Showing posts with label olympic national park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label olympic national park. Show all posts

Backpacking Quinault: Autumn Rains

Backpacking Quinault Rainforest late autumn, during record setting rains on the Olympic Peninsula. This overnight trip into the Olympic National Park was a perfect chance to test survival skills; well as new overnight gear. I even did some backcountry fishing; despite the river being 'blown out' and running fast.

 The trail in was mostly flooded on the way in, because of all the rainfall in the month of October - November. This made for interesting walking; knee deep freezing cold water in places.

I was joined by a old friend from this city.  This was his first backpacking trip, ever.  I'm certain this adventure will never be forgotten in his mind.

backpacking quinault

Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula: Gear List

  This is my suggested list of gear used for hiking around the Olympic Peninsula. Variations to adventure can be cycling, hiking, fishing, mushrooming or photography.  There are a lot of variables to building the your perfect list; including season, weather forecast and/or trip goals.  Consider starting with a base list and then customize it to your needs. 

Olympic Gear list

Ten Essentials & Suggestions

  • Sun and rain protection  -  Umbrella

  • First-aid  -  Kit

  • Extra Food  - Candy bars, ect.

  • Hydration  - Filter attached to large recycled water bottle

Need something to put it all in? This is the pack I use.

Did I miss something?  Have a question about this list?  Leave questions or comments below. 

Backpacking across Olympic National Park

  Walking across the Olympic National Park from the north near Hurricane Ridge.  We would backpack south through the Olympic Mountains using a custom route.  Our path would include 2 days of off trial travel, intersect the Pacific Northwest Trail for a full day, sleeping on the shoulder of the Bailey Range and then continue southbound into the Quinault Rainforest; using a mostly high route.   

Join our 10 day adventure, told through photography and video.

Editors Warning: Map reading, route finding and compass required. Several of the days include a traverse that require basic mountaineering skills.  It is not suggested for someone that does not feel comfortable with exposer or leaving a trail.

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
Lake Lillian Olympic
Second day off trail

Bailey Range: Stephen Basin

Join us while we traverse a section of the Bailey Range for 5 days. This backpacking trip took us into some of the best country the Olympic Mountains have to offer. Walking the divide between the Hoh and Elwha valleys, Olympic National Park. Stunning views of Mount Appleton, Mount Olympus, Mount Carrie, Stephen Peak, Mount Ferry, Mount Pulitzer, Mount Scott, Mount Dana and even motor vehicle traffic viewed on Hurricane Ridge.

  Editors Warning: Map reading, route finding and compass required. This traverse has several points where a fear of heights is not welcomed. There are also several bad gully crossings; a slip would be fatal. Rock scrambling and glacier travel skills are also required.

Bailey Range Traverse
Day 1:  Bailey Range Traverse

Backpacking: Japan to Olympic Mountains

Spend seven days backpacking in the Olympic Mountains.  Accompanied by the founder of Locus Gear from Japan.  Walk a thought hike of the Olympic National Park from Dosewallips road to Quinault Rainforest; plus detours.  Story told through photography and video.

Dungeness Adventure - Olympic Peninsula

  The southeast side of the Olympic Peninsula is a lovely area for adventure.  Most of this corner feeds into the Dungeness River drainage.  Unique landscapes and forest can be found here.

  Our original plan had us in the mountainous zone of the Olympic Mountains.  Once we got there, I felt the snow conditions were too dangerous continue forward; on the route in our itinerary.  So we decided to go with a 'plan b walk'.

  This new plan would keep us out of the spring snow and camping in the high Olympic alpine for the remainder of the 4 days in the mountains.  It really worked out for the best and kept us out of spring avalanche danger.

Come alone on this adventure through photography and video.

golite chrome dome
Spring rains on the journey into the Olympic Mountains 

Hike Colonel Bob - Olympic Peninsula

  Adventuring up Colonel Bob has been on my list for some time.  Colonel Bob Trail starts near Lake Quinault on the Olympic Peninsula and ascends to the area of several peaks that overlook the southern Olympic Mountains.  I put this hike off for several years, because it did not come very highly recommended by my peers; boy were they wrong.

