Barefoot Jake

First Look: Gossamer Gear Pilgrim Roll Top Backpack

Lets take a look at the Pilgrim Roll Top Backpack. This newest addition from Gossamer Gear caters to the minimalist hiker. The new pack includes a frameless design, fixed hipbelt and roll top closure. Sizing hits the sweet spot for a weekend ultralight backpacking trip in the summer months. I really like the sleek design of a roll top closer, and the fixed hipbelt gives the whole pack a stable and secure feel while its riding on your back.

Pilgrim Roll Top Backpack
Hiking with the Gossamer Gear Pilgrim, with overnight camping, fishing and camera gear

Olympic Mountains Drought and Fire Danger

This year has been a very dry season in the Olympic Mountains.  A light winter has left the higher elevations free from snow most of the cold months.  We had big storms, but the warmer temperatures allowed for it to fall as heavy rain.

Record low snowpack already has the drying rivers, looking like the end of summer; not the beginning.  This may lead to irregular fish migrations, up and down the river valleys.   I hope we get periods of rainfall to lesson the drought. On top of this the Olympic Peninsula has received record low rainfall levels for May/June since recorded history started over a 100 years ago.

All of this has left the forest very dry.  The Queets Paradise Fire in the interior of the Park, is testament of how dry it is in the backcountry, authorities refer to it as a "500 year fire".   There has since been a campfire burn back thought all Olympic National Park and most of Washington State. Please be considerate and go stove-less in the mountains this summer.

Upper Queets
Dried up creek bed in the Queets - This area is now burnt from wildfire

Dodging Mountain Goats

We had a 4 day window for a backpacking trip into the Olympic Mountains.  The weather was dry and most the snow has melted.  Why not get an early season hike in the books?

Lets hangout with wildlife!  This trip we would be camping with the Olympic Marmots, deer and mountain goats that live in this area.  We viewed numerous baby animals, since it is now late spring on the peninsula.

This was training hike, for longer period trips we have planned in the coming weeks.  Mountains have a funny way of getting you in-shape.  We would also use this adventure to test some new camera equipment in the backcountry.

The Gorilla backpack fully loaded!

Low Snow Year? Early Hiking Season

We had 3 days to spend on a hiking adventure in the mountains.  So we decided on an off trail adventure to a more remote location of the Park.  Our main goal was to get away from places that would require an overnight camping reservation to sleep in the backcountry.  Generally, one must do special registration anywhere nearby an access road.

Spring is almost over and its already late summer snowpack conditions in the Olympic Mountains.  Record low snowfall this last winter.  Leaving it very dry and snow-free in the backcountry.  This is a good thing for early season alpine, but bad for mid-season wildfires.  Seeing this coming, we decided on getting in our adventures now.

Conditions are above average for temperatures this spring.  We got hit by sun very hard in the mountains during this trip.  Making the mountains, more like hiking in the desert.  I was happy to have a hiking umbrella and extra bottles for water.  The mosquitos were also very aggressive.

Note:  This route should not be repeated, unless you have extensive land navigation and basic mountaineering skills.  A hiker must carry a detailed topographical map.

Camp view