Day Hiking in the Olympics (Part 2)
Alright – we came off Blue Mountain, returned to base camp, and then decided to trek off on our next hike. Picking which hike to go on (there were 3 that left from Deer Park) was an exercise in guessing? Luck? We didn’t really know that much about any of them except the one-line descriptions posted at the ranger station. We chose the one that sounded most like a ridge hike and which (eventually) would lead to a pack-in camping site. As the pack-in camping site was over 10 miles away though, we set ourselves the modest (and sunset dictated) goal of hiking out for about an hour or an hour and a half and then hiking back. With our camelback safely installed in my friend’s little backpack, away we went.
The first part of the hike was, well, pretty, but unassuming. Several little meadows, more deer, more meadow, no mountains. Boo. However, soon we headed upwards again and we found ourselves not exactly on a ridge hike, but maybe 150 feet down from the ridge, still with rather spectacular views of the mountains on the other side of the valley. Heading out, the trail seemed mostly flat, perhaps a little on the down grade. It was mostly scree shale. The plants were mostly conifers and lichen, with a smattering of wildflowers and other unidentifiable green stuff. At one point, we found ourselves on an outcrop of rock that loomed over nothing. At another, we were actually in a pine forest and the scree was replaced with pine needles (a welcome respite from the slippery rocks that always wanted you to walk a little closer to the precipice of the trail).
After nearly two hours of glorious vistas, we decided to head back to camp and figure out the dinner situation. Uh-oh. Those little downhills had actually been really steep downhills. We must’ve climbed down hundreds of feet – elevation that we now had to regain as expeditiously as possible since clouds were engulfing the valley below us, the mountain top above us, and rapidly closing in on us. Within a few minutes, all the mountains across the way had disappeared from view. However, our path remained mostly clear. Clouds would roll over the path (and us), then continue to roll away. We watched one crest the mountain, roll in front of us, then fall away too. The pine forest seemed to keep the clouds at bay and only a little rain reached us. Nothing that really got us wet, just enough to let us know that if we did get wet, we’d be cold until we found more clothes at our campsite.
Several hours later, we reemerged through the meadows as victorious Olympic mountain hikers (well, you know, kind of, baby hikers). We trekked back down to our campsite, ate some more of the delicious food brought from sea level and contemplated dinner.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.