  This walk has pristine views of the southern Olympic Mountains on a clear day.  There is also no real sign of man in the surrounding area on the landscape.  This is rare for how close it is to roads; giving you a real sense of wilderness.

  Colonel Bob can also be accessed from the Pete's Creek Trailhead on forest service roads.  This makes it popular by hikers in the summer months.  I feel by doing this, you cut the hike short in its full value.

 Back before I was born, the only way to walk up Colonel Bob was from Lake Quinault on the official trail.  To fully embrace this hike; one must come up the way the pioneers once walked.  By doing this you to have the adventure transition from lake, to old growth forest, sub alpine and finally mountainous.

Come along through photography and video.

Olympic wildflowers
Wildflowers in Quinault

Backpack Olympic Mountains - Spring Adventure

  A friend and I had some new gear to try for the 2014 hiking season, so we took them into the Olympic Mountains for a good testing.  The Olympic Mountains are one of the best places to test backpacking gear, it can be sunny skies one minute and start snowing the next; even in the summer months at elevation.  So we packed up our kit and headed off into a remote side of the Olympic Peninsula.

  Our route would us to a base camp in a less known lake and then spend 2 days peak bagging into nearby high points of this very rugged landscape.  It always a surprise to me how steep the terrain is on this side of the Olympic Mountains, but leaves a lover of Olympic Peninsula coming back for more torture.  

  The weather blocked our views during our first climb, but broke free the next morning; allowing for beautiful views during our next.  This side of the mountains is rarely photographed from the south.  Giving us a very remote peak into the Olympic National Park interior.  

  We had a 4 legged friend on this adventure in the Olympic National Forest; where dogs are allowed. 

  Come along on this adventure through photography and video. 

olympic lake
Olympic Mountain lake in spring

Backpack Queets Trial - Olympic Mountains

  The Queets Valley holds a special place in each and ever individual that visits this area.  It is truly one of the most remote places left in this country.  Everything is bigger in the Queets; from wildlife to trees.  The river itself is fed by the countless rainfall it gets each year; well as the Humes, Jeffers and Queets Glaciers.

  I would be accompanied by a friend during a big chunk of this adventure.  He would be joining on the backpacking portion and then part ways after a few days in the back country.

  The solo section of my travels would lead to the Lake Quinault area on local public transportation.  I would spend additional time in Quinault enjoying the touristy side of visiting a rainforest.  Its quite the contrast coming from barely seeing a soul, to people all over the place enjoying popular day hiking areas.

Few hours of off trail bushwhacking in the Queets drainage.  Very wet conditions.

30+ Days in the Olympic National Park

 Update - Adventure complete

 In need to free myself from Modern Conveniences such as Internet, Electricity and Ect.  To get away from breathing Auto Exhaust almost every direction I turn.   My time in an Urban Environment is mostly dodging Crazy Texting Drivers or Drug Addicts asking me for Money.  Its enough to drive anyone nuts.

  So 6 months ago I decided to spend most of my Summer in the Wilderness.  Biggest chunk of that I am going to be doing an over 300 mile mostly 'Off Trail Traverse of the Olympic National Park'.  I am very excited about this Trip.  Training my Body and Planning for the last few Months.

Mt. Olympus - Photo by my Hiking Buddy - Nivaun - This image was taken on his Bailey Range Traverse and I suggest you read his Trip Story.   He is also planning on join me for this Adventure.

Hike Mount Storm King Trail & Lake Crescent Area

  For the next few months when I have free time during the week.  I will be Busing out to Lake Crescent and doing some quick elevation Training on Mount Storm King's Switchbacks.  Some people chose to be stuck inside a Gym watching paint dry on the Wall or perhaps stare at a TV.  That personally isnt for me.
  I will be continually updating this same Blog Page with different Photography of each adventure.  Please come back and enjoy.

