Old Hiking Photo

Starting out to cross the Cascades

Back in the ’60’s, one of my first long hikes was an attempted crossing of the Cascades using some ‘high routes’. A friend and I were going with just the two of us and (looking back on it) overly optimistic plans. The weather didn’t cooperate: we ended up getting snowed on for a day or so after the third day or so. Perhaps we were lucky that we decided to bail. The weather remained stormy for several days (it was mid-August and a cold front blew in). We hiked to the nearest road, hitched a ride into the nearest bus line. It was still an adventure … and probably safer than if we had continued. It would have been a rugged go, and I’m not sure we would have been able to keep up our schedule … even if we found the right track … since we were following ‘high routes’ for a lot of the time, we weren’t using trails. So route finding would have slowed us down … probably more than we expected.

That’s my pack and ice ax just after we departed Lucerne (Washington) a SMALL town along Lake Chelan that is boat only access. This is my only photo of the trip. Taken with a Kodak Instamatic, I believe. One of my earliest remaining images.

Happy Lake and its Ridge

Happy Lake

The photo above is Happy Lake … a seldom visited spot in the Olympic National Park. The Happy Lake Ridge Trail is seldom hiked, but it a wonderful loop hike, ending at Olympic Hot Springs. It’s a longer hike now … since the road is washed out 5 miles or so before the Olympic Hot Springs trailhead. Happy Lake was quite buggy … but mid-July tends to be that way. Notice the left over snow and the Avalance Lilies.

Happy Lake Ridge Trail Sign

End of Trail

End of Trail

The Griff Creek Trail leaves the Olympic Hot Springs Road just behind the Elwha Ranger Station in Olympic National Park. It climbs nearly 3000 feet ( ~ 950 m) in about 2.8 miles (4.5 km). So, it’s pretty steep. It has about 35 switchbacks and then it ends up on the middle of a steep section of hillside. It’s a nice hike with a view at the end of the Elwha Valley and environs.

That’s the end.

Aurora Creek Trail

Aurora Creek Trailhead

The Aurora Creek Trail is one of the most seldom used trails in Olympic National Park … especially if you ignore the trails that need multiple days of hiking to access. The trailhead is a little over 2 miles from the Mount Storm King Ranger Station on Crescent Lake and starts right along the edge of US Highway 101. There isn’t a parking location at the trailhead, but there are some slow vehicle turnouts nearby that can be used. You can see from the photo below that there isn’t a shoulder on the opposite side of the highway.

Lake Crescent — Across from the Aurora Creek Trailhead

Adding to its lack of attraction is the steep grade of the trail. It climbs 3400 ft (1036 m) in 3.4 miles (5.5 km) … a steep grade for the entire length of the trail. Switchbacks are continual. There is no water access along the trail.

Aurora Creek Trail Switchbacks

And the sidehill is densely forested, eliminating most of the view.

Aurora Creek Trail Sidehill

At the top, the Aurora Creek Trail intersects with the Aurora Ridge Trail. It is also seldom hiked. And the maintenance is also infrequent. Why did I hike this trail? Just part of my goal to hike as many of the trails in the Olympic National Park as I can. Just to see what’s there … and try to imagine why the trail exists. My guess on this one is that it was created to get to the high country in the early days before any roads. It provides access to the ridge and the ridge is much easier traveling than the low country with its nearly impenetrable thickets of alder brush.

Aurora Ridge Trail near the Aurora Creek Trail Junction

Good luck with this signpost. My guess is that it doesn’t still stand upright.

Trail Sign on Aurora Ridge at the Aurora Creek Trail junction

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

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