Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hiking the Olympic Penninsula

Toleak Point

While in Seattle Fiona was nice enough to allow me to go hiking for three days with my cousins Ben, Greg, and my good friend Mike Tull. We had originally planned to hike in the Alpine Wilderness Foss Lakes, but the snow level in the Cascades was still too low so we decided to hike part of the Coastal Trail on the Olympic Penninsula. We hiked the lower half of the trail from La Push to Oil City. It's a beautiful route through protected wildlife refuge in the Olympic National Forest.
Left to right: Zachariah, Mike, Greg, Ben


Second Beach

The hike is mostly on the beach, you have to time your route around the tides which can be interesting. Most of the time we were fine, but we almost missed our window for the last rounding point on the last day.

Left to right: Greg, Mike and Ben hiking towards Toleak Point

The first day we camped at Toleak Point. We met some other campers there from Utah, kind of random. Several of them were professors from BYU. Anyways, when we got to Toleak the tide was coming in but we really wanted to go out to some of the small islands made available at low tide. We made it a ways out but the water had already risen enough that it wasn't completely passable. We tried to wade at that point but the water was too cold, my watch said it was 53 degrees.

When Ben, Greg and I were kids we would go camping on the Oregon coast in the summers at Brookings beach. There are a bunch of tidal pools there and one year when we were like 12 we found out that Sea Anemones will sting your lips so we would have contests to see who could keep their face in an Anemone the longest. Ben pursuaded Mike to give it a try, Ben still held out the longest.

In some places the trail leads off of the beach to go around points where the water never recedes enough to hike around. A lot of the egress points from the beach are up cliffs or really steep banks so the rangers have set up some ropes and precarious make shift log steps that you have to use to climb up and down.

Zachariah climbing down

Greg climbing up from the beach

There are also a couple of small rivers you have to ford. The map has warnings saying that they are dangerous and sometimes impassable especially at high tide, but other then Ben (who soaked his feet every day in sneaker waves and other random acts of nature) none of us got wet.

Mike fording the great river

The second day we made our way from Toleak Point to Boulder creek where we built a sweet fort instead of setting up a tent.

Then we spent the rest of the afternoon following Boulder creek inland. We followed some game trails through the crazy thick bushes which led around the creek. We even found some cougar tracks mixed in with the deer and raccoon. The bushes were so thick that it was hard to see where we were going, Mike fell in a hole almost as deep as he is tall.

And then we found a cool swamp with hidden firm spots. Ben led us through like a good Golem.

Greg and Ben using a tree to cross part of the swamp

The last day we missed the trail leading up into the woods and around Hoh head. We backtracked for almost an hour and still couldn't find it so we had to climb up through a ravine until we crossed the trail. On the way up Mike fell in a nasty bog and had a terrible time trying to get himself out while we were trying to get camera's out to take pictures (unfortunately I don't have any).

Because of the delay though we ended up getting to the last rounding point at almost high tide. We didn't want to wait 5 hours for the next change in tides so we went ahead and rounded the point by finding ledges and bouldering until we came around to sand again. The rest of mine and Mikes pictures are available in Picasa.

I think we all probably gained weight on this hike. It was about 20 miles total, but with virtually no elevation gain and decent temperatures we just didn't burn all the calories from the dried food. Oh well. Interestingly, Ben had all of his own homemade dried meals, not just dried fruit but actual full meals. Ben has some crazy food allergies to anything derived from corn which includes any meat from grain fed livestock so he pretty much can't eat any processed food. So my Aunt Rochelle made him dinners and breakfasts from non processed foods he can eat and then dried them all. His food was better then my Mountain House. Aunt Rochelle look for my order for the Mt. Rainier climb next summer...

12 comments:

Gary Patrick Ricker said...

Looks like you had a good time...nice fort. Also, I'm not surprised that you'd let yourself get stung like that, sounds like a 'Zach' thing to do.

Rochelle said...

You know I'm astoundingly jealous I didn't get to go on this. It sure looks fun! I'm glad you think my meals were so cool...they were just regular meals we eat at home and then dehydrated...anyone could do the same. Thanks for the pics! I LOVE the fort...I LOVE sleeping in sand...I LOVE adventure with other fellow crazies!

Rob and Erin said...

Wow Zac! What a fun hike. I would love to do something like that. And so beautiful too. Great Pictures! So nice of Fiona to let you go :0)

Tara Milligan said...

Zac, that sounds so fun (except for the sleeping outside part...) your fort is way cool, and the log 'stairs' the rangers built look fun. My husband was jealous of all the fun you were having...

fiona said...

Wow. Just gorgeous! how come when you and I go backpacking for days we have HUGE elevation gains and I want to never speak to you again, yet when I stay home you do something like this? Hmmm... Oh well, at least I got Girls' Night! Swimming pool whirlpools are awesome! Also, I'm glad no bears were mortared. And cool roof-less fort. Okay, I'm done! ;) Love you!

Andrew said...

I wish I could have been there, I've been on that hike twice and loved it both times. I wanna go next time!

Ben said...

Ahhh good times!!

Your camera takes such nice pictures!!!


To bad you didn't get the quicksand shot. You need to get Greg to email you a photo!

Kurt & Sylvia said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the picture near the top of this blog post with the three of you hiking along the beach with packs on looks exactly like the place where the final scenes from "The Goonies" (one of my most favorite movies ever!) was filmed. Was it? So cool!!! Did you see Chunk and Slough? - Kurt

zachariah said...

Actually the Goonies beach is about 200 miles south of this one, but close. I love that movie. We may have actually had a Chunk sighting though...

pauline said...

I loved reading about this adventure Zac.... it did look rigorous though, but that makes it fun and challenging :) love, Dad & Mom R xox

Megan and Greg said...

That sure was a fun trip. I can't wait until the next!

--Greg

P.S. A big thanks to Fiona for letting Zac steal away with us for a few days!

Mike said...

This trip was great!!! I can't believe I got Ben'd more than Ben though...

Greg, we still need your pictures, I need to see how bad it looked to be stuck in the mud past my knees.

-Mike