Upper Royal Basin an Amphitheatre of Snow

Daniel Collins

Olympic Light

Olympic Light

I toted my tele-skis up the Dungie main fork than on up the Royal Creek valley about 5 more miles in late July. With the extra bulk of ski boots, poles, and skis on my shoulders I caught many attentive hikers with thoughtful and bemused comments – like “goin to ski the glacier?”, “is there snow up there?”, “can you ski up there?” etc.

That last comment cut into my pride a small notch, but I was glad to get the attention on an otherwise solitary hike. I felt that if these kinds of trips inspire others with thoughts of skiing, than great and I could see that wistful look in some.

I camped in the Upper Royal Basin below Mt Deception and just spent hours marveling at the incredible depth of the amphitheatre and all the basin ski runs at my disposal. Mt Deception dominates but the area is filled with rocky crags commanding attention. Feathery clouds shrouded many of the peaks but let glimpses of late afternoon light shine through giving definition to the high alpine architecture. While green grass campers were down below, I was able to hike the skis up consolidated snow fields toward Mt Mystery and nearby peaks.

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Sleepy Hollow – Poor little Cinderella of a trail

Sleepy Hollow

Daniel Collins

Fresh

Fresh

It was a solid 8AM downpour and my hooded and hard-hat-ed hiking companions with shadowy faces showed the look of a long winter but I wasn’t about to scuttle the planning behind this trip – after all we’re on a scouting mission!

We drove the recently re-graveled FS 28 – careful on the corners – it’s very soft. The drive was approx. 45 minutes to Bon Jon Pass where the rain stopped than 5 minutes to the Mt Zion Trail Head. We made off down trail scouting trail work for youth crews – the Quilcene Ranger Corps and the SKY crew of Jefferson County. The timing couldn’t have been better, just after heavy rain, trails reveal their drainage issues.

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Bogachiel River Hike - A taste of thru-hiking

Daniel Collins

A Bogachiel River hike from Olympic ridges above the Sol Duc Hot Springs down to the trail head near the city of Forks is a great journey through one of our wettest temperate rainforests. Bring well-sealed boots and bug spray.

I had my Pacific Northwest Trail Association (PNTA) youth crew working the Lower Bogachiel trail last week. Their project was all lowland drainage work, typical of this area and all within 2 miles of the lower trail head. Other trails near the trail head flair off of the main stem of the Bogie as it is known locally. The Forest Service has developed these trails as the: Wetland and the Morganroth Homestead Trails with financial assistance from the Ira Spring Trust and help from volunteers and the PNTA with a view toward demonstrating the cultural and natural values in this rainforest. These both are simple dayhikes.

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Mt Zion from the Back Door….

Daniel Collins

Mt Zion at elev. 4,100’ in the Olympic foothills is a popular hike off of Forest Road 28 and it can be triangulated from Snow Creek in the north, Deadfall to the east or the main trail from the south which could make three trips. Each route has an established trail. We chose Deadfall for our April winter-spring hike.

On the well maintained Road 28 from Quilcene or Sequim, look for the 060 spur road at 1.5 miles south of Bon Jon Pass. In another 50 yards you will see a dark opening in the forest, without a sign; that’s your trail! At the trail kiosk a few feet in we had a laugh – the last winter hiker here claimed Paris, France as home.

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