Showing posts with label pacific northwest trail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pacific northwest trail. Show all posts

Wilderness Gear Testing in Winter

  A quick video, during my last 3 days on the North Olympic Coast.  This shows the Locus Gear Khufu Sil in very wet winter conditions.   Shot in the woods, just off the Pacific Northwest Trail.  Give it a watch & let me know what you think in the comments below.

Update:  Long term review of the Locus Gear Khufu featured below.  

Farthest Northwest - Walking through the Seasons

Beginning of story.

The bus ride went smoothly, picking me up along Highway 101 a mile from the farm. In Sappho I transferred to another bus for the rest of the journey to the city of Neah Bay, Washington. There was a heavy fog with light rain during my road walk from city limits to the Shi Shi Beach trailhead. After a few muddy miles, I would officially take my first steps in Olympic National Park and down to the sandy beach, on my journey south along the Washington Coast to La Push.

Neah Bay
A creature warns me of the perils ahead, during my road walk to the Olympic Coast.

Summer (last) Update: Divide to Coast

  Well its late autumn and most the leaves are fallen to the ground in the Olympics.  The elk are done bugling, marmots have retreated into their burrows and most visiting backpackers are back to the 'everyday grid'.  All that is left is breathtaking landscapes, with the occasional song of a bird.  Fresh snow has fallen a few weeks ago and melted away anywhere the sun touches during the short days.  The clock ticks before the deep white stuff falls, sealing the high country in for the season.

  Just hours after the powers that be reopened our National Parks, I rode my bicycle down to WIC and got a Backcountry Permit.  The plan was to spend a few days exploring a small piece of the Bailey Range and then walk west using the Pacific Northwest Trail to the Coast.  I originally started my summer journey back in June by taking the bus to Neah Bay, then walking south on the North Olympic Coast, before heading inland into the Hoh Rainforest on my way up Mount Olympus.  So I thought it would be right to walk from the mountains, back to to the sea and have this be the grand end to the trail series.  Ending in the small coastal town of La Push, catching a bus to Forks and then Port Angeles.  There would be no friends or family at my finish line.  Nor a grand support team to whisk me off, with a congratulation metal.  Just the feeling of personal accomplishment, to walk a custom route I put together in my head last winter.

Note:  All photos and trips reports will be released Winter 2013 in a multi-part series titled 'Walking through the Seasons'. 

Full moon rising over the Bailey Range.

Pacific Northwest Trail Bouncing in Winter

  Having an ever growing network of outdoor friends has its benefits.  Even more so when you live in Port Angeles; which is close to the Olympic National Park.  Feel very blessed each time I walk off the farm and 10 minutes later inside the Park boundary.  This is the primary reason of even living here.

  Received 2 separate messages on Facebook earlier in the week.  They asked if I wanted to get out for a day hike in the snow and do an overnight on the Olympic Coast.   I of coarse replied yes to both.

  The Pacific Northwest Trail is a route that starts in Glacier National Park and end in Cape Alava, Olympic National Park.  This just happens to run almost right through literally my back yard.   Looking out the farm house window;  I can see the PNT.  Not a bad way to have your coffee in the morning.  I also get views of the summit of Mt. Angeles and Unicorn Peak while doing the dishes.  Very spoiled.

Hurricane Hill
Group walking on the PNT covered with a few feet of snow.  

Hiking Hurricane Hill in Witner

  My Gossamer Gear Gorilla was all packed up with what was needed for a few days on the South Olympic Coast.  With 20 minutes left before I would leave the farm and catch the outgoing bus; I received an email invite for a different type of adventure.

  The correspondence was received from an old friend of mine that in my eyes is an Olympic legend.  He had a recent surgery and was looking for some trail time up at Hurricane Ridge.

  Our day would lead us on a 6 mile snow traverse.  Doing this without the need of snowshoes, because of solid snow pack.  The route lead us to the top of Hurricane Hill with views of the Bailey Range, Mt. Angeles and Mt. Baker.  This route also lead us on top of the Pacific Northwest Trail.