2/14/12 -  I felt great this whole day.  We waited 45 minutes for the Heavy Rains to stop and trusted the weather report for a weather window.  Once we ascended to higher elevations the rains turned into Snowflakes.  It was very enjoyable.
  Once back down at the Lake.  I wondered around to watch the Sunset on the Lakes edge.  It was very inspiring day.

hike storm king
Along a Ridge Line in Snowflakes

Backpack Elwha Valley Alone

  Suggested Reading Listening:

After Walking or Biking the Whiskey Bend Rd. several times in 2011 and a time the Park completely had access closed.  I was excited to hear that the Park had opened the Road for vehicle traffic once again.  Once I got the news I hurried to the Boat and collected my gear  in 20 minutes.  So that I wouldn't miss my lift to the Trail head with my Bike.  I was on a mission to be the only one staying the night in the whole Valley and I got my wish.  Complete Isolation.

whiskey bend trailhead parking
Whiskey Bend Trailhead 

   I opted to go light as I could for Winter Conditions and only bring Minimal Gear.  Since it was forecasted to be in the 20's that night.   Food and Water was also kept super Minimal for the sake of Fast Trail Traveling.  I would pump water straight from Mouth to Filter to shave weight as well.

 I had 12 miles to reach my destination for the night and 2 hours of Daylight left in the Woods.  I wanted to make the best out of what light I had left, so I started at a pretty good pace.  After a few miles I felt warm enough to begin my Light Trail Running Pace.

lillian river
Lillian River

  I went as far as I could without Headlamp and feel the Trail under my feet, rather than with my eyes.  After wearing Minimal Footwear for 4 Years now.  I feel my senses have tripled when you can actually feel the ground every step.  Kinda like someone that is Blind uses other senses to function with everyday activity's.

Hike the Hoh Rain Forest & Rialto Beach

   I had a friend visiting from out of town that loves the Outdoors.  What better way to show off the area than to go into the Hoh Rainforest in the middle of the wet Winter.  It never stopped raining the few hours we were in there cycling from Heavy Rain to Heavy Hail Storms.  Seeing the Rainforest floor completely saturated with water was quite impressive.

hoh rain forest
Hoh Maple

Suggested Reading Listening:

  The Hoh River Trail leads to Mt. Olympus and follows the river valley pretty much the whole journey.  Endless massive trees, Greenest Moss, Mud, flowing Water and is one of my favorites to Barefoot.  The trail is mostly made up of soft mud, pine needles and roots.

hoh rain gear
Slimy Trail

  My weapon of choice for the day was Vibram Five Finger KSO, since that is the best model made.

Trail Run Lake Crescent - Olympic

 I woke up before the Sun came up like usual.   I cant sleep in past 0600 no matter how hard I try.  After Breakfast I ventured outside the Boat and to my surprise Invigorated by what Mother Earth would show me.  'This would be a great day!', I told myself.

Port Angeles waterfront
Last Sunrise of the year 2011 

There was 1 more day left in 2011 and I wanted to make the most of it.  So I suggested for a few Active Friends meet up and get 10ish mile casual Trail Run.  I want to be in the best shape of my life in 2012, so why not start training a day early for the New Year Season.
  Few people cancelled the last minute of the group.  There still was a half dozen of us to hit the Trail and we were going to take no Prisoners this day.  

barnes creek trail

  The route would have us travel 9 miles round trip on the Barnes Creek Trail and then toward the Trail Head climb Mt. Storm King as far as we could before the Snow got  to deep.  This Trail is one of my favorites in the Olympic National Park for Winter Trail Running.  After you pass the 3.5 mile mark it turns into Single Track and gives you the feel of Running Free through the Woods.  

barnes creek trail

barnes creek trail

barnes creek trail

  Around the 3 mile mark after a set of Switchbacks we rose into a dusting of Snow that fell from the night before.  I love running in the woods when there is fresh Snow on the ground in VFF's.  You can't get much more Primal than that.

barnes creek trail

  The Barnes Creek Primitive Trail has a series of Creek Fords that can be higher in the Winter.  One of my favorites is where the creek drops off a several times with baby waterfall lake rapids.  There is also a lot of logs jammed up at the crossing.  I oped to Ford the Creek, while my partner took the high route.  (not advisable in the snow)

olympic trial running

barnes creek trail
Photo by Bruce B.

