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.
Well, it’s a day hike if you are already in the upper Duckabush or upper West Fork Dosewallips. It’s a couple days of hiking in the Olympic National Park to get to that point. LaCrosse Pass is the high point on the trail that runs south from the West Fork Dose to the Duckabush. At 5566 ft, it typically is mid-July before it is snow free. One August, Jeff and I hiked up to the pass from our camp at Honeymoon Meadows. There are good views of the upper Duckabush from the pass (image immediately below) and of the upper West Fork Dosewallips, including the ridge running between the Dose and the Duckabush (second image below). The trail was in good condition, except for grasses growing over the tread. It wasn’t an issue for us, but on a rainy day it would have meant a good chance for wet feet.
These images are lower resolution compared to many of my posts. On this trip (back in 2003) I carried a Nikonos … a rugged camera designed for underwater … and that shoots film. These images are the scans were done during processing and were much lower resolution that what we are used to these days. Since the image files are JPG’s, there is also much less latitude for color correction.
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.
The clouds frequently hang low over the Olympic Mountains. That is true year around, but in the late autumn, it is almost perpetual. I enjoy watching the clouds move up valley and around the ridges. They add an element of mystery to the landscape. And as long as you are prepared and have good equipment, it’s a good time to enjoy the solitude of a mountain valley.
I was driving a back country road in North Central Oregon (SW of the town of Fossil), when a nice panorama opened up with a wonderful cloudscape. It was spring, so the hills had a wonderful greenish blush to them.