Olympic Peninsula, WA

9/11.    The day after finishing the CDT Queen B and I spent our time in East Glacier relaxing, eating food, hanging out with other hikers and waiting for the train. It was cool because a lot of hikers were either just finishing up their hike or getting into town and about to go into Glacier NP. From East Glacier we took an overnight Amtrak to Seattle. I’ve never taken a long distance train and the ‘Empire Builder’ runs from Chicago to Seattle and I guess has a lot of history. It was a relaxing way to travel. There was a half dozen other hikers so for awhile we hung out together in the observation car. Back in the seat I was able to spread out better than I would on a plane and got some halfway decent sleep. It was something like a 15 hour ride though so even though it was fun and comfortable I think I would still prefer a flight. Supposedly

9/12     When we got into Seattle I heard from Little Spoon and Moaglee who were spending the day in the city before flying to Alaska that night. QB and I met up with them for lunch and got all caught up on each other’s hikes since we last saw them about a month ago. After lunch we had to run a couple errands in town then took the light rail south of the city and got picked up at the train station by our friend Malibu. We went out for Hawaiian food in West Seattle and walked around Lincoln Park. Mali put us up in his van for the night and I slept so hard! Met up with Moaglee and Little Spoon when our paths crossed in SeattleMalibu’s sweet van/spare bedroomMali

9/13     In the morning Malibu cooked a delicious breakfast casserole then dropped us off at the ferry terminal in downtown Seattle. We took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island then did a little walking before catching a hitch for about a dozen miles in a tiny Smart Car. Our next hitch was from Andy, a Seattle Firefighter, who makes a 2.5 hr commute from his home in Port Angeles. It was a great ride! He brought us exactly where we needed to go; the ranger station in PA. We got set up with permits for a couple nights on the Olympic Coast then resupplied, ate a late lunch, and started making our way towards Rialto Beach. A county bus drove us down some windy roads towards Forks for a couple hours before letting us out and we got a ride in the back of a pickup the rest of the way. We got to the beach right around sunset and walked a mile north on the coast before camping. It was awesome! Beautiful sunset and a very nice night camping in the woods just next to the beach. A gigantic shipSeattle waterfront on the ferry going towards Bainbridge IslandRialto Beach 

9/14     Today was a great day. I did a backpacking trip along this coast in the spring of ’14 and loved it. Since then I’ve always wanted to come back. Today we walked north for about 20 miles along beaches, tide pools, and rocky coastline. There’s a bunch of headlands that we had to get out and around which can be dangerous at high tide so using a tide chart and doing a little paying attention was important. In a few places we had to go inland a little bit and hike overland even using some ropes and in a couple places crawling through natural tunnels. The weather was absolutely perfect today, not a cloud in the sky with a cool ocean breeze once in awhile and warm enough to jump into the ocean for an afternoon dip. A few years ago when I was out here I saw a ton of bald and golden eagles. Although we only saw one bald eagle today, there were a bunch of other animal sightings. We saw two black bears at different times walking out on the coast eating seaweed or whatever. A few deer, 4 sea otters, a close encounter with a seal and a bunch of dead stuff that washed up on shore including an octopus, a seal, 2 sea lions, and some kind of shark or something.  Around sunset we found ourselves a campsite in some woods next to the ocean. For the second night in a row I fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing against the shore. A man among buoys

9/15     From our campsite by the beach we walked about a mile north to Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the Continental U.S. We followed a trail inland for about 3 miles through a forest and came out at the Ozette Lake trailhead. The ranger in Port Angeles the other day told us this was a busy trailhead and we shouldn’t have trouble getting a ride out. Dude didn’t know what he was talking about. After 4 hours of relaxing by the roadside we got picked up by the 4th car that passed us. No big deal, there was a blackberry bush nearby that kept me busy and a huge bald eagle soared overhead. It was another firefighter that ended up driving us about 20 miles to the intersection with the busier rt 112. As we were getting dropped off, the bus to Forks was pulling up. Perfect timing! During the 40 minute ride to Forks we picked up a hiker and immediately I thought he looked familiar. It was Funjumper, I met him in Belden, CA in ’15. He didn’t remember me and may have even doubted that I remembered him until I recalled that he was from Quebec. Anyway he just finished the Pacific Northwest Trail that goes 1200 miles starting in Glacier and ending out here on the coast. When we got into Forks the town was bumping with Twilight fans, they were having some kind of festival for the book series. QB and I got some Chinese food then resupplied at a supermarket before putting our thumbs out to get out of town. After a couple minutes, Stephanie picked us up and drove us about 40 minutes down the coast. As we were driving by the ocean we saw a bunch of cars pulled over and looking out towards the water. From her car we could see whales breaching and raising their fins out of the water. Stephanie pulled over and the 3 of us walked down to the beach to get a better look. We saw a bunch of what we learned were grey whales close to shore and what they were doing was scraping barnacles off their backs on the ground. So cool! I guess it’s very rare. QB and I got a ride a little ways further to Kalaloch CG which was full but luckily had a hiker walk-in site.like 12 blackberries see that fin out there? I swear it’s a grey whale you can walk right under this tree 

