7 Days & 6 Nights in the Olympic National Park

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As many already know, I recently returned from a week-long hike through a small section of the Olympic National Park with a group of great new friends. Now that it is all done, I have got to say, it will definitely be one of my most memorable hikes. I experienced lots of “firsts” on this hike, and was pushed in a way that I have not been pushed on the trail before. Of course, I enjoyed meeting the rest of the group, as well as the new landscape I was standing on. It was beyond awesome standing on the top of a few different mountain peaks and having 360* views as far as I could see… even into another country!

So, to begin with, I jumped on a plane in Memphis and headed to Salt Lake City, had a bit of a layover, then made my way to Seattle. Grant Sible & Dave Cutherell (from Gossamer Gear) kindly picked me up from the airport and gave me a lift back to our hotel. Trinity & Liz Thomas (AKA: Snorkel) were already at the hotel in their own room. My flight was late, so we decided to get some sleep since we needed to wake up early the next morning.

Salt Lake City Airport
(And for those that may remember my dilemma about figuring out how to get my gear to my final destination… Well, I did have a slight scare when I realized that my bag did not arrive on the flight with me! But, I was relieved to find out that it actually arrived on an earlier flight! So, luckily I was able to pick up my checked gear at the baggage claim booth!)

Anyway, the next morning, we got up, savored one last shower (the last for the next 7 days), and then headed out to get some of the continental breakfast from the hotel lobby, and meet with the girls. After filling our tummies and exchanging hello’s, we loaded up in the van and finally headed towards Port Angeles to meet with the rest of the group.

A few hours later we arrived at Barefoot Jake’s farm. Shortly after Jeff Knesebeck & Jesse O’ Rourke showed up. Again, we all introduced ourselves, then Jake showed us around his farm. After a bit we all headed inside and got down to business. We spread out a map of the Olympic National Park on his dining table and started going through all the different route options. After a good bit of talk we finally decided on a route, then checked our gear one more time, loaded it up, and headed out.

(A quick note here, Barefoot Jake essentially guided us on this trip. A number of folks have messaged me since, and asked me for more info about this loop, or others, in the Olympics… If you’re interested in hiking in the Olympics, check out THIS LINK that Jake has created on his site to get you started.)

On the way out, we stopped at a Pho restaurant for one last meal. It was here that I was first introduced to “Vietnamese Cuisine” & Bubble Tea.  I gotta say, it was interesting, and good… however, I was expecting something a bit different when I ordered Bubble Tea… Not that it wasn’t good, it was actually rather good, I just expected something with more actual bubbles…

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Once our stomachs were satisfied, we loaded up in the vehicles once again and headed to the Backcountry office to get our permits. Thankfully, this was an easy enough task, and soon enough, we were actually headed into the backcountry… Permit in hand and packs all packed up… our shoes were clean, as were our clothes… but, it didn’t take long to remedy this though!

Before starting our hike, Jake took us to the top of Blue Mountain, where we were able to get our first 360* views. It was a short hike up to the top of the mountain, but well worth it. We snapped some photos (like the one of the group directly below) and breathed in the air… it was time to go…

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After coming back down from Blue Mountain, we moved our vehicles farther down the mountain to Deer Park, then jumped out and straped on our packs. The time had come!

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Before I knew it, we were actually on our hike, and making our way down the Three Forks Trail. Being that it was all down hill, we made quick work of these first few miles, and before we knew it we were at the Three Forks Shelter, however, this was not our final destination for the night… our final destination was just a hair farther down the trail at the Gray Wolf Campsite area.

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Once we arrived at our campsite, we all began the typical routine of scouting out the best spot for our shelters, and just making ourselves at home for the night. We actually ended up splitting up the group with half of us on one side of the river and the other half on the other side of the river, but, being the professionals that we all are, it didn’t take us long to get everything all set-up! Not that the plush ground with lots of cushy flat spots had anything to do with it…

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That night we made a small campfire in the fire ring and sat around talking amongst one another. Many of us were meeting for the first time, so sitting around the campfire on a clear night was a great opportunity for us all to get to no one another a little better. As the night drew on though, we all started retreating to our shelters to get our first night of rest out under the stars… As I climbed into my own shelter I laid there for a while just listening to the noises of the forest, and the flow of the river not too far from my tent… life was good… and then I was out…

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The next morning was the start of our first full day in the wilderness. As usual, we all started about our own camp chores in our own routine. Get dressed, preparing breakfast, tearing down our shelters and then finally packing everything back up into our backpacks. Soon enough we were on the trail again.