  Nothing like a good cool down of the feet after moving at a fast speed through the woods.  After getting back to the Storm King Trail intersection.  Threw down a quick snack and up we went.  I will admit that my legs got super heavy ascending those Switchbacks.  Having a Cold for several days and Switchbacks don't mix very well.  We got it done however.  Ended up making it up 2.5 miles and then the snow got 2 inches deep.  We opted to call it a day.

Gear Featured

Overview/Disclaimer:    After 14 mile day and 1,000's of feet ascent.  I felt really accomplished for the last day of the Year.  It was more impressive that every one was in the Vibram Five Fingers in Winter Conditions.  Way to kick butt.  I suggest that you break your feet in to Winter Conditions by wearing VFF's year around and go Bare as much as possible, even in Snow.  That way you will be acclimated cold water and snow.

Backpack through Olympic National Park - Elwha & Skyline Trails

  This is an older trip, but it was such a landmark in my adventures that I thought I would document the Trip.  At the time it was the longest Backpacking Trip that I have ever completed.  It was also the longest and most harsh terrain that I have ever walked across with Vibram Five Fingers.   I will also note that the night before we left on this Adventure I broke a 104 degree Fever.  The first night of the trip I woke up with the inside my Sleeping Bag soaked with sweat.   I'm sure my body was still fighting the Fever.  The first 3 days I was really dragging.  I'm sure it had something to do with not being properly hydrated.

port angeles outdoor gear
Photo by Jeremy Johnson
  Day 1:  We got dropped off at the Whiskey Bend Trail Head by my partners Wife.  I remember the day being warm and the bugs were light.  Took a few breaks with snacks adventuring down the Elwha Valley.  Lots of Photography and passed different groups heading out of the Elwha from various adventures.

elwha trial

  Stopping at Elkhorn to talk to the Rangers.  Both of them asking  about my Footwear and the GoPro that I was wearing.  One of them also commented about my Partners camera.  They kindly took the time to snap this photo below.

elwha trial
Photo by Jeremy Johnson

     Day 2:  Breaking camp that we set up in the Horse Camp above Elkhorn that sits right next to the Elwha River.  I remember having low energy levels venturing down the valley.  There was no lack of water crossing numerous little streams.  At the time day 2 was the most miles I ever walked in Five Fingers.  We stopped into Camp Wilder and walked to the river to get water.  After lunch and water refill we continued toward Chicago Camp.   We also Forded the Elwha River between Camp Wilder and Chicago Camp.

elwha trial ford

  While approaching the Campsites next to the River at Chicago Camp we scared a Black Bear out of the area.  I remember eating dinner with one eye always into the tree line.  That was the first Bear I've seen in some time and had me a little on edge.

Chicago camp

  Day 3:  We awoke I would say around 3am to the sounds of heavy Rain Drops hitting the Tent.  I really regretted the fact that I had to climb out of my warm sleeping bag to break down camp.  Knowing that I would completely get drenched for how hard it was Raining.  At the time I never carried a Poncho, but I have since them never leave home without one.
  Once camp was broke we made a small ford of the Elwha once again at Chicago Camp.  Since the rain the river had rose around 12" since the day before.  It still only was just over the knee so it wasnt too bad.
  Not much Photography was done this day since it was raining so hard that all the pictures turned out to be a blur on my GoPro.

low divide

 It didnt take us to long to get up to the Low Divide Camp area, but by the time we did.  We were completely soaked from head to Toe.  75% of the day was spend listening to the rain just pour on the top of the tent.  Making sleeping a thing to get usto, but quickly took a handful of naps.  Dozing in and out of consciousness most of the afternoon.

