Disclaimer: we are in the middle of wonderful spring weather here in Western Washington this week.
I took this self-portrait years ago… we were hiking up the Sol Duc valley and coming back through the camping area we saw this picnic table surrounded by a icy puddle. I thought it looked sad … and decided to accentuate that mood with a gloomy look. I walked into the puddle from the back to avoid disturbing the surface of the puddle in the foreground … placed my sitting pad (I’m not crazy enough to sit in wet snow when I don’t have to) and got the photo.
While the low country has mostly melted out, the high country in the Olympic National Park is still carrying a lot of snow. The snowpack is above average, so hiking in the high country is not going to be accessible early in the summer (many areas probably not until mid-July).
If you read my last post, you likely already guessed that this is only a day hike after you have backpacked for a considerable distance into the Olympic National Park. Anderson Pass is located between the West Fork Dosewallips (AKA West Fork Dose … pronounced “Doh’-see”). Jeff and I were camped at Honeymoon Meadows and hiked up to the pass and slightly beyond as a day hike. Since this was taken, the Dose road has washed out and the distance to the trailhead increased by over 6 miles. The Enchanted Valley is over 13 miles up the East Fork Quinault trail.
This is the Mt Elinor trail in the southeast corner of the Olympic Mountains (outside the Park). It gets a lot of visitors … both in the spring for folks warming up their snow climbing skills … and in the summer when the trail is very crowded and gets pretty trashed out from thoughtless hikers.
Just for folks that don’t live in (or visit) bear country: A bear wire is a convenience for backpackers to hang food to keep it up and out of reach of bears. A heavy steel cable is run between two tress about 12 to 15 feet off the ground. The best ones have pulleys and cables to run your food bags up the the wire, the old versions required you to have cord or rope to throw over the wire. One of my gripes is that the maintenance of bear wires is lacking … the Olympic National Park has neglected the bear wires in favor of requiring (or strenuously recommending) bear proof canisters. These typically weight about 2 pounds. When you are getting up in years, that two pounds can make a pretty big difference in the pleasure of the trail.
This trail sign was on the Aurora Ridge Trail in the Olympic National Park. The trail is visited very infrequently … and the maintenance showed it. I only hiked a short section, there wasn’t any vista or destination within my dayhike range, so I just climbed up to the ridge line and then along the ridge for a mile or two before turning around.
Western Red Cedar to be specific. It is the native cedar along the Pacific Coast, until you get into Alaska where it tends to be replaced with some Yellow Cedar. Yellow cedar is a favorite of carvers. The name Incense Cedar is apt and the smell of the wood is wonderful. You can find it in Washington in the high country right on the edge of tree line.