Grand Pass Backpacking Adventure

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: 12 miles – – Time: Two Days

Elevation gain: 2,400 ft.

Bret’s Difficulty Rating: Class 2

August 23rd and 24th, 2011.

Obstruction Point to Grand Pass

Grand Pass in Olympic National Park is aptly named; the view of the headwall from the valley floor is a most grand and beautiful sight. Of course it helped that the weather was perfect, the wildflowers prolific and I was hiking with an old friend. We also enjoyed meeting a couple of unique Olympic National Park animals.

Joel and I began our Olympic hike with a long windy drive up to the Obstruction Point trail head. Thanks to my car and not our feet we were already over 6.000 feet above sea level. The beginning of the hike was an easy stroll along the Lillian Ridge trail. Driving a car to the top of the trail seemed like cheating. But I needn’t have worried; the exertion of hiking from the valley floor to the lip of Grand Pass later that afternoon made up for any easy hiking earlier in the day.

We began hiking at around ten. What was a morning of rain in Port Angeles turned into the bluest sky at the trailhead. We packed away our rain hats and windbreakers soon after we began walking along the treeless Lillian Ridge.
Continue reading “Grand Pass Backpacking Adventure” »

Thirty-Hour Lake and Sea Mini-Vacation

Thirty-Hour Lake and Sea Mini-Vacation

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

August 16th and 17th 2011

My family, Trish, Becca, Garrett and I were hoping to take a long backpacking trip along the ocean beaches of the Olympic National Park this summer, but because of our son’s summer job and my daughter’s early college start-up our vacation time was whittled to just a little over a day. The challenge was to fit as much fun as we could on the Olympic Peninsula in that brief time.

We left Seattle around 6am so by sometime after 9am we’d arrived at our destination, Salt Creek County Park, a quiet campground located on a bluff above the Strait of Juan De Fuca. We pitched our cabin tent and then went beachcombing. It was foggy, so thick that the kids and I didn’t notice a pillar of an island crowned with a small forest directly in front of us until Trish pointed it out. Where the cliffs jutted out into the sea we walked through a cleft in the rocks into a misty cove. We marveled at the abundant sea life attached to the rocks, living in pools and drifting in with the tide. We explored about, not paying attention to the incoming tide until it cut off our beach exit. We climbed up the rocks and walked back along the wooded bluff above.

Continue reading “Thirty-Hour Lake and Sea Mini-Vacation” »

Mt. Townsend and Silver Lake Loop Backpacking Adventure

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: 13 mile loop

Time: Two Days

Elevation gain: 3,350 ft.

Bret’s Difficulty Rating: Class 2

August 2nd -3rd, 2011

Hiking to the summit

Sequim Washington receives lots of sunshine because the Olympic Mountains block moisture-laden clouds traveling inland off the Pacific Ocean, but it wasn’t until I hiked up and over the knife-edge summit of Mt. Townsend that I actually experienced a rain-shadow effect up-close and in action.

Because of unusually deep snow covering the trail, I couldn’t reach the summit of Mt. Townsend when I tried hiking up on the first day of summer, so six weeks later I decided to try again using a different route and enlisting a buddy. Chris is fit friend that I admire. He’s seven years older than me and plays soccer against twenty-year-olds. Chris last strapped on a backpack 23 years ago but said no problem to a hike up Mt. Townsend and overnight at Silver Lake in the Olympic National Forest.

Continue reading “Mt. Townsend and Silver Lake Loop Backpacking Adventure” »

Silver Lake

Starting through an old clear-cut

Starting through an old clear-cut

Silver Lake – August 3, 2011

By John Woolley

Near the very end of FS Road 2870 at the crossing of Silver Creek is the way trail to Silver Lake. The trail is not an easy one, and has long been the shortcut route to Silver Lake for Sequim folk. The long drive up the Dungeness will eventually be shortened by 1.5 miles as the last part of the road is planned for decommission. The hike will then start near the current Tubal Cane parking lot.
The 2870 road crosses Silver Creek about .5 miles before it ends in a recovering clear cut from the sixties.

When we arrive mid-day Wednesday, there are 5 vehicles were at the trailhead. Nancy and I immediately meet the owner of Sequim’s two big bookends motels and his friend who are waiting for a ride after backpacking for an overnight at Silver Lake, starting from the Sink Hole Trail on the east side of Mt. Townsend. Nancy and I mentioned we were checking on recreational use, including evidence of dog use.

Continue reading “Silver Lake” »