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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.