Historic Canoe trip on Lake Mills

Story and Photo by Andy Sallee, Sequim, WA

Andy's brother Mike Sallee beside canoe on Lake Mills

Andy’s brother Mike Sallee beside canoe on Lake Mills

Andy Sallee sent in this wonderful story about his canoe trip from years ago. Andy says, "I'll miss Lake Mills when it’s gone and look forward to sharing stories about it with my grandchildren." Thanks for preserving a slice of history, Andy. - The Incidental Explorer

Summer 1997. Our Adventure started on a beautiful morning at Lake Mills, which is located on the North side of the Olympic Mountain range in Washington State. My brother, Mike and I had paddled a old canoe on this lake years earlier as teenagers and decided it was time to go back twenty years later to the lake we had remembered so fondly and take a day trip in my new Hilderbrand canoe. As far as I know there were only about ten of these canoes manufactured. My canoe is a fiberglass composite with cedar strip gunnels and seats. It is 17 feet long, and weighs 56 lbs. It is a yellow vessel for good visibility on the water. It is the coolest canoe anyone could ever have. I have paddled many miles in this boat on lakes, bays, and rivers. It is easy for me to say it has been my most cherished material possession.

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In the Footsteps of Admirals and Promoters:
Fishing for the Beardslee Trout

Story and Photos by Bret Wirta – The Incidental Explorer

“The hardest fighting fish, the gamiest fish, in all the world is the Lake Crescent Beardslee.” – E. B. Webster.

June 1st 2013

It was opening day of trout season on Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park. I dressed quietly in the grayness of the early morning, slipped on my fishing vest and crept down the creaky stairs and through the dark lobby in my stocking feet. I laced up my boots on the front porch of Lake Crescent Lodge. I was hoping I’d catch a rare Beardslee Trout, I just didn’t want to catch the very last one.

I walked half a mile through a forest path to the boat landing at the Storm King Ranger’s Station. There my fishing guide Sean from Waters West, and my friend Robert were waiting for me. We pushed off from the dock onto the big, deep lake. Robert was sitting in the bow, I was sitting in the stern and Sean was rowing at the gunnels. It was calm in the early morning. The cool air was thick and moist. There were only a few cabins and houses on the far shore. Most of the shoreline was mountains covered in big firs that rose straight up from the edge of the water and where wisps of clouds floated among their peaks. High above was a flat-gray sky, but blue-green Lake Crescent refused to reflect the slate color, such was the lake’s powerful beauty.

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Anderson Pass 2013

Story and Photos by Bret Wirta – The Incidental Explorer

Distance: 35 miles – Time out: Three days

Degree of Difficulty: 3 – Elevation: 4,464 ft.

Pet Friendly: No

June 2, 2013

I loved hiking over Anderson Pass in Olympic National Park. This three day journey has it all; lush lowland forests, subalpine terrain and a snow choked pass if you are crazy enough to hike it early in the spring. I appreciated the wilderness and the solitude, more so since early park planners had wanted to build a highway over Anderson Pass. My Anderson Pass adventure began far down in the Dosewallips River valley where until 2002 you could drive your automobile up the road to the Dosewallips Campground. That year a storm washed away a big hunk of highway 5.5 miles below the campground. A passionate debate whether to repair the Dosewallips Road followed. This debate over the Dosewallips Road was part of the bigger battle that was fought in Olympic National Park for half a century: should roads be cut through the park that would give tourists greater access, like over Anderson Pass, or should we leave the wilderness alone?

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Storm King Trail

Story by Patrick Wu

Photos by Patrick Wu and Bret Wirta

Roundtrip distance: 4 miles – Time out: ~3 hours

Elevation gain: 2000 ft – Degree of difficulty: 2

June 1st 2013

Lake Crescent Lodge

Lake Crescent Lodge

For those wanting to get some beautiful views of the Olympics without having to commit too much time to any one hike, Storm King Trail near Lake Crescent is a great option; short enough to complete in a morning or an afternoon, and steep and physically demanding enough to make you feel like you really earned it once you’ve reached the overlook. At the overlook you’ll find incredible views of the lake and valley below. Your total time on the trail could easily vary by an hour either way depending on the traveling speed of your party, as the large majority of the two mile one-way trip consists of steep switchbacks, and some may want to spend more time relaxing at the summit than others. In any case, I would certainly recommend this short hike to the overlook of Mount Storm King to anyone seeking a classic view of Lake Crescent who doesn’t mind sweating a little bit on his or her way up!

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