By Chris Scranton
Editor’s Note: This wonderful story was an entry in the 2011 Celebrate Elwha! writers contest. All of us at ExploreOlympics.com hope that Chris had a wonderful 40th consecutive year at Dodger Point this summer!
Mount Olympus and the Bailey Range loomed through the fog to the west and Hurricane Ridge appeared to the north across the Elwha Valley. Everywhere I looked mountains appeared through the clouds. It was obvious that I was not in New Jersey any more.
In 1973 I graduated from high school in New Jersey and hitch hiked out to Olympic National Park where the late Jack Nattinger had hired me as a fire control aid at Lake Crescent. I was very excited to explore the park and wondered where I should hike on my first days off. Ranger Jack Hughes suggested that I hike to Dodger Point. With two days off, I shouldered my pack at Whiskey Bend and headed up the Elwha and the Long Ridge trail. 13.5 miles later in a summer hail storm I climbed the last steep incline to the point and approached the old fire lookout cold and wet.