored the boulder fields and played on the beach. There was a sweat lodge made of driftwood that someone had built where the end of the trail meets the beach. It was obviously being used. (April 2003, it isn't there anymore) The geology here is really interesting too.



Mink Lake September 2001

This was one of the hikes Dad and I did when he came out to the Oly's for a week. For starters, I forgot my boots! So I was hiking the trail in sandals. The trail is steep and rocky. There are lots of roots to trip over, but it is a short jaunt to the lake... And the lake is beautiful! Not many people come up here, so we pretty much had the trail to ourselves. Nice nice.



Cape Flattery September 2001

Dad came out an spent a week with me on the Peninsula. This was a nice, easy hike. We saw puffins! The waves crashing into the rock were pretty incredible. Very muddy in the places where there weren't boardwalks. The viewpoints are really well placed to watch the ocean and we found a great place to sit and eat lunch.




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