The second day we had planned to stay in the Cedar Lake area. After hiking a ways down the trail, we came to a shelter that had been burned down, however, we decided to stop here for a quick break and to eat some food. It was here that we were trying to decide whether or not to head up the side trail to Cedar Lake, or to continue on for a little ways. While we were here another couple hiked in from the direction we were heading. After talking with them for a bit we found out that farther up the main trail there was actually a boot path that lead up to some unnamed lakes (or tarns) and actually dropped in on the backside of Cedar Lake. So, we decided to find the boot path, and then find a nice spot near one of these tarns to set-up camp, and then for those that wanted, they could continue on and check out Cedar Lake.

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Sure enough, just down the trail, we came across the boot path that cut off the main trail, so we took off. Then just over a little hill I came across my first ever mountain lake (or tarn). It was awesome! Not only did I see the tarn, but also the snow field that was feeding the tarn on the side of the mountain! I was so excited… I loved it. Then following the path even farther, we encountered a few more tarns before finally settling on a spot to set up camp. Cedar Lake was not far from us, just over a pass a little higher up from where we were camped. I will admit, while some went to check out the lake, I stayed behind…

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We were expecting rain to hit us on this day, so I wanted to be sure I had a good spot picked out, and had all of my stuff tucked away. I had heard horror stories of the rain in the PNW, and wasn’t sure what to expect (despite being from the wet & soggy Southeast!) Thankfully though, the rain held off until well after we had already went to bed. However, before hitting the sack another awesome moment happened… Jake and I were still up, standing between our tents just talking and he suddenly pointed out a silhouette of a huge buck walking about 100 feet from us. We watched as the buck walked all the way around our camp, and then finally back up the mountain from which it had obviously came. Then, just before crawling into my own warm bed, I noticed another deer, this time a doe, not too far from me. I stood there and watched it for a while before finally heading off into my own shelter…

We experienced another excellent night! As I tucked myself in, the sky was filled with stars, which reflected in the tarns around our campsite… and the thought of the deer circling our camp was awesome. It was just amazing, and I ate it up, as I drifted off…

The next thing I knew I awoke to the sound of rain hitting my tarp, however, I was not worried. Luckily, I had set my Hexamid and Hexanet up with the back into the wind, and I was dry. I rolled over, listened to the rain for a bit longer, and wondered where the deer were now… eventually I put my ear plugs in and dozed off again. After this, I didn’t wake back up until the sun was coming up.

The next morning, the rain came and went in spurts for a while, but that was ok. We each hung out in our own shelters for a while, then we each started coming out, one at a time. Eventually, we had each come out of our shelters, and again, went about doing our morning routines… The rain still came and went for a while, but eventually it cleared out and the sun peeked out from behind the clouds.

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Later that day, we climbed Gray Wolf Pass and made our way onto the PNT, and began following the Dosewallips River west. When we came to Bear Camp we decided to stop for a lunch break. There was also a newly rebuilt shelter here, and even a privy, which some of us took advantage of. We even met a couple down at the shelter that had helped to rebuild the Bear Camp Shelter after the previous one had simply fell apart.

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Once we were all satisfied, we pressed on to the Dose Meadows shelter area. We stopped here and took a few photos of the Marmots that littered the field. They were everywhere! Stretched out on random rocks, in the field chewing on grass and popping in and out of the thousands of holes punched in the ground.

