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Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Water through the moss

patches of moonlight
wavering through branches —
watering an ancient tree

I awoke a few times through night to an exultation of stars peeking through the canopy and very late a thin moon made it over the valley walls. After a my nights sleep with the ever present white noise of the river, I woke to a grey morning with mist streaming down the valley walls.  Over the course of a morning spent in contemplation down by the river and making breakfast in camp, the mist burned off to mostly clear blue skies. While I was breaking my fast a volunteer ranger came by and gave me the skinny on day hikes in the area. He also let me know that most of those washouts I had to clamber over one the way here were from this year.  It had been the rainiest winter on record in Washington State and it brought down a lot of rocks.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Crossing Station Creek

I lingered in camp until after lunch and then hoisting my daypack I set out to checkout the local trails.  Past the campground is the old ranger station and then past that begins the trails.  There is a the remnants of an old nature trail which does the traditional loop, with a branch off of it into the broader trail network.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Money Changers in the temple

The trail heads off up the river valley to the Dose Forks campground. This is a true backpackers campground, a few miles from the Dosewallips Campground, which was the furthest in you could have driven back before the washouts.  There were a few people camping at Dose Forks though I didn’t seen any of them there.  I was continuing up to what the ranger had described as the High Bridge at the West and North Forks of the Dosewallips.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Wasp

Between the two campgrounds I was up the valley walls a ways and primarily hiking in the woods.  There were numerous creeks to cross — Station Creek, Pass Creek and named trickles — but I was far enough away from the Dosewallips that it was only a very distant rushing sound.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Looking back

At Dose Forks Campground I was back right on the river and had to cross it to continue on the the High Bridge.  The character of the hike there was subtly different.  It was more rocky and I was clearly on a sort of spit of land between the two forks of the river.  There were a couple more little stream crossings which the trail often descended to cross and then had to climb back out.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Flowing water

This part of the Olympic National Park, cut off from the car campgrounds, seems to be slowly returning to nature.  Rangers have to hike anything in and the old car campgrounds are slowly deteriorating.  Nobody is going be be packing in a replacement picnic table!  Out here though it is the trail crews that keep falling logs off the trails, bridges from collapsing and the trails generally clear.  Past the high bridge there are trails deep into the Olympics and it hooks up to the cross park — and state! — Pacific NW Trail.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - High Bridge

There was sign of these trail keepers all through these hikes, cut logs, repaired bridges and general trail clearing.  This corner of the park feels pretty abandoned. I’m sure it was never was the draw that the Hoh, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Quinault etc have been, but with no car camping now, it feels pretty remote.  The High Bridge is well named, a solid wood bridge on a rocky promontory crossing the West Fork of the Dosewallips.  Looking east you can just see where the North Fork cascades in and merges with the West Fork.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - North and West Forks of the Dosewallips River

I spent some time on the bridge and around the branching trails just past it. I rested, ate a sandwich and just existed.  A wind had picked up and there were ragged trails of cloud reaching into the piercing blue sky. I just sat and listened for a spell until finally I retraced my steps back to camp.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Blue skies over green valley walls

the tiger swallowtail
returns again and again
dancing over flowing water

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Photos from this day: Olympic Mountain Dreams day 32
All photos from this tour: Olympic Mountain Dreams

Posted from Brinnon, Washington, United States.

Taking Tiger Mountain by Foot

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

I ended up with a few unanticipated days off in early January and on one of those days I hiked up onr of the trails up Tiger Mountain.  One of my favorite bicycle  routes passes this trail which heads up to Poo Poo Point where hang gliders launch off on windy summer days and I’ve wanted to tackle it for a while.  Tiger Mountain, in the so-called Issaquah Alps, is close to Seattle and thus often quite crowded with day hikers which is why I’ve done almost no hiking in this area.  Thus a nice mid-week January day seemed the best chance to finally make my way up the summit.  There are several main routes up Tiger Mountain which has six peaks though they seem to mainly have similar views. I was taking the Chirico Trail which is not the longest route but one of the steeper making its 1700′ elevation gain in two miles.  There is parking right at the trailhead which features a broad grassy field where the hang gliders and paragliders land. Once in the woods the trail begins a series of switchbacks almost immediately.

It had rained just a few days ago, but on this day the trail was almost entirely dry and being such a popular trail was well maintained. It is rocky at times and there are places where you are climbing basically stairs of rock. Being midday on a Tuesday in early January there weren’t the crowds that you can see on a nice summer day. I still encountered people though, mostly coming down but there was a few joining me on the ascent.   The people that were out seemed to be mostly walking dogs, mostly off leash. I’m not a dog person and I admit that I can be nervous around them, so I am never happy to see off leash animals. On this day the dogs were all well behaved and there was no issues. Still on narrow, steep trails I think people should keep their dogs well heeled.  Anyway I kept a steady pace, enjoying this easy path through the woods and definitely feeling the lack of exercise I’d had over the last couple of months. The path is switchbacks for a good ways and then flattens out a little bit as you cross a stream. The woods begin to thin a bit after that though the switchbacks come back. Finally you reach an open meadow facing to the east. There’s a put toilet from here and a nice view over the valley and toward the Cascades.  From there its a short jaunt up to Poo Poo Point where the hang/paragliders launch.

The view is about 180 degrees from the NorthEast to the SouthWest.  Toward the North is Issaquah and behind it Lake Sammamish (as can be seen in the above picture). Looking to the Eorth-East you can see the Cascades with several visible snowy peaks including Mount Baker way in the distance (the top photo shows one of the peaks in this direction).  To the West is Squak Mountain and to the SouthWest you looking down the valley toward South King County. A nice view. This day was partially cloudy with a good breeze. There was some serious creaking trees as I did the last third of the climb. I was alone as a reached the summit though a man and his dog joined me a few minutes later. It had taken me about an hour to do the two mile climb up and I spent about half an hour at the summit.  I’d started sort of late so as I set off back down the trail the gloaming began to deepen.  But even as the daylight was fading there were still people heading up the trail. Up to more then even half way down I encountered people making the climb. Not too many though, all told I’d say I saw about a dozen other hikers in the few hours I was on the mountain. I made slightly better time on the descent and arrived back at my car in pretty deep twilight.  All told it took me less then 2.5 hours to do the 4 mile roundtrip hike with as I said above a 1700′ elevation gain.  A nice jaunt early in the season, hopefully just the beginning in a more active hiking year. Check out all of my posted pictures from this trip in my Tiger Mountain Set.