I love to go a-wandering off the beaten track,
and as I go, I love to sing, my knapsack on my back.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Labor Day hike up the Bogachiel River, September 4-6, 2016

After hiking the Hoh Rover to its headwaters two weeks ago, I wanted to hike the Bogachiel River to its headwaters also. They're parallel rivers on the west side of the Olympics.

So Guy and I dropped off my car at Sol Duc Hot Springs and drove around to the Bogachiel trailhead where I started up the trail at 6:20 on Sunday evening.

At the trailhead

The lower trail is flat and easy to walk.

Looking up the Bogachiel in the evening light.

I hiked for an hour until I came to a campsite just off the river. It came  at just the right time.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hoh River Hike August 15-21, 2016

I arranged to have a full week off work so I could have a good five days up the Hoh River. I spent Monday and part of Tuesday drying food and putting my pack together.
Food in individual meals
My backpacking gear

I left home at 1:50 pm Tuesday afternoon, stopping at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles about 3:30 to get my permit. I arrived at the Hoh River Campground near the Visitor Center about 6 pm and set up camp. I made some dinner (Canned beef stew) and walked around the grounds. It was a quiet evening, very peaceful. Chatted with my neighbor, a 55ish woman in a camper van with a big dog traveling by herself.

Hoh River Campground

From the campground as the sun was going down

The next morning I got on the trail by 7 am. The first 12 miles of trail are nearly flat and the trail surface is flat and wide -- easy traveling. I had many good views of the Hoh River as I walked alongside it. The fall floods scour the bottom so there are wide gravel bars nearly the whole length.
Hoh River in the morning

The travelling was easy and I was surprised to find myself at Olympus Guard Station, my goal for the day, at 11:40 am! I spent the afternoon relaxing in the meadow.
Olympus Guard Station

(Taken with the camera timer) I listened to "The Thirty Greatest Orchestral Works," one the of Great Courses.

I camped on the gravel bar because the meadow campsites were taken. They campground was full of people -- probably 25 or 30.
My campsite

Thursday morning I started up the trail to Hoh Lake and Bogachiel Peak as a day hike. Since Bogachiel Peak was fogged in when I climbed it two weeks ago, I wanted to get the views on a clear day.

The elevation gain is 4,200 feet -- quite a challenge. I started up the switchbacks in the cool early morning. By 11:30 I reached Hoh Lake, took a break, and started for Bogachiel Peak. 

Hoh Lake

Above the lake the trail enters the alpine zone and the views open up.

 I came around a corner and saw Mt. Olympus to the south. What an impressive sight!
Mt. Olympus

At 12:40 I reached the top of Bogachiel Peak, slightly tired, and ate my lunch in the company of three guys who were joking around with each other. I could see down into Seven Lakes Basin.
Seven Lakes Basin

On top of Bogachiel Peak, Mt Olympus over my shoulder

I started down the trail, arriving back in camp about 4:45, quite tired. Camped on the gravel bar again. A warm night.

In the morning I packed up and started for Glacier Meadows, 8.3 miles and 3,300 fee up. I was tired from the previous day's hike and went rather slowly. At Hoh Bridge I took a break. The river is a torrent far below in a deep chasm. By noon I got to Elk Lake, where I had lunch with three climbers I'd been passing on the trail. 

After lunch I struggled on, but the trail was steep and I was tired. I went very slowly, sometimes a hundred feet at a time. I was determined to get to Glacier Meadows because I really wanted to see Blue Glacier. The day was very hot and I sweated gallons.

Just before the camp, there's a place where the trail is completely washed out. The only solution for the trail crew was to install a steel-cable-and-wood ladder to get down the washout. It looked scary, but it was actually pretty secure once I was on it.

The hardest part was struggling up the sliding rock and gravel on the other side to get back to the trail. Luckily, the rest of the way was nearly flat and I arrived at Glacier Meadows before 5 pm. I was exhausted and took a long rest before making camp.

Resting at Glacier Meadows camp

The next morning (Saturday), I hiked up to Blue Glacier. On the way I ran into a mama bear and her cub. I circled around her and kept going. I also saw a mountain goat on the mountain side.

The path was steep and went up 700 feet, so it took me until 9 am before I reached the top. When I came over the ridge and saw the sweep of the glacier below me and the whole massive bulk of Mt. Olympus before me, I was in awe. It was magnificent!

After a good interval of time gazing at the scene, I started down. Luckily the rest of the day was downhill. I arrived at Lewis Meadow in mid-afternoon and took a long break. The day was very hot and I was tired.

My camp on the gravel bar near Lewis Meadow.

On Sunday morning a cool front had moved in and there was a lovely cool mist everywhere. I started back to the trailhead, hiking easily with a light pack on the wide trail. 

Arrived at the Visitor Center at 1:45 pm. It was packed with tourists. I cleaned off at the water spigot and took a stroll through the Visitor Center. Got in the car and made it home by 7 pm, stopping at the Bogachiel River to investigate the trailhead there.

Monday, August 8, 2016

High Divide day hike August 8, 2016

Since I didn't have a day off the previous week, I decided to take Monday off and hike the High Divide loop. It's 18 miles and 3800 feet elevation gain, so it's a pretty ambitious hike. But I figured I was up for it, and if I got an early start I could make the loop in one day.

It probably makes more sense to do the loop in two or three days, but it's very difficult to get a camping permit due to the popularity of the Seven Lakes Basin. So that's another reason to make it a day hike.

I left home at 4:30 Sunday afternoon. In Port Angeles I stopped to pick up a hitchhiker. His name was Roland, from Germany, and he was exploring the Pacific Northwest by hiking and hitchhiking. Nice young guy. I offered to share my campsite at Sol Duc with him, and he took me up on it. By 7:30 we were at the campsite, set up camp and walked around the campground a bit.

On Monday morning, I woke up at 5:20 am, had a breakfast of GrapeNuts and cereal, threw the tent and sleeping bag into the car unfolded, and drove to the trailhead. I was hiking by 6:10 am and passed Sol Duc Falls by 6:30.

The trail up to Deer Lake is steep but I was fresh and I arrived at Deer Lake by 8:20.
Deer Lake

I took a break and continued up into the higher country. The scenery gets a lot better as you wind through alpine meadows and contour up the side of steep slopes. Unfortunately the clouds were low and I couldn't really see any of the spectacular views that the guidebook promises.
 Looking down at Deer Lake

 Switchbacks on the way to Bogachiel Peak.

By 11:00 I was on top of Bogachiel Peak. Through breaks in the clouds I could see down into Seven Lakes Basin.

Looking down at Lunch Lake.

After a break I continued along the High Divide, an up-and-down trail that winds along the ridge between the Hoh River valley and the Sol Duc drainage. It's some lovely alpine hiking, although I was beginning to feel fatigued.
The High Divide

I arrived at Heart Lake at 12:20 and took a forty minute lunch break and a short nap.

Heart Lake

At 1:00 I started down the trail, winding through Sol Duc Park and down along the easy trail that parallels the river. At that point it was just a matter of slogging back to the car. I was tired, but the trail was gentle and the skies cleared off for a lovely afternoon. I arrived at the trailhead at 4:20 pm. Got home by 7:00 to a dinner Katy had waiting for me, with apple torte for dessert. A good day!