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After hanging with the Marmots for a while, we continued a little farther down the PNT, however, it was around this area that we were beginning slowing down a little due to all the blueberry bushes we were coming along. Before we knew it we were standing on a nice, wide, trail with thick blueberry bushes lining both sides, and there we were, leaned over them… turning our fingers and our lips purple… It was hard to stop eating them… they were so good, and so abundant… no wonder all the bears love them so much! YUM…

Anyway, once we were able to pull away from the lure of the blueberry bushes, just a little farther up the trail, we took an old, worn, boot path again leading off the trail, up and over another pass. Then, finally, we were all standing on a pass, looking out over Thousand Acre Meadows… it was beautiful! Sorry folks, I cannot do it justice in a description, and even in the photos, all I can say is ya gotta get there and check it out. Beautiful place.

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We explored around and finally found a suitable spot that we all easily fit in. It was up on a bench which overlooked the entire area, not to mention, Sentinel Peak that towered not too far away. We set up our camp here and settled in, after all, we were going to be here for 2 nights! Time to explore!

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Again, the night started out clear, but eventually turned to rain and wind. And again, my shelter had luckily been oriented in just the right direction. The wind came from behind me, so my Hexamid shed it easily. As well, the front opened up to a grand view of the Meadows beneath me, and a large unnamed peak just to the side of me. Again, it was beautiful. This was a great spot to rest for 2 nights… and rest I did! These first 4 nights out I slept better than I ever had in the wilderness, and went to sleep with far grander views than I had before.

Waking up on the bench just above the meadows on our 4th morning, I found that the rain pattern was starting to trend. The mornings would start out rainy, but would eventually go away as the morning turned into noon. As night would fall, we would have clear skies for a while, but the rain would return about the time I fell asleep. I gotta admit, this was a pretty good trend so far…

On the 4th day, after we all had breakfast and got up, we then packed up all of our smellables. We left our camp set-up, then took off down the scree-slope that lead from the bench we were camped on down into the meadows. Once down into the meadows, we made our way to the opposite side and explored. We found some nice waterfalls, however, they weren’t flowing on high. Following them up we came across a few tarns in a variety of sizes. Eventually we had made our way back to one of the walls and sat around the larger tarn there, then climbed to the peaks above the tarn. From there we simply skirted along the peaks until we were finally dumped back out at our camp.

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Once back at camp, we all began settling back in and then preparing our dinners and reflecting on the adventures we had experienced earlier that day… then again, we all sat there into the night talking amongst ourselves… Just enjoying it… just luvin it! Eventually we did as we always did and crawled back into our own shelters for the night, however, not much (if any) rain came during the night that I am aware of. But, a heavy dew did set early the night before, so everything was still pretty wet. Although, as I was waking up the next morning there was a little rain falling…

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Again, we all got up and got packed up. We began hiking the 5th day by making our way back down the scree-slopes and into the Thousand Acre Meadows again. This time though we headed to the low-end and cut back to the PNT following some faint game trails. Once getting back to the PNT, we decided to head up to Hayden Pass, and then finally up to Sentinel Peak, which Jake claims is one of the best views in the park… and while I haven’t seen but just a little, I have got to admit, the view standing atop Sentinel Peak is outstanding, and I am glad that I pushed myself to climb to the top. Definitely worth it!

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After taking in the views, we headed back down, and then backtracked to the Dose Meadows. Here, we again took advantage of the privy, ate some food and refilled our water in preparation of climbing to the top of Lost Pass. I will admit, this was a daunting climb for me… 1,100 feet up in only 0.9 miles! I will admit, it was a tough climb, and I was glad to finally make it to the top. I can’t say that I have climbed anything that steep, that distance before in my hiking experience… and this wasn’t even the last pass of the day!

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After getting to the top of Lost Pass we had a quick group meeting to decide which route we wanted to continue on from at this point: the high route, or the low route. Due to the weather (which means it actually started raining on us while we were on top of Lost Pass making our decision) we decided for the low route. This meant we had to drop down into the Lost Basin, only to immediately climb back up to Cameron Pass (I can’t remember off the top of my head the mileage and elevation, but let me just tell you, it was another butt kicker… for me at least!)

