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Olympics 2003
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South Fork Hoh River April 2003



This was a school field trip for my Old Growth Forest Ecology class. There is nothing like going for a hike in an old growth forest with an old growth forest expert and a couple of park rangers (one of which was my boss' boss for this summer!) We got to see   the world's largest vine maple and tons of big trees. Had lunch by the river and watched the clouds roll over the mountains. This is such an enchanting place!! I think the South fork is prettier than the main fork of the Hoh. It was just so LUSH and GREEN. There was just the right amount of drizzling rain to make everything damp and glowing! Oh, and of course, there was a certain amount of tree hugging going on too.

West Twin May 2003




The photo in the upper left is Steph on a huge downed log, on our way to one of our data collection sites. This place is amazing. There is some sort of plant material covering every imaginable surface. On this particular work trip, we decided to also go to the beach. On our way out, along the Hoh road, we saw this herd of elk. They could care less about the people watching them. We caught the sunset at the beach and did some beach combing. Not a bad way to spend the weekend, especially when you are getting paid for it!!




The original plan was to go backpacking. Then we decided just to car camp. This ended up being a good decision because I was having major stove issues! We hiked up the east side of the North Fork Skokomish River. Ryan wanted to learn about the trees, so I got to go into full plant-geek mode. I even made him eat some miner's lettuce I picked. He was a lot of fun to go hiking and camping with. The river (as always) was beautiful and we spent a lot of time just hanging out on the rocks and enjoying it. Seeing how the forest is coming back in after the big fire (1985) was also really cool. Staircase was where I did my first backpack and everytime I go back I discover something new. It is a very special, magical place to me.

Day 2



Another great day hike. This is a trail in the Olympics I had not yet hiked. It more or less follows the eastern edge of the resivoir. Nice trail, but not remarkable. I did find a really cool rock on the lakeshore. We determined later that the veins running through it were probably jadeite. Cool! The views of the mountains from the lake was nice. We hung out by the lake for awhile, Ryan taking photos and me id'ing rocks. On the way home, Ryan insisted that we go to this little hole-in-the-wall seafood place in Hoodsport. I've driven past this place a million times, and had never eaten there. After oyster shooters, clam chowder, and beer batter fried oysters (to help soak up the beer from the previous night) we had just about eaten ourselves into a full blown food coma. I'll be back to this place!!

Hoh River Trail June 21 2003


This was a solo hike to celebrate the first day of Summer, so of course it was raining! Ah, well, it IS the rainforest. I love hiking here, especiall in the rain. Everything glows! And the new puncheon makes the trail much nicer. Fewer mud holes. I went as far as the little stream crossing (there's a secret waterfall here!) and turned around.   A good solid 6 mile day. Not many people on the trail, so it was pretty peaceful. Everyone I did see on the trail told me about an angry mother elk that was charging them. She had given birth recently and was apparently feeling pretty teritorial. I miss all the fun!

Elwha River Trail June 27-29 2003



I love this trail!! I'm doing my senior project here and this was my initial data collection and scoping out trip. This was also my first ever solo backpacking trip. I was blessed with beautiful weather and a sweet campsite next to the river. I was expecting camp to be really buggy, but it thankfully wasn't. I camped at Lillian both nights and day hiked to Mary's Falls on Saturday. Mary's Falls is in a stand of alder flats and is probably one of my favorite places on the Olympic Peninsula. I found a wonderful place off trail and next to the river to read, eat lunch and soak my feet in the cold cold glacial river. Saturday night I was camped between two boy scout groups, which sounds a lot worse than it actually was. Sunday night, after I got home, there was a huge thunderstorm.