  Day 4:  The rains stopped through the night and after the fog burnt off.  The sun started to peak though the cloud cover with the first views of Mt. Seattle.  We took this time to lay out our gear to get it dry as possible with the time allotted.

low divide camp
Photo by Jeremy Johnson
     After a short walk out of the Low Divide camp area and passing though the Horse Gates.  We got our first Mountain and flower covered meadow views.  This was a huge moral booster after staring at trees and water for so long.

skyline primitive trail

  We made our way through various Basins and creek crossings.  Seattle Basin was most memorable for me.  Taking a few breaks for snacks and I remember washing my Five Fingers in Seattle Creek that flows out of the the Basin.

skyline trail

skyline trail olympic

  Something I will never forget is crossing a almost Paper Thin like Snow Bridge.  Because of the steepness of the surrounding area we decided to go up and over it.  Thinking about it I probably should of dropped below it and bushwhacked back to the Trail.  We were lucky not to get injured.

skyline trail snow
Photo by Jeremy Johnson 
skyline trail snow

    Coming up out of a Draw headed uphill with a light breeze in our faces.  I was at the time leading and came around a hair pin section of trail.  Scanning my eyes up to see a big black object standing about 10 yards ahead.  I quickly yelled and spooked a medium size Black Bear of the Trail.  This was the second of the Trip.
  It was late in the afternoon while we made the last push before our destination for the night of Lake Beauty.   A few miles before the lake i recall navigating some tight and washed out sections of trail.  This took us some extra time and energy climbing down roots n rocks.

skyline trail

  Arriving at Lake Beauty to make camp and take a much needed freezing cold Bath.  I yelled as I plunged into the water for how cold it was.  Getting semi clean was worth the trouble tho.  The bugs were also bad at the Lake.  Looking down at pant leg to find 15+ mosquito's that were trying to feed through my clothing.  Views of Mt Olympus and the Valhalla's made it all worth it tho.  I plan on being back in 2012 to enjoy the views again.

lake beauty

lake beauty

mount olympus skyline
Photo by Jeremy Johnson
   Day 5:  After a much needed Sleep.  We arose just before Sun up to get a warm Breakfast into our Belly and begin Hydrating.  Climbing out of Lake Beauty I remember thinking that my Legs weren't as good as shape as I thought they were.  What a way to start the Morning than a steep grade.

     The trail side hilled for a bit and then began the 'Moonscape' portion of the Skyline Trail.  It was slow going navigating up and down the hillside.  Cairn's made it easier than just relying on Map only for Navigating this section.  I remember the feeling of Sharp Rock under my Feet and Hot Sun over our heads.

skyline trail

  It was some time before we reached the 'Trail' again.  I was relieved since my feet were feeling the fatigue of the lack of conditioning. The image below is permanently burn into my memory.

skyline trail

  While taking a break in the Pass above.  I flipped open the hood of my pack to watching my Thermarest in slow motion fall out.  It quickly picked up speed to hopping over a series of little sections of exposed Rock. It lucky stopped about 5 feet from dropping off a pretty good cliff.  I climbed down and had to retrieve that.
  The day pushed on as we head toward our destination of Three Prune Camp.  We arrived just as the sun was dropping behind the Mountains.

  Day 6:  I slept like a Rock that night.  We awoke again before the sun came up to shove down a quick Breakfast.  I was excited for a big meal of Real Food and a hot Shower.  We passed a grazing Bear in the Meadow a few minutes out of our Camp.  That would make 3 total in this trip.
  I remember being generally sore all over and this section of Trail was covered with loose River Rock for Miles.  This really tested my balance and my Feet.

skyline trail

skyline trail

  Arriving at the Skyline Trail head later in the afternoon.  Pretty smelly and tired.  I remember the feeling of real accomplishment completing this Journey.   When I was a young boy I pinned a Park Map onto my wall in my room.  I usto day dream about crossing the Olympic National Park someday.   Here I was reaching my dream.

skyline trailhead

Footwear, Camera and Hiking Guide used.

Overview/Disclaimer/Photo Rights:  This Trip will forever be in my Memory.  This being my first real accomplishment in the Backpacking World.  You should train your feet for months/years before attempting this type of travel with Heavy Pack.  I have since cut my Pack Weight in Half.  Some of the photos above are not owned by me.  All rights for these photos go to Jeremy Johnson. 

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 ;-)