After getting my butt handed to me for the third time that day, we (or should I say: I) finally made it to the top of Cameron Pass, and guess what… I then began very quickly descending down into the Cameron Basin! This was a very steep descent, and on some loose scree at that. It really was cool though… the landscape kind of looked like what I would imagine the moon would look like… Everything was grey, and just rock, at least up towards the pass. As we made our way into the basin, things started turning green again… and even a few splashes of brighter colors! However, what made this super awesome is that as we were coming down into the basin, we spotted a rainbow in which both ends were actually in the same basin! I have never been able to start at the ground of one end of a rainbow and follow it all the way around to the other end at the ground, but this time I could! Again… can I just say beautiful! (And no, there was no pot of gold at either end!)

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By the time we made it to our camp in the Cameron Basin, I was tired. We had climbed 3 big passes (to me) in one day, and they kicked my butt. Not to mention the clouds had gotten off their normal routine and was coming earlier in the day rather than at night after I was all tucked in, warm and dry. At camp, we set up, then went about our chores. A few turned in a bit early, but a few of us still stayed up into the night, talking with each other and having a good time. Finally though, we all eventually said good night…

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The next morning was the same, a bit wet with intermittent rain showers. After everyone was all packed up continued making our way through the Cameron Basin and finally up to Grand Pass, which as you may have guessed, I would again describe as another butt kicker! Climbing to the top of the pass, we went up 2,500 feet in 1.8 miles… Folks, this is pretty steep as far as I am concerned, and the thing is, it doesn’t let up! It just keeps going as a steep grade… Definitely not what I am used to! But, I did it, and it was great!

After getting to the top of Grand Pass, a few of us slackpacked to Grand Peak. Here again, the views were outstanding, and worth the climb. However, I will admit, it was nice being able to leave my pack at the pass (with some others that stayed behind), not to mention that Jake bribed us with fully intact OREO’s! Either way though, I am glad I made it to the top…

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After we came back down to the pass and reunited with the rest of the group, we continued on, down into Grand Valley. At the base of Moose Mountain, we refilled all of our water vessels and then began the quick ascent up Low Pass. Once we were on top of Low Pass, we followed another boot path to a small basin in the pass. Here, we decided to set-up camp and spend our last night in the Olympics.

After setting up, we all went up to a nice overlook and sat down, eating our last dinners. As the day faded into night, Jake told us stories of some of his recent adventures in the park, and soon after the rain began again. While some stayed out under the protection of their Chrome Dome’s, I decided to head back to my tent for the night. This was the earliest that I had retreated to my tent during the entire hike, but after the 5 passes in the last 2 days, I was a little tired, so didn’t mind laying in my tent one more night listening to the rain patter down on my Hexamid for a little while…

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That night I didn’t sleep as well as I had any of the 5 previous nights, however, it still wasn’t terrible. It just so happened that on this night, my tarp was not oriented in the most optimum direction, meaning the wind gusts coming over the pass were blowing right into the front of my shelter, rather than being deflected by the back wall! By the time the winds had picked up, I had already been asleep for a bit, but they quickly woke me up. Not to mention the thunder I heard in the distance, and the occasional lightning strikes that would briefly light up the sky! For a while I was quite afraid that as the wind gusts filled my shelter, surely some of my stakes would come loose and my tarp would fall, so I must say that the next morning I was very relieved to find that none of my stakes had even moved!

The next morning we got an earlier than normal start since we had more miles to put in so that we could make it back to our vehicles, and then back to civilization in time for a good meal. Again, we had 2 options for our hike on the last day, a high route and a low route; we decided for the high route (which I was glad since the low route consisted of descending back down Low Pass, into Grand Valley, only to come back up ~ 3,000 feet to another pass to meet back up with the high route). So, leaving Low Pass, we hiked straight up the side of Moose Mountain… through the side-driven, cold rain…

Leaving Low Pass, there is a path that skirts up and around the side of Moose Mountain, however, we took on the mountain a bit more straight-forward… we just went straight up the side! It was a rather steep, but at least short, ascent. The quick climb was still a bit slippery though as we were climbing up wet, loose scree, and in some pretty fast winds at that. Once on top the wind only seemed to push harder, and the rain seemed to sting a bit more, but it was all good! At 6,753 feet, this is actually my highest point I have been to now, just beating out Clingman’s Dome!

