High Country Meadows

The Rough “Trail” to Martin’s Park

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.

Trail through Martin’s Park
Stream and Flower Garden
Rock and Flowers 1
Rock and Flowers 2

Day Hike to Anderson Pass

Anderson Pass Marker Sign

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.

Trail sign on the Enchanted Valley-Anderson Pass Trail at the O’Neil Pass Junction
Snowfield near Anderson Pass
Remnant Glacier on Mount Anderson

Day Hike to LaCrosse Pass

LaCrosse Pass Marker

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.

The Upper Duckabush from LaCrosse Pass
The ridge between the West Fork Dosewallips and the Duckabush, looking north from LaCrosse Pass
LaCrosse Pass Trail

Wide Angle v Panorama

Dosewallips Road (Trail)

The Dosewallips Road is washed out in a couple of places and is now a 6 mile trail to the old car campground. The trail (road) starts in the Olympic National Forest and runs up into the Olympic National Park. This shot is just about at the trailhead … and shows what it looks like in mid-March. (except it’s usually cloudy and raining). It was shot with a 24-84mm zoom lens set at 24mm. A pretty typical wide angle lens without a lot of “wide angle” distortion.

Now look at the image below, which was taken with the same lens set at the same 24mm. However, in this case I have taken a series of images in the landscape format and stitched them together using Lightroom’s Photo Merge>Panorama option. This results in a much different image … I chose to continue higher into the overhead … but is also has a different viewpoint, since much of the sides were eliminated in the merging process.

I like them both, but they certainly have a different feel to them … you can always turn a series of images into a panorama, but the visual impact is different. And, if you aren’t careful with your exposure settings, you can get a result that doesn’t merge well. The bottom image was taken using “Auto” exposure control and as I moved the camera up to where the sky was in the image, the exposure changed. All I could do was to throw out those images where the exposure didn’t match and you can see the result: the image doesn’t extend to ground level.

Panorama of the Dosewallips Road (Trail)
Panorama without the ground level view

Lake LaCrosse Basin

Lake LaCrosse Basin from above
The trail from Hart Lake to Lake LaCrosse Basin

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.

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