Summer Steelhead Fishing on the Bogachiel River

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: drifting a few miles

Time: all day

Rating: Fun with a good guide

July 19th 2011

Catching a steelhead

Steelhead fishing isn’t easy especially for those of us who don’t fish much. If you manage to entice a cunning steelhead to strike, they’ll fight hard, throwing the hook or break your line. Steelhead are large rainbow trout that return to rivers to spawn after living in the sea for a few years. Unlike Pacific salmon that die after spawning, steelhead can make the journey back to the river several times. Result – a strong fish adept to the ways of the world.

Many have been steelheading more than once and have never landed one. I’ve fished for steelhead in the winter, standing in a bone-chilling river with no luck. I’ve even fished for steelhead on a river designated for night fishing, using glow in the dark lures. Fish on? Nope. So this time, when I decided to go fishing for summer steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula, I surrounded myself with experience; my fishing-crazed friend, “The Rat” and Pat Neal, guide, writer and wild man of the Olympic Peninsula.

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Poor Man’s Crabbing on Dungeness Bay

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: A couple of miles or so

Time out: Half Day

Degree of Difficulty: Pretty Darn Easy

July 14th 2011

Catching a crab

I was skeptical when my friend Dave invited me to go “Poor Man’s Crabbing,” specifically because he said all I needed was a pitchfork to catch all the Dungeness Crab I could eat for lunch. I’ve been crabbing enough to know how it works. You find a friend with a boat or with an expensive beachfront home with a pier on Puget Sound. You bait the crab trap with chicken and throw it into the water. After a tide change you pull up your trap and if you’re lucky you’ll have a “keeper” or two. The night I proposed to my wife we were eating crab over a campfire on Orcas Island caught using this time-honored method. Plus I’m a big fan of TV’s “Deadliest Catch” where the crew baits crab pots the size of small cars. But it’s all the same – nobody shows up with a pitchfork.

After much insistence, I called Dave’s bluff and decided to see if we could really catch any Dungeness crab. I met him at Dungeness Bay. Lots of Dungeness’s, but the crab is named after the bay which is named after Dungeness Spit which was named by Captain George Vancouver in 1792 who said it looked like the Dungeness on the English Channel.

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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. Rose


reported by Jack

Mt.Rose Trail #814

Mt.Rose Trail #814

This day we had no reported sightings of “Roses” on Mt. Rose. In our view the mountain might well have been named “Mt. Tiger Lilly”. This begs the question: “Where did Mt. Rose get her name?” I could offer a reward of ice-cream at Twana Café in Quilcene, but I owe too many of those rewards already and can’t seem to be at the Twana Café at the same time as those that are fast on the ww web. So, here’s the answer:

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Sea Kayaking on Freshwater Bay

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: Couple of miles or so

Time out: Half Day

Degree of Difficulty: Easy

July 6th 2011

Start of the trip

I was a little nervous when I showed up for my first ever Kayaking trip. I imagined overturning in the waves of the Strait of Juan de Fucca. But Dave King, owner of Olympic Raft and Kayak, assured me that I didn’t need any experience. “Unlike river kayaks, a sea kayak is more stable and paddling is easy to learn,” Dave said.

After many tries I finally scheduled this adventure with my busy friend Joel, but Mother Nature wasn’t as cooperative. From the sunny rooftop garden of the Holiday Inn Express in Sequim where we were staying, we could see a thick fog bank squatting over the Strait in the distance. Olympic’s kayaking tours are famous for their scenery and wildlife. I hoped the fog wouldn’t be a hindrance to seeing these sights on our trip.

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