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While the peak was fun, due to the weather, it was also quick. Due to the high winds and rain, we were starting to get pretty cold, so we kept going. We climbed up and over, and around the high peaks until making our way back to an official trail, and finally to Obstruction Peak. This area was likely one of my favorite spots we hiked… climbing along the spiny edges of the peaks, with drop offs to either side. At one point we even had a Class 2 scramble up a rocky chute that I found to be quite fun… despite my cold hands…

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As we got closer to the actual trail, the weather started clearing off, and eventually, the sun was again peaking through the clouds. Before we knew it we were on the PNT Alternate, and just had a few miles to go…

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We actually made it back to our vehicles early that afternoon. Then of course we loaded back up and headed back into town for a well-deserved super dinner! Jake took us to the Next Door GastroPub in Port Angeles… and well… the rest is history…

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After the hike, Jeff and his wife was kind enough to open their doors to allow me a place to stay for the next 2 days since my flight was not until Sunday night. But not only this, they also took me up to check out Mt Rainier at Sunrise, amongst a few other nice spots in the area, including the PCT! Then, Sunday, before heading to the airport we spent the day in Seattle, checking out places such as the flagship REI and even Feathered Friends!

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And that was it. After this, I headed back to the airport, then spent the entire night coming home…

It was a great trip, and I won’t soon forget it for sure. The west is a beautiful place, but I gotta admit, I was not as prepared for it as I thought I was. Climbing those passes was huge, and much different from what I have experienced here on the east coast, but despite the tired legs, I was super excited to be there and wouldn’t trade it for anything. As well, getting to meet everyone was very exciting. The folks I hiked with were some great people, and had each accomplished great feats in the hiking world, so it was definitely an honor.

And last but not least, I would like to give a huge shout out to Barefoot Jake. He was a most excellent guide. It didn’t matter where we were, he knew exactly where we were and provided the group with informed options as to where we were, or could go. He outlined an excellent hike and it couldn’t have went any better. I am definitely looking forward to meeting up with Jake again one day and hiking some more with him…

So, for those that prefer video to all the reading above, here is my video from the hike:

Thanks for stopping by everyone! Hope you enjoyed it at least a little…

~Stick~

Disclaimer: This hike began as talk between Jake & I, and was actually planned to be a hike along the Wonderland Trail. However, we didn’t get approved for our permits, so rather than chance an itinerary, we decided to go with something more sure, which was a multi-day hike in the Olympic National Park. As well, at this point, we decided to open the trip up to other Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassadors, even though a few of the people already on the list were not Ambassadors themselves. In the end, 6 of the 8 (including myself) that went were Trail Ambassadors. (Note that as of January 28th, 2014, I am no longer a Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador.)

Considering this, there were a number of pieces of prototype gear from Gossamer Gear on this hike. These items include (but are not limited to): shelters, packs, trekking poles & sleeping pads. If you noticed any of these items in my post above but do not see them on the Gossamer Gear site, then please know that they are not available, and may or may not be in the future.

 

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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58 Responses to 7 Days & 6 Nights in the Olympic National Park

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  3. Don Taylor says:

    Amazing trip report!! My friend and I are planning to do pretty much the exact same hike next week. Our only difference will be that when you guys camped and explored for a couple of days on the fourth and fifth nights, we are planning to push on and up to Gladys Lake (time constraints). I am so excited for this trip and even more so after reading your blog! Looks incredibly beautiful! Looking forward to the quiet and beauty!

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  5. Keith Mettie says:

    Stick ,
    Great trip report! Did you leave a car at Obstruction Point or did you hike from there to Deer Park that last day? I want to do this hike in mid August this year. I am wondering when you did your hike?

    Like

  6. swiftgirlhikes says:

    Very nice hike! Thank you for sharing. I saw above that you don’t have a map of the hike.. but how about this.. Do you know if there is a way to hike around the Olympic National Park? I have looked at maps and am not seeing it. Thanks again.

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    • Stick says:

      I’m sorry, but I am not familiar enough with the area to make any suggestions. I would suggest to contact Barefoot Jake though as he would likely be able to help you out with some info. Another option would be to try the park rangers, I’m sure the would be able to offer some suggestions as well.

