Parking at the Madison Falls Lot: The undammed Elwha River has created new channels which washed out the Hot Springs Rd 3/4 miles ahead. 325' above sea level
Elwha River 4 years after the second dam, Glines Canyon, was removed, Elwha Dam was removed in 2011. Salmon population not growing yet, and the two former resovior areas will take a while to reforest, but in 20 years, and I hope I am still here to see it, I think it is going to be amazing.
Switched from my Adidas to my White's before the by-pass trail. Ankle's can't handle much, and the White's 10" leather keep my safe and in the outdoors.
By-pass trail around 4 islands the Elwha has created before you drop down to the Olympic Hot Springs Rd again. Amazing old growth fir and cedar.
I hope the Ranger Station doesn't fall to neglect.
Carrying 65.3 lbs. in my new Qui-Ya, Conner, and OKBv2, with an OVI/HPG belt to keep my pants up. Let's see how far up I can get up, shooting for the meadow, and a black bear sighting would be a good omen with the new gear.
Temperate rainforest and I am alone on the trail, amazingingly peaceful amongst the giants, both standing and fallen.
I replenished my water on the way back here, as I went through three 40 oz. Hydro Flasks on the way up. Need the canteen pockets to make access and storage easier on the move.
Took a lot of breaks hauling that heavy pack, loved the hypalon wing on the Conner, held my Hydro securely. Sleeping bag on top never moved on me. Would change from the crazy creek on the bottom to a contractor bag, with chair tied to the side of the pack for easier access during my breaks.
It has been a slog and a half, but this sign means I am close to the meadow. Kept adding 30 minutes to my turn-around, 5x total, but it's gonna be worth it!
Finally out of the forest, blue-sky day in the Olympics is hard to beat.
A buck and doe didn't even flinch as I passed at 50 yards.
One of the two goals for the day, Olympics in early June with snow.
He's far away for my mobile camera, but seeing the black bear with my first Qui-ya hike kept me picking 'em up and putting 'em down for 7 hours. This is at 4481', time to turn around and race the sun (at a turtle's pace)
This weekend I will take my oldest daughter with just the Conner Pack and OKBv2, and I will get to the top of this hill, and walk the ridge to the Hurricane Hill peak at 5757'. My map tells me that's 4.5 miles further than the 19 I did on this trip.
I finished just before midnight, the last 2 hours using my headlamp. Was passed at the end by 3 endurance runners who ran the Hot Springs Rd., and a young couple who walked it. Too tired for pictures of the night sky or the river at night, but both were amazing! Biggest lessons for me are more calories in the pack, back-up power to my phone (it died 2 hours before I reached the car), and a better filtration system for water. Will add canteen holsters, medium and small pockets, and a tool roll to my gear soon. Liking the bino pouch I saw as well. Need a better solution for my kukri, which came in handy for several large branches on some old growth blow-downs I needed to traverse. Overall nearly 14 hours on trail pushed me physically and mentally with that heavy pack, but I learned a lot about all my gear. Seeing one of my favorite trails again, made for a perfect day, looking forward to doing it with a light Conner though for sure! (Cue the Last of the Mohican’s Theme) Thx LB