Madison Falls Path and Picnic

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: Few hundred yards – Time out: Pretty short

Degree of Difficulty: 0 – Pet Friendly: Yes

June 11th 2012.

Plenty of places to picnic

Plenty of places to picnic

If you are looking for an outing that combines a wheelchair access path, picnic area and a beautiful waterfall then Madison Falls in Olympic National Park is hard to beat. My elderly Mom was visiting us and she doesn’t walk much so this path was perfect. We began our outing with a picnic at the trailhead. There were plenty of tables in the green meadow. The Elwha River tumbled just across the road from us. My Mom, my daughter, her boyfriend and I enjoyed our repast in the sunshine.

The path to the falls is paved and though steeper in places then the ADA ramps at our hotel, Olympic National Park lists the path as wheel chair accessible. It was a warm and sunny day but was cool under the leafy canopy. Hardwoods ringed the edge of the field which gave way to firs and cedars as we walked closer to the falls.

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Fort Flagler

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: various – Time out: various

Degree of Difficulty: 1 – Pet Friendly: Yes

February 19th 2012

Fort Flagler State Park is one of the most beautiful parks on the Olympic Peninsula. It would be a wonderful day trip if you are staying in Sequim, but I’ve been fortunate to stay overnight at Fort Flagler on most President’s Day Weekends over the last decade. That’s because my church rents one of the historic army barracks for that weekend each year. I’ve had many wonderful memories; strolling, hiking, exploring, or just sitting on the bluff enjoying the expansive view of Puget Sound.

Fort Flagler State Park

For over a hundred years, Fort Flagler along with Fort Worden and Fort Casey guarded the entrance to Puget Sound, protecting us from a naval invasion. Together the forts with their big guns were known as the “Triangle of Fire.” Today, Fort Flagler State Park with its silent gun batteries is a wonderful place to explore. Walking down narrow stairways, through dark tunnels dripping with water; it’s easy to imagine you’re in the dungeon of a medieval castle. It takes bravery and bright flashlights to explore the old fort – especially at night.

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Olympic Discovery Trail to Sequim Bay Estuary

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: Up to ten miles Time out: 4 hours

Degree of Difficulty: 1 – Pet Friendly: yes

February 7th 2012.

Walking along the Olympic Discovery Trail from the Holiday Inn Express, Sequim to the estuary at the head of Sequim Bay was a wonderful way to spend a sunny winter afternoon.

For the most part, the Olympic Discovery Trail follows the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St Paul Railway’s railroad bed from Port Townsend 130 miles to the Pacific Coast. Though there are still many miles left to complete, much of the trail is paved and well-maintained.

I walked across the street from the hotel to the trail and turned east. The wide paved path cut across a mile of open field. I walked past streams and swampy pools where life lay dormant just waiting for the spring that was soon to come. The open fields ended as I walked into the forest and onto the huge Johnson Creek Trestle.

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Railroad Bridge Park

By Bret Wirta

Railroad Bridge Park

January 11th, 2011

Distance: Just a couple of miles.

Hiking Time: An hour or so

Elevation: Around sea level

Olympic Discovery Trail Report

My daughter Becca and her friend Casey and I wanted to go skiing at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park but the road was icy and a big snow storm was forecasted for that afternoon, so instead we decided to go where you can be outdoors on the Peninsula anytime of the year, the Olympic Discovery Trail. The ODT is a non-motorized, walking and bicycling trail that, when complete, will stretch for 100 miles from Port Townsend on the east end to the Pacific Ocean at La Push on the west end. Most of the route follows the abandoned Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad right-of-way, so it’s flat and smooth with many fine views along the shoreline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Over a third of it is completed and another third is funded and being constructed.

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