      Good luck!

      ~Stick~

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  7. Daniel Cline says:

    Is there any way you could send me a pic of the map of your route? I really wanna go to the same places you did. I live in the rainier area, so it would be an easy trip. Please let me know if you could!
    Thank you!!

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    • Stick says:

      Daniel,

      I don’t have a map, and it’s been a while now, so I would hate to try to tell you the route… I would suggest contacting Jake from Barefoot Jake and talk with him. He knows the Olympics very well and was the brains behind planning out this trip!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Josh camp says:

      Jake was very helpful when I went out there in December. Although I didn’t get to stay out as long as Chad, it was a great trip. You will love it.

      Like

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  10. Wow what a great trip Chad. I do have to say I chuckled quite a bit when you said you never had Vietnamese food before or bubble tea.. Actually the Bubble Tea is a “Korean” Thing not a Vietnamese thing. They just sort of adopted it and sell it in a lot of asian business now. Nothing like sucking on a big fat diameter straw and choking down a gummy gelatin ball down your gullet. LoL. If you liked that food you will have to try Cambodian food or Thai when you come to the west coast. I can only imagine that the Vietnamese food was marginal out in Idaho compared to the west coast where we have the town of Saigon in Silicon Valley. You will have to try some Vietnamese soup next time as well or even some Korean Kimpah or BBQ. YOu have not lived until you have had indian food out here though.

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    • Stick says:

      I totally agree, it was a wonderful trip! I loved it so much… It was so unlike what I am used to so far, and I really enjoyed all the alpine exposure. It was beautiful, and I got to meet a great bunch of people.

      As for the food, and the “Bubble Tea”, that was pretty good too. I can’t say that I have ever had PHO… or the tea, and the tea is not what I expected… I expected bubbly tea! But, it was all pretty good, and I enjoyed it. I will eat it again if I am ever around one…

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      ~Stick~

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  11. thewildperspective says:

    Hey Stick,

    Wonderful post-trip report. I’m planning a hike in the same neighborhood next year and it was great to read through yours. I’m curious, do you know what tripod your buddy was using? The guy with the go-pro on his chest?

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    • Stick says:

      To be honest, I am not sure. When I asked him about it, he said it was just a cheapo one he found somewhere. He actually took a hack saw to it and moded it to meet his needs.

      ~Stick~

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  12. Eeyore says:

    In case you are interested, here is my trip report to Cedar Lake. My blog also includes other trips in the Olympics as well as the PCT.

    http://eeyorehikes.blogspot.com/2013/09/enjoying-cedar-lake.html

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Thanks for sharing. It was fun to read and look at the photos when I knew I was just there… Glad you had a great trip! Sounds relaxing!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  13. Steve says:

    Sounds like an amazing trip. The photos look incredible. Couldn’t help but notice the array of footwear choices among the group. One of the ladies appears to be wearing Altras, a shoe I am interested in. Were you happy with your footwear? Pics of the feet forwards the end tell me you might have been “feeling it”.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Steve,

      Yep, Liz was wearing Altra’s. As well, I have hiked with Brian Green, and for that particular hike, he also wore some. They seem to like them… I may have to look into some eventually, but I gotta say, I have been very pleased with my Inov-8’s…

      As for my feet on this hike, they did wonderful. Never had a hot spot, and they actually never gave me trouble. The photos I took were meant to show how pruned my feet were from hiking 5 days in wet shoes…

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Glad that you enjoyed the post.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  14. Eeyore says:

    I love that part of the park and have spent a lot of time in it, including a couple of days this past week at Cedar Lake.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      That was a fun area. The tarns that are up above Cedar Lake were my first “mountain lakes” (as I called them…) It was so awesome. It would be nice to be closer to that area and be able to head out anytime I wanted… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  15. Hi Chad, sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet up, but I was out with my daughter doing her graduation hikes. In fact our first hike was essentially the same one you did, only we started at Obstruction Point and proceeded in the opposite direction. It was fun looking at your pix as everything was very familiar. BTW, our first day went over Grand, Cameron and Lost passes to end up at Dose, a butt kicker for sure! Glad you could make it out west.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Steve,

      That is no problem, I understand. Maybe I will get to get up that way again and we can meet on that hike!

