Lunch Lake

  Fall is going into full swing here in the Olympic National Park.  The leaves turning and animals going into primal mode, before the mountain snow falls.  This is one of my favorite times of the year to get outside, there is always a lot to see and no bugs.

 My original plan was to venture into a different area, but looking at the weather forecast I chicken out and decided to go with another option.

 My plan be consisted of a walking venture into 7 Lakes Basin for a quick backpacking trip.  I crossed my fingers, and hoped the weather would hold, so I could walk the whole High Divide Loop.

  My plan was to use public transportation to get me from Port Angeles to the Sol Duc Road, the walk the fourteen mile road to the trailhead.

clallam county transit

After the bus dropped me off on Highway 101, I set off on foot up the Sol Duc Road.  Once I walked a few miles, there was a nice person whom stopped their vehicle to give a me a lift to the trailhead.  I was lucky to get a live during the autumn months, during the off season, there is not much car traffic on Park roads.

 Once at the trailhead, I started up the trail, by this time a light rain began to fall in the forest.  Because of this water, the trail became alive with water moving on and around my feet.  The green in the moss and plants, glowed more colorful that words can describe.   All the creeks and streams were alive with life, after being dry the last few months of summer.

deer lake trail

deer lake falls

  After a few mile walk uphill, I arrived at Deer Lake.  I was delighted to find, that the storm had lifted, by the time I exited the forest.   Enjoying the sun as I walked, my energy levels began to rise.  On my way up the trail, I stopped several times to chit-chat with a few day hikers and backpackers, who were walking the opposite direction on the trail. This is a busy area, even in the colder weather months.

deer lake olympic

  I stopped for a water break for awhile, before making my finial ascent into the alpine. Wanted to top off my water, since I knew there would be no more water; until I would reach the lakes.  While refilling water I happened to notice that there was thick fog cover moving in from the west.

pacific northwest trial

  I would have to hurry if I was going to get photos of Mount Olympus.  The weather was changing fast, so I doubled my pace to try and get high in time.  Unfortunately the bad weather moved in, before I got the views that were hoped for.

7 lakes basin

  I took a little breather to air out my feet and have a trail snack at the 7 Lakes Basin sign intersection.  My original plan was to take a detour and climb on top of Bogachiel Peak; like I did a few months back.  Decided to scratch that plan since the weather changed and the thick fog blocked my view of the Olympics.

7 lakes basin camp

  I took some time to make camp and have a hot meal at a little campsite near Lunch Lake.  After dinner, I decided to go out for an evening walk and explore the basin further.  The continuously changing weather, made for lovely photography.

7 lakes basin

lunch lake

seven lakes basin

sol duc

  I used my headlamp to walk back to camp.  The temperature had dropped considerably after sundown, so I went straight to bed.  Slept like a log, after all my walking that day.

  The next morning there was a brisk feel to the air.  I was glad to have packed a down jacket.  I quickly put that on, after climbing out of my sleeping bag.  I began to cook my breakfast and coffee.
  I enjoyed a nice hot bowl of oatmeal as I broke camp and began mentally preparing for the trip back to the trailhead.

ultralight stove

On my walk on the ridge tops, I got zero views.  The continuing fog kept my view to only a few feet, it was really thick.   I thought positive tho, at least it was not raining and the wind was light.  I continued my walk through the wildflowers.

high divide loop

I took one last break in the Olympic alpine, before descending into the forest.  It was cold, but it was amazing to watch various clouds move though the high basin.   A short time later I noticed a lone Satellite Olympic Bull Elk heading to the Hoh drainage side.

olympic elk

heart lake

sol duc trail

  I refilled water again after descending to Sol Duc Park.  After that, I put myself into hiker mode for the next few hours, with 8 miles for the day.  That would put me back to the trailhead, but I would still need to walk the road, until I would get back to Highway 101 to catch public transportation.

  I wanted to catch the 3:30pm bus back to Port Angeles, so timing was critical, if I was going to say on that timetable.

  After arriving at the parking lot, there was no cars in it and was completely empty.  Off I went walking the road.  I ended up walking the road for 2.5 miles until a Ranger in a patrol car was nice enough to give me a lift down to Highway 101 bus stop.

Once back in town, I shoved my face with a large pizza and drank lots of water.   My body was pretty beat up, after walking so far, in such a short period.

Overall it was a great trip into Seven Lakes Basin, Olympic National Park. It was great to sleep outdoors, even tho the weather did not give me the views I'd hoped for. Just an excuse to go back, time and time again.

Article updated on April 2015