Hurricane Ridge Hiker
Headed out - views of the Bailey Range - wearing the new VFF EL-X and Gossamer Gear Minimalist. 

Stormy Rialto Beach - Olympic

  Spent the evening hiking and exploring the driftwood of Rialto Beach this weekend.  Would of like to spent more time under meditation listening to the huge surf.

  Building a beach fire and looking down the coast at the silhouette's of sea stacks; is one of my favorite forms of relaxation.   All awhile under the moonlight; star gazing into the infinite horizon.

  On my list to go back and visit this winter.

My short video clip:

Elwha to Hurricane Hill Trial

  In part of the Wilderness is my Gym trail series; gathered some friends together for some leg training.  The group asked me to suggest a route for the afternoon.

  I suggested that we start our trail run from the Elwha Ranger Station that sits 400' on the valley floor.  Then we venture up to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.  This route has the high point of 5,650' with  views of the Bailey Range and Port Angeles.

  There is currently no fresh snow in the Olympic National Park.  We have the back to back warm fronts pushing thru this area to thank for that.

  The window of autumn is rapidly closing in the Pacific Northwest; as winter tightens its hold on the mountains.  I was anxious to get into the alpine to get the views.

  Other parties involved excitingly agreed to my suggestion, but none of them had ever climbed that much trail ascent.  We were all in store for a real treat on the legs.

Olympic footwear
Trail Footwear - VFF Treksport and Luna Sandals Leadville Pacer

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 

Backpacking Olympic Coast with Kids

  I have been wanting to take my Son on a Backpacking Trip for some time now.  Other opportunities fell through because of bad weather and scheduling conflicts.

  Once seeing the weather window open up; I was really excited to share our first Official Backpacking Trip together.  Since barely walking he has gone on Day Hikes and Camping Trips, but never on an overnight in the Wilderness.

  It is important for kids to be outdoors; now more than ever.  There are very crustal hands-on skills not being taught by Video Games and Smart Phones.

  4 days were spent learning skills such as Shelter Building, Hydration, Fire Building (when needed) and endless other things.

  My favorite part of the trip was spending the majority of the time Barefoot.  The only time we put on our Five Fingers is for Rock Travel.

  His most memorable moments were Bald Eagles, Seals, Tide Pools and even a Coyote that ran by our Camp one early morning.

Backpacking Olympic Coast with Kids
First signs of the Coast

Backpack the South Olympic Coast

  Looking at the Forecast for the weekend.  I had one mission in mind.  To get as much Sun as  possible and to do as little as possible.  I managed to accomplish all of these things with a few extra little memories.  That is the best thing about Outdoor Adventures.  They are never the same twice.

coastal trash
Chief Buudda Budda helps keep away the Raccoon's 

Wandering South of La Push

  I had some free time to get Outdoors.  I will be doing a large section of the Olympic National Park Coast next month for my Birthday (read more below).  So I wanted to get a few little trips to condition my feet for Coastal Traveling, since its not my specialty.  There is a lot to deal with and isn't a 'Vacation' like every city human thinks.  There are a lot of variable, especially in the Winter.  You must deal with Tides, Rain Storms, Winds, High Surf Advisories, Coastal Flooding, More Mud and Higher River Fords.  All the while trying to plan a Route in all of that is kind of an extra life's pleasure.  The benefit is low Backpacker numbers and Bugs.  Which to me adds to more of a Primitive Wilderness Feel.

Strawberry Bay
Looking across to Scott's Bluff

  My adventure would lead me to Buspack, Buspack again, Backpack, Road Hike, Tribal Shuttle and Buspack.  Total travel expense $5.

Lake Ozette Trail Backpacking - Olympic

  I was born to be Outside.  So when a friend wanted to plan an Adventure to the Coast and looked at the Weather Forecast.  I got really excited and day dreamed for days about a much needed relaxing time on the Beach.  I will admit I don't much like the Coast in the Summer for the high numbers of Backpackers.  I also have never stayed 2 nights in one Camp since the 90's.  The chance to play in a Photographers Playground I for sure couldn't pass up the chance.  Seems like every square inch there is some form of Life happening.