      That is cool that your hike was so similar to the one we just did. I must admit, I really enjoyed it. It was beautiful, and it was pretty cool getting to meet the guys & gals that went with us. A very fun crowd for sure!

      Also, I at least got to see Rainier, and even step on the Wonderland Trail at Sunrise. That was a beautiful area… hopefully one day I can see more of it… 🙂

      Thanks again for all of your help, and one day when I get to do the Wonderland Trail I will definitely get back to you for info. I appreciate your help.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  16. Michael says:

    Wow! What a fantastic trip. Love the pics and the views! 🙂

    Like

  17. Jake! Thanks for the awesome report, sorry I couldn’t make the trip. For those of us without the patience to watch a video, it was great to have a written account. Great pics also!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Glen,

      Glad you enjoyed it. Maybe another time we will get to meet up, but it sure was fun meeting everyone else! Hopefully I will get to make it on some other trips and meet more of the ambassadors in the future…

      Also, I’m Chad… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  18. cenazwalker says:

    The One . . . in cuben! Man I hope that one makes it to production.

    Like

  19. Greg Williams says:

    Thanks for the report and pics, Chad! Glad you got to come out to our neck of the woods. It sucks you couldn’t get your itinerary for the Wonderland Trail, but it looks like you more than made up for it. In some of your past trips, missing your family caused you to cut some of your hikes short. I’m sure you missed them, but how did you deal with it? Did the size of your group help, or was it the fact that you were across the country and couldn’t just pack up and leave? Just curious. Enjoy your blog and videos. Keep em coming–Greg

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Greg,

      Yeah, I was bummed that we didn’t get the WT permits, but I feel like I still had at least an equally good time! Maybe another year I will get the WT though…

      As far as missing the family, I did have a moment where I got a bit homesick, but I had no choice but to carry on. I remember hiking up the Cameron Pass, I was tired and it had been a bit rainy during the day, and I just started thinking about my wife, and I started missing her. It was a bit rough for a couple of hours… but once I got my camp set up, cooked some dinner then was able to sit around a lit caldera cone and just have a good time I was better. Once I woke up the next morning I felt better about it… still missed them, but it didn’t seem to pull on my heart quite like the day before…

      To be honest, I am not sure about the future, and how I will do being away… but I think the funner the trip, and the more folks around to take my mind off of it sure does help…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  20. Bruce Daughtry says:

    Great narrative and pictures Stick. I have to say that I can not resist ordering that cuben fiber gear any longer. Dang you. 😉

    Like

  21. Garth says:

    Hi Chad,

    Sounds like you have had the trip of a lifetime…glad it all went well and all your gear met your expectations…all the best!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Thanks Garth, it was awesome and I couldn’t have asked anything more from my gear!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Garth says:

      HI Chad,

      One question: I could pretty well identify all the shelters except for one…did one of the group have a green SMD cuben Haven tent? Thx

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Garth,

      Keep in mind some of the tents were prototypes, but here is a list of all the shelters present on this hike:

      Mine: ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus tarp w/ Hexanet
      Jake: Locus Gear Khufu Sil
      Dave: GG Spinshelter
      Liz: GG The One in Cuben (Proto & moded)
      Grant & Trinity: GG SpinnTwin in Cuben (Proto)
      Jeff & Jesse: GG Spinn Twin

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  22. Stick, AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! You have outdone yourself. I have hiked in northeastern Oregon along the Idaho border a few times and the views are spectacular. You can see for 100’s of miles in all directions different from back east here. Did you see many trout in the streams or lakes? While looking at the streams and lakes in your pictures and video I was dreaming of Tenkara fishing. By the way with 2 quarts of warm water I always took a shower each morning before heading out…made me feel refreshed. Thanks so much for sharing your adventure with all of us. You could have shared more pictures and video of my “Redneck Beer Cup”….just kidding.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Steve,

