Some spots in the high country are easier to get to than others. The ones that are easy to get to tend to be crowded. The ones that are harder to get to are … well, harder to get to. The result is that there typically are a lot fewer folks and the impact is less. That also means the trails tend to be rougher … or sometimes look nothing like a trail so much as a track through the meadows. Martin’s Park is one of those … it sits in a remote portion of the Olympic National Park with a minimum of a 16 mile hike to get there (and that’s the short route). There are quite a few folks that hike close to it … it sits near the Low Divide, on one of the main routes for those wishing to traverse the Olympic Park. The crossing now runs just about 50 miles … so those doing the hike tend to not have a lot of extra time for side trips. It’s beautiful country, though.
LaCrosse Basin is in the headwaters of the Duckabush River in Olympic National Park. It is one of the most scenic areas, next to the High Divide (and a couple others that shall remain nameless to protect their pristine nature), but due to the multiple day hike necessary to access the area, it is not as crowded as other areas of the park. Depending on your route, it’s typically a 3 day hike in. (Doing it in 2 days is possible if you are very fit and like long days) That said, all the remote areas of the park are seeing increasing pressure from backcountry hikers. I expect that there will come a time where the whole park is subject to a reservation system to keep the fragile high country from being loved to death.
These two images are from the Skyline Trail … which follows the ridge between the Queets and North Fork Quinault valleys in Olympic National Park. The pack is made by Yak … a Yak Pack. To me, it looked like it should be carried by a yak. The upper photo is one of my favorite images of a hiker silhouetted against the sky. Usually, the dynamic range is excessive and part of the image isn’t well exposed. In this one, I just got lucky.
The lower image is the crossing of Seattle Creek (one of the streams draining off of Mt Seattle). Stream crossings are always a little risky due to wet rocks and uneven footing. In addition, some stream levels vary a lot during the day due to increased run off as the sun melts snow and ice on the peaks.
This is the Slab Camp trail east of Deer Park in Olympic National Park. One of my favorite high country trails … partly because the trail starts at over 5000′ … so you don’t have to lug your camera equipment up all that way.