The Dungeness River rushing through the forest
Our weekend backpacking trip led into Olympic National Forest, located on the Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle. This is a lush place, with mosses and every shade of green, as well as a river tinted aqua with glacial flour. It is also a place of silence, where the occasional sounds are the rushing of the river and the dreamlike songs of Hermit Thrushes high in the towering Western Hemlocks and Douglas Firs.
Our hike took us about three miles in, where we set up our tent at Camp Handy. The next morning, we hiked up 1,800 vertical feet to Boulder Camp, then later hiked back down to camp, packed up, and hiked out. Rather that give a sight-by-sight account of the trail, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Giant Western Hemlocks tower above the Upper Dungeness Trail
I would, however, like to give a shout out to all the Dads who took their families backpacking on Father’s Day weekend. At Camp Handy, there were four other groups in addition to Karen and me. One was a Dad with a teenage daughter, who stopped and chatted with me about where his daughter could learn photography. The second were two men with four young daughters. The third were two men with two young sons. And the fourth was a father with a pre-teen daughter.
This was wonderful that all these Dads were teaching their daughters and sons about backpacking in a beautiful place. All these kids would have come away with new skills and a healthy attitude about experiencing the great outdoors.
I think back to my own father, and all the weekends he spent on Boy Scout trips with his three sons. He was a scoutmaster for several years, and he influenced scores of boys with his interest in nature and his leadership. Thanks Dad: wherever in heaven you are!
And a hearty thanks to all the Dads we saw bringing their children into the wilderness!
Blooming Pacific Rhododendrons line the trail; these are as elegant as the garden varieties that flower so beautifully in the Pacific Northwest
These aren’t rolling stones, because they’ve gathered a great deal of moss
Boulder Shelter is located in a place where giant boulders have tumbled down from the cliffs above (not seen in this picture) and where avalanches have repeatedly mowed down a wide path of trees. It must be a place of uneasy sleep.
In Boulder Shelter: a riff on the old Rolling Stones tune, and an unhappy lady hiker!
Karen led in the making of snowman “Boulder Bob”
A rustic log bridge using a giant Olympic Peninsula tree spans the Dungeness
Oak Ferns all turned at precisely the right angle to the available light–like the precision solar collectors that they are
Avalanche path below Boulder Camp, with Mt. Mystery and Mt. Deception distant in the upper picture
The shape of the leaves echoes the shape of the rapids, at least to my eye
Slime mold Leocarpus fragilis growing on the forest floor among hemlock needles; these little yellow sacs will eventually turn brown, crack open like eggs, and release the spores that bring more little slime molds
Green mosses and the bluish wood rot produced by Fairy Barf lichen (lots of little chunks, you know) on an old log
Shelter at Camp Handy; good for those many days of incessant dripping on the Olympic Peninsula
Looking out from the Camp Handy shelter across the meadow to the willows lining the Dungeness River
Shooting Stars were in full and glorious bloom
Vanillaleaf in bloom; this lovely ground cover is said to have a strong vanilla scent when it dries out; alas, my nose cannot detect this supposedly delicious fragrance
Emerging leaves of Cow-parsnip
The Dungeness River plunges rapidly, and with beauty, from the Olympic Mountains toward its desired union with the sea
Royal Creek rushes down from Royal Basin, where we’ve had some wonderful alpine experiences in the Olympics
The trail leads through the beautiful forest between Camp Handy and the trailhead
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