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.

Section hike Pacific Northwest Trail
This week I walked a  section of the PNT.  Foiled by a logging operation way out in the 'sticks'.   

  Like most my summer, it did not work out exactly as planned.  The fact is I didn't even reach my official finish line or back to the ocean, but that is no longer important.  A logging company laid down the forest in my route and didn't muster up the willingness to bushwhack around it all.  I have grown to know that more is learned during the journey, over standing at the end.  However, I feel a successful trip is the ability to adapt to anything that is thrown at you and find a way to keep heading toward the goal.  A lot was learned about myself during just this last 5 day solo stretch, with 13 hours of darkness in the darkest, dampest, less used valley trails in the Park, the Bogachiel (If Bigfoot existed, this is where he would live).

  I have also built a real distaste for speed hiking.  This last section had me doing 3 back to back 20 mile days.  Feel I had no time to even look around much, was always looking where I was going to keep up my mph pace.  Getting to camp each night with a few hours to enjoy the surroundings sounds a lot more appealing.

Autumn at Olympic
Autumn on a small piece of the Bailey Range, with views of Mount Olympus. 

Solo snow hiker
Barefoot and alone.
solo bogachiel
What it feels like to be alone in the Upper Bogachiel (taken in the afternoon). 

Bogachiel creeks
Autumn has left the Bogachiel.  One of the many creeks to ford. 
Bogachiel Gravel Bar
Bogachiel gravel bar camp.  Took a bath in the river and prepared for the 20 mile road walk the next day.
pacific northwest trail road walk
Mid 20 mile road walk on the Pacific Northwest Trail.  God, I hate road walking.  Finally a logging operation would stop me in my tracks, unwilling to bushwhack through coastal jungles, decided to call it, the beach will still be there another day.  Thanks to the old logger that picked my butt up in the service roads and dropped me off at the bus stop.

Tech Failure (again) 
  All the pictures I took on the last day got wiped off the memory card.  Seems the app I was using on my android device to keep my memory clean, also takes photos off without permission.  Im really sad about that, had funny little captions to post up for the logging equipment photos and everything.  I found an official PNT marker in route that day as well.   Oh well, guess it will just have to be stored in my mental image database.