Cemetery Point Lake Ozette June 24-25 2003



This was my first field overnight of the 2003 season. We got boated into camp. The photos are the views from camp. We speculated a lot about why this area might be named "Cemetary Point." There were these crazy hummingbirds that kept dive-bombing our heads. I think we might have been close to their nest or something. The pic on the right is of Tivoli Island. We spent the next two days sitting on the lakeshore id'ing plants and enjoying the sunshine. I'm quickly learning my wetland plants!! Carex, Juncus, Scirpus... It looks like I will be spending a lot of time at Lake Ozette this summer...

Garden Island Lake Ozette July 1-2 2003



This was another work trip. What an amazing place!! Tiny little island in the middle of Lake Ozette. There was settlement here a long time ago, but now   the island  belongs to the park.   We spent two days id'ing plants and I think my toes will take weeks before they aren't wrinkled from the water any longer! I spent pretty much all of the second day in the water. LOVELY!! The weird looking flower on the bottom row, middle is a Scirpus. Crazy looking thing!! There were also three different water lillies in full bloom and I got some amazing photos (sorry, not room to post all of them). I hadn't realize how cool wetland plants could be, but now I'm learning them really quickly. Still hating the sedges, rushes and grasses though. What a pain to id!! We get to go out here again next week. Yeah, work is rough!

North Fork Skokomish River July 4-6 2003


Day 1. Meet two girls I don't know, one of which is a friend of my friend. We hiked in to Camp Pleasant, about 7 miles   up the north fork of the Skokomish river. We made amazing time. It only took us 3 hours and we thought we were going pretty slow! Got to hang out around camp, take a nap, swap stories...especially about men! Guess that happens when you put three single women out in the woods together. It was a great way to celebrate "Independence Day!" We all got along great, and I got to go into botany professor mode (and stayed there for the weekend) and taught the girls about the trees and flowers.




Day 2.The super-long day! We hiked from Camp Pleasant, up the Black and Whites way trail to B&W Lakes, Kat decided to go back to camp because she was having a problem with her boot/ankle. But Kristin and I hiked from the way trail junction to Flapjack Lakes, up to Gladys Divide, down the Flapjacks trail and then back to camp. About 16 miles and 12 hours total for the day. By that time, it was getting dark and Kat was getting worried. The flowers were blooming on the way trail...Beautiful!!! Beargrass, pink heather, white rhododendron, huckleberry and mountain ash. And at B & W lakes we saw shooting star, violets, pedicualris, lupine (not blooming yet) and these weird dragonfly looking things that looked like they had just molted or something...Very strange indeed. The trail to Gladys Divide also had tons of wildflowers...Anemone, avalanche and glacier lilies, gentian, buttercups, violets, valerian...

Day 3. Hike out from Camp Pleasant. We ran into the volunteer ranger that we had seen at Flapjacks Lakes. Very nice man. He had let us use his water filter. The rangers are great! :) After we made it back to the cars with our very stinky selves, we went and had a late lunch at this little seafood/hamburger place in Hoodsport. Yum! Greasy food is the best after a long hike!

Boulder Shelter/Home Lake/Constance Pass July 11-13 2003




This was my first big Backpacker Forums trip. What a great group of people!! We had an awesome turnout...14 people total. We hiked in to Boulder shelter via the Royal Basin trailhead. I think everyone except for Bjhueni saw a bear on the way to the trailhead. It was a long hike in, but very worth it. View from camp were amazing. Some of us hiked to Home Lake and Constance Pass, narrowly avoiding a storm that was rolling in. From Constance Pass, we had some amazing views, including those of Warrior   peaks (photo above left).   Hoosierdaddy had me giving everyone a naturalist lecture on the plants and I was really   surprised the next day because they remembered a lot of what I had said!!   Evan and Scot   brought   their 7 pound stove tent (photo above), which became the official social hour hangout. We snuggled in close in the tent, drank "mixer," told stories   and enjoyed the warmth out of the rain. Quote of the weekend (from Meridian0): "what do you use to lube your noodles?"

