Showing posts with label buspacking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label buspacking. Show all posts

Hitchhiking and Public Transportation - Olympic National Park

  For the last 2 years I have used the bus system to get me around the Olympic Peninsula.   Choosing not to drive; public transportation is my primary source of travel when not walking or cycling.  I wrote previously on this topic, but want to shine more light on the topic in hopes that it will be valuable to travelers.

  During the '30+ Days in the Olympic National Park' trail series.  I relied heavily on hitch hiking and the bus system for my resupply.  Deciding after week 1 to only carry the maximum of 8 days worth of food at a time.

  This would mean I would have to come out to Lake Quinault, Forks, Brinnon or Port Angeles.  There is no shuttle system in place to get me from any of these towns to the trailheads.  Meaning I would walk the road until a nice person picked me up.

  A 20+ mile service road walk would be necessary if it weren't for kind people.  Nobody wants to walk a road after they have been on the trail all day.  Especially for someone in minimal shoes.  Man made crushed rock roads aren't the kindest to tender feet.

  Once out on the the main highway system that circles the Olympic Peninsula I catch various buses heading north or south.  This came in handy when I was trying to 'leap frog' or go to bigger stores for more food variety.  I also sometimes chose towns with a public library for communication purposes; since I do not own a cellphone.

  The public library system is a very valuable resource for someone drifting in the mountains.  The ability to check weather reports, look at tides, and talk to family are all pluses for a successful trip.

Olympic National Park bus
Unloading my bike in Amanda Park while Bus - Bikepacking 

Sea to Summit - Olympic National Park

Note:  Total Travel expense - $3

 A friend was coming from out of town for some Backpacking Adventure Time in the Olympic National Park. The original plan was to go into a River Valley for a few days with the hope of seeing Roosevelt Elk and Black Bear.  Keeping an eye on the weather I suggested a better plan.   How about an Epic 'Sea to Summit Weekend'?

sea to summit olympic

Camp at Rialto Beach

rialto beach

   I usually try to avoid popular places such as the Coast.   I set my sites for 'Hole in the Wall', which is North of Rialto Beach.  The weather the last few weeks have been marginally good for this time of year.  Just as long as you don't mind the cold.  I also have never took advantage of the bus route to do any Beach Camping.  I trusted the weather forecast, even tho it was pouring down rain in Port Angeles.  Crossing my fingers I packed my Winter Overnight Gear and recently tuned up Hard Tail Bike.

  In the middle of a cold damp rain I loaded my Bike onto the Forks Bus.  From Forks I transferred to the La Push Bus.  I was surprised on the size of the La Push Bus.  I was expecting a little shuttle, not a full size Bus with room for 3 on the Bike Rack.
  I was on a mission to Peddle the 5 mile road section to make the Coast for Sunset.  I just broke clear of the trees just as the sun sunk down behind the waterline.

bike rialto beach

  I arrived to the Coast at low tide, so it should make easy travel.  There is only so fast however you can travel in wet sand.  I had to hustle and find a campsite before it became completely pitch black.  Relying on headlamp to scout a campsite isn't as easy in the dark.

backpack rialto beach

hike rialto beach

   I arrived at my camp spot with a sliver of light left.   It was a very damp cold area.  Signs of recent Storm Surge that pushed lots of wood and debris into the trees were the sites were located.  I thought of it as a plus because i wouldn't have to go far to gather camp wood, but I would not want to be in there in a storm.  Yikes.
  It took me a good 30 minutes working on starting a fire.  With such a damp environment and all the 'Fuel' being completely saturated with water.  Once I had it going tho.  I had a blazing heat source to keep me 'warm' on a 29 degree night while I enjoyed 3 Adult Beverages.

rialto campfire

  The next morning I arose an hour or so before sunrise.  To start another Fire before the Sun came up.   I wanted to focus my attention into Photography and playing with my new Camera.  Before bed i stuck some really wet chunks of wood on the fire to try leave some coals for the morning.  Sure enough, I dug down into the ashes and found a chunk still smoldering.  With some little Tender and lots of lung power.  I had another fire going.  I love doing a 'no match fire' , I guess it makes me feel more Caveman Like...idno.

rialto camp

  I will note that I've never seen heavy frost on the Sand before.  The whole Coast Line was covered with a blanket of frost.  Even the Sand was coated with a Powdered Sugar type look.   Don't let the sun fool you.  It was cold.  Probably a why I never seen anybody on the Beach the whole trip.  In the summer there would be dozens of tourist in this spot.  Just a reminder that it is Winter after all.

frost driftwood

winter rialto

  The photography that Winter type camping reveals is breathtaking tho.  If I get super motivated I will return to a similar spot to do some more before Year end.

rialto sea stacks

rialto beach

  One of the highlights of the trip was finding a little Treasure.  A Japanese Fishing Float that may have been at sea for some time.  It was wedged in between some logs, probably from the last Storm.

coastal debris
Japanese Float

  While waiting for the tide to go out.  I spend a few hours in camp for a time of self reflection, think about my Lover and Son.  I also enjoyed a few cups of tea to help me stay warm.  I was thankful that I brought a bar of Chocolate to enjoy as well.  Can't be bored if you have Chocolate, that's for sure.  