9/16     After we packed up this morning we walked down to the beach again to check on the whales. Still there, doing their thing. We ate some breakfast burritos at a gas station, then walked over to get some info at the Kalaloch ranger station. Ideally I’d like to do a traverse of the whole Olympic park but they’re getting some serious rain in the next few days so we might do a shorter hike in case we have to bail early. Since we can only get permits from certain ranger stations we had to hitch south to Quinault. We got a 30 minute ride from Paul and Ron to exactly where we needed to go and got things taken care of. The rangers at Quinault were former thru hikers and much more helpful. From Quinault we had to get back up north to the Hoh rain forest. Oatmeal, a ranger and former thru hiker, drove us for about an hour then Elsie, a Belgian woman on holiday, brought us the rest of the way. I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; as long as there are cars, hitching with QB is pretty easy. From the Hoh visitor center we walked 10 miles along a nice flat trail through an incredible rain forest. It’s green, mossy, and the trees are enormous. I can show you pictures but you really have to see it for yourself. We got to the Olympus Guard Station where there’s a bunch of sites and called it a day. Really hoping the rain holds off or at least isn’t too bad.swam here in the Hoh River this tree fell down and became a bridgesee? 

9/17     This morning we blasted up a long 7 mile climb to the High Divide. The weather was cool and cloudy until we got to the top and it got a bit more rainy and the clouds were moving in. Even with the weather we still had some great views of Mt Olympus and the Olympic range. There is some seriously beefy mountains over here. We hiked through 7 lakes basin and down to a beautiful lush green forest with giant trees. Oh and I saw 10 black bears today! All from a distance but they were everywhere. From the forest we had another stiff climb up to Appleton Pass and up there it started to rain a little harder and get colder. I knew I had hot springs waiting for me at the end of the day but the last 5 miles down from the pass were cold and wet. Not my favorite weather. At the Boulder Creek campsite we met and ate supper with Dustbunny and Tickled Pink, who are about a hundred miles from finishing their thruhike of the PNT. It was fun to hear about their hike and that trail and since they’ve also hiked the CDT and PCT we knew some of the same people. After we got set up and ate we walked down to the Olympic Hot Springs. Finally I could warm up. These springs were awesome! There’s like 7 or 8 rock pools that are built up around natural springs and most are pretty hot. After a cold rainy day this is exactly what I needed. Hoh Lakeso many black bears!beefy Olympic MountainsHigh DivideSeven Lakes Basinloving this forestbut it can be hard to see it through all these treesso green!Olympic Hot Springs

9/18     Overnight it rained and my tent didn’t do a great job keeping me dry. I was cold and didn’t sleep that well but I didn’t have much to do and was close to the hot springs so I could just go relax in those all day. It was really nice. A perfect day to just sit and soak in the warm sulfury smelling water. It’s only a 2 or 3 mile trail from a trailhead parking lot so besides the people that are camped at the Boulder Creek site, a fair amount of people just walk the short hike in from their cars. We met some cool people and had a lot of fun just doing nothing all day. I didn’t want to get out of the hot water and my hands and feet got so pruned up that I worried if they would ever go back to normal. We could have stayed another night but since everything was soaked we made a quick decision to pack up and walk out around 5pm. At the trailhead we got a hitch from a couple from Montana that brought us about a half hour to Port Angeles where we found a cheap motel for the night. Hot springs are good for the soul, but everybody knows that

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