Madison Falls and Wolf Creek Trails (Elwha) July 2003


Sometimes work is really fun! We got sent to do plant surveys at Madison Falls and Wolf Creek. Its great being outdoors, looking at plants and getting paid for it!!! :D

Grand Valley August 2003



We hiked in the 4 miles or so to Grand Lake. I don't know what my problem was on this trip, maybe it was the hot weather, but this hike kicked my butt!! I had great hiking company though. Kat, Kristin and Patrick were a lot of fun to hike with! Patrick packed in his guitar, so we had a sing-along after dinner. Someone forgot the oil for making the cinnamon rolls...they were a little...shall we say lumpy? The views were amazing, as always and sticking our tired feet in the cold cold lake was wonderful. We somehow got the bear wire tangled up and had to cut down our food bags. Dinner was unbelievable! Patrick hiked in fresh pasta and two different kinds of homemade sauce. The meadows in Badger valley were in full bloom and beautiful! We saw vetch, lupine, indian paintbrush, pearly everlasting, asters, cow-parsnip...Fantastic! :)

James Pond July 2003


This was another work day. Josh and I got sent to do a wetland plants inventory at James Pond. It was more of a wet marshy area than a pond. The sedges and rushes were about waist high and ducks would run out and scare me as I was tromping through in my waders. Yes, I looked like an oompa-loompa that day. We found some really cool plants!! Unfortunately, we also found that the reed canarygrass on the north side of the pond is spreading. It is a beautiful place and especially special if you are a bird or insect lover/watcher. The dragonflies here were especially incredible. There were ones that were thin and fire-engine red, big fat purple and black velvety ones, bright turquoise ones with shimmery wings and delicate little silver ones.

Shi Shi Beach August 2003



This place is incredible!!! Josh and I got sent here for work because we were inventorying an nearby lake/wetland area. We both took walks on the beach after dinner. He was taking photos and I was playing in the waves and viewing the tidepools. I couldn't believe   the colors I was seeing in the, blue, purple, green. Fantastic! :)   There was a sea otter that was following me from camp to the sea stacks. The stacks are beautiful siloetted against the sky. I got to enjoy an amazing sunset as I walked the sandy beach back to camp. I can see now why all of the outdoor publications keep writing about this beach. This would be a perfect destination for a romantic backpacking getaway weekend.  

Blue Mountain August 2003


Work again. :) We were sent here several times over the summer. We mapped the self-guided nature trail with GPS units and planted more plants as part of the on-going restoration project there. The view are amazing! If you look closely at the bottom pic, you can see Mt. Baker in the distance. Also seen from Blue Mountain are the peaks of the Cascades, the cities of Sequim and Port Angeles, Dungeness Spit and the San Juan Islands. The most incredible thing (I think) is the line you can see in the forest where the National Park meets the National Forest lands. It is very distinct.

Elwha to North Fork Quinault September 6-10 2003



Wow! This was quite the trip. It was supposed to be a 6 day solo backpacking adventure through the center of the Olympics. It ended up being a rain-filled 5 day trip. I spent the first night at Mary's Falls and finished eating dinner right as it started to rain... The second night I spent at Hayes cabin (see above) and dried out my gear. The stretch of   trail above Hayes is incredible! Huge, old   trees and the   vine maples were absolutely glowing!!   The third night was at Chicago Camp (below left) and I was the only person around for at least three miles. That was both exciting and a bit scary and I had to start the morning of the 4th day with a stream crossing. It was a short, but very wet day, but I made it to Low Divide (below right).   I couldn't see any of the views because of the mist, but the trees were beautiful against the white of   the clouds. Raindrops clinging to evergreen needles. This is what being in the Olympics is all about.   I pretty much retreated to my tent after a late lunch and had decided to hike the rest of the way out (16 miles)   the next day instead of spending another night in the rain. 6 miles from the trailhead, I slipped and fractured (I found out later) my wrist. OUCH! I'd like to go back to Low Divide again in better weather because I missed out on the views.