rialto camping

  After tide went down I made quick work at breaking down camp and walking back down the Coast Line. The sun once again was starting to get low in the Sky.  As I got back to my bike, the temperature was already back around 32 degrees.  Judging by the Frost, Frozen Mud Puddles and Ice that was starting to form on my Beard during my ride back to 'Three Rivers'. 
  Once there I enjoyed a huge gut bomb consisting of a Chili Burger and a Basket of deep fried Curly Fries. Took a few hours for that thing to digest, I'm not going to lie.  At least it was all under 10 dollars.

three rivers resort

  The Bus ride back consisted of warming my body, reviewing pictures and listening to my MP3's.  I was back showered in bed with 15 minutes before I had to go to sleep for my usual 4am wake up call the next day.  

FootwearCamera and Hiking Guide used.

Overview:  Even tho it was cold, just like any other Winter Camp.  The rewards of not dealing with bugs and tourists were priceless.  I plan on going back soon.  
p.s. Total out of pocket travel expense was $5 round trip ;-)

Wandering Barefoot in Port Angeles

  Often I get asked by Buspackers, Bikepackers and various other visitors to this area.  What are good places in Port Angeles to find Food, Drinks, Coffee and Etc?   So I put together this to offer an overview of some of my personal favorites.
  I'm going to use the Downtown Fountain as a center landmark to direct you on foot.  I'm not going to go over Lodging, since I believe in being Self Reliant.  Commando Camping is the route I would choose as long as done responsibly. 
  I have also wrote a popular light guide to Buspacking the Olympic National Park.

Downtown Port Angeles Fountain Area

Food & Adult Beverage:  I know personally the first thing I want to do after I get back to Town from a big adventure is get an Adult Beverage and something would be classified as Fattie Food.   I will list these from Closest to Furthest and no other significance of the order.

Facing the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Downtown Fountain.  Located around a Half Block away on the North side of 1st St.
  Pros:  Outdoor Street Type Seating, Washington Beers, Liquor,  Quality Menu, Great service and environment.   
  Cons:  No recession friendly menu, Limited floor space at Peak Times.

Facing the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Downtown Fountain.  Located around a Half Block toward water on the Westside of Laurel St.
Pros:  Tasty Local Brew, Wifi Nerd Time Friendly, Fast Service
Cons:  Out of popular Brews often, No Food Served (they will however let you bring in Take Out)

Facing the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Downtown Fountain.  Located around 1 and 1/2 Block West on the North side of 1st St.
Pros:  Recession Friendly Happy Hour Drink and Food Prices,  Bar Food,  Liquor, Lots of Seating
Cons:  Small town vibe, Plain Micro Brew Selection, Location

Facing the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Downtown Fountain.  Located 2 blocks North and 1 Block East on the North side of Railroad Ave. 
Pros:  Quality Chill Environment,  Extensive Wine and Beer Collection,  High end Palett friendly snack platters, Spacious Seating,  Wifi Nerd Time Friendly.
Cons:  Limited Seating, Lack of Bar type Menu

Coffee Time:  For caffine addicts, chill time or possibly nurse a little Hangover.  

Facing the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Downtown Fountain.  Located about a half a block East on the south of 1st St.
Pros:  Descent Coffee, Treats, Wifi Nerd Time Friendly, Lots of Seating
Cons:  Ventilation, Small Ordering Area, Quality of Coffee

  Since Port Angeles is the Gateway to the Olympic National Park and main access to Hurricane Ridge.  It gets heavy Motor Vehicle traffic in its Peak Seasons.  It also gets some travelers utilizing Public Transportation located Dead Center of Downtown on the corner of Front and Lincoln St. 

Find Downtown Fountain:  From Bus Station.  Walk West 1 block and South 1 block to the intersection of Laurel and 1st. St.

Bus Schedule:  Here is the Bus Schedule.  The Olympic National Park Headquarters (WIC) can also be accessed by Bus and here is that Bus Schedule.  Tell the Bus Driver where your trying to go and walk 2 blocks South on Race St.

Waterfront Trail entering Port Angeles

Olympic Discovery Trail:  There is a Trail that is about half way done that will run from Port Townsend to La Push, Wa.  Port Townsend to the West end of Lake Crescent is currently done.   Trail is a mix of Paved, Dirt and Service road that connects route.  There are plenty of Commando Camping Spaces on the East and West end of route miles out of town.  

MV Coho pulling into Dock

  I notice a lot of Foot Traffic coming off the Ferry from Victoria B.C. and until just this last summer there was no instruction where to go to navigate the area if you were visiting the area.  There are now signs highlighted in Light Green that will offer you Basic Navigation.

Victoria B.C. Ferry:  To find Downtown Fountain.  Head straight off the Ferry for 2 Blocks until you run out of Road.  Easy.  

* Disclaimer:  Everything above is my personal opinion.  I am NOT a Food Service industry critic and can only offer my opinion. 
Commando Camping is also Prohibited in most areas,  so do it at your own risk.  If you are in the Olympic National Park I strongly suggesting getting proper overnight permits and Bear Can.  Most popular Back Country areas you will get checked by a Ranger.