      It really is a spectacular place, I enjoyed it so much! Looking forward to getting back out there. And I didn’t seen any fishies in the streams or lakes… but it made me think about Tenkara too… one day I am going to have to branch out into that…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  23. Linda says:

    What a wonderful trip you had. Your photos are beautiful and they, along with your trip report make we want to hike there. I can feel your excitement. Thank you for sharing your great adventure.
    Linda

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Linda,

      If you ever get a chance, I would suggest it. It is a beautiful place, and as I am sure you know… the pics and the video don’t do it justice…

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  24. josh camp says:

    Good stuff Stick. As strictly a southern hiker (so far), I too was eagerly awaiting your return and I was super jealous of your trip. The best part about your report was that you didn’t mention a single piece of gear in the whole post. That means you really must have enjoyed it. I kinda thought your trips always seemed like just a reason to test out gear, but his one seemed like you really just went with it. Again, I am super jealous. Great stuff man.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Josh,

      Glad you caught that, and I think you kinda nailed it… I was in awe while being out there… I loved it! Now, don’t get me wrong… there was plenty of gear talk, but when I was videoing, I wanted to try to just let the landscape talk for itself… usually I am yapping into the camera about my gear, or something similar, so it was weird not to do that… Glad you liked it though. And yeah, if you can ever get out that way, do it! You won’t be disappointed… I can’t wait to get back out…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  25. heyjt says:

    Great report–I’m jealous! Other than a week with my wife “Bink” and a few solo weekends, most of my trips have been influencing and training Boy Scouts and their dads in the way of UL. They have all really caught the bug and can’t get enough. But what I wouldn’t give to spend a week with you all!

    Again, great report and photos. Keep up the excellent work!

    ~jt

    Like

    • Stick says:

      JT,

      That is awesome to hear that you are spreading the “UL” word, and especially with the Scouts! Great for you.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed it. And who knows, maybe we will meet on the trail one day… 🙂

      Happy hiking!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  26. Doug Layne says:

    I am really glad that you enjoyed the Pacific Northwest. Seems that many trails have some climb to them but the reward is the awesome views. I love it here. The pictures were great.

    Like

  27. Hiya Chad, great trip buddy. Thank you for sharing the adventure and for the photos. Next, come over to the Sierras and we’ll bag you some 12-14,000 foot peaks and passes!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Thank Jhaura! And let me say… I used your cook kit on this trip, and I love it! I just finished recording my post hike gear talk video and I talked about it a little more in that video. Great stuff, keep it up man!

      And maybe one day I will be able to take you up on the Sierra’s visit sometime… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  28. Chris says:

    Stick: Really enjoy you blog and this trip report was fantastic. The pictures were great. What kind of camera were you using and what sort of setting were you using on the pictures of the river?

    Thanks,
    Chris

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Chris,

      Thanks for the comment, glad to hear you enjoyed it.

      I am using the Panasonic Lumix GF2 camera. The pics of the rivers were using the shutter mode. I essentially left the shutter open for a couple of seconds so it could catch the water flowing, and give it that silky look. I am still working with it though…

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  29. Martin Rye says:

    What a great tip you had. Good photos and amazing mountains. Thanks for sharing this.

    Like

  30. Jacob C. says:

    I’ll admit that I have been eagerly awaiting your trip report for a few days now. Your adventure looked exciting and a heckuva lotta fun. Well done! I really like all of the pictures as well. You guys picked an amazing area to explore.

    Though starting my backpacking adventures in the Pacific Northwest myself, I am still always in awe of the views, colors, and variety each new location can hold. Mountain Lakes, butt-kicking passes, and lovely scree fields all make for great stories and fond memories.

    So now I’m wondering do you have any after thoughts on your gear selection for this trip? Was there anything that you now wish you would have swapped or would have performed a little differently?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jacob,

      To sum it up, I couldn’t be more pleased with the way my gear performed, and would take it all again. But, I will be doing a post hike gear talk to talk about some of the gear in specific… I hope to have it done in a few days… just gotta see how things go though…

      Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with your new adventures!

      ~Stick~

      Like

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