Friday, November 30, 2012

Today's Photo


Old Man of the Mountains flowers- This picture was taken on Lizard Head Plateau in the Wind River Range, Wyoming. July 2012

With flowers so large they often obscure the stems and leaves, Old Man of the Mountain cannot be missed -- unless you don’t hike above tree-line. On the open alpine tundra, this plant is abundant and very obvious. Flower stalks range from just a few inches tall, to ten inches tall in July and August. Old Man of the Mountain is often abundant on alpine tundra and it is a treat to see its huge sunflowers, most of which always face east. The stems and leaves of Old Man are a distinctive very densely hairy green.

Obstruction Point Parking lot/Trailhead

Obstruction point and its Trails:
Obstruction Point is the trailhead for a handful of trails in Olympic National Park. For our 8 day backpacking trip we planned on starting at obstruction and ending way on the other side of the park. However, I got hurt and refused to be rescued to we slowly hiked back out the the way we came. One day we will go back to Olympic and finish this amazing trip! For information on the backpacking trip we had planned on doing click here to view that post.

Closest City:
Port Angeles, WA

Driving Directions:
For our backpacking trip we parked our car at one trailhead then payed someone to drive us to Obstruction Point, a 4 hour drive. The following direction are from Point Angeles. To see the driving directions on a map click here or view the map section of this blog. Starting on the 101 West freeway through Point Angeles, turn Left on North Race st. drive 1.1 miles and make a slight right onto Heart O the Hills Rd. follow for 17.5 miles. Keep track of how many miles you have gone the next turn is hard to see! Make a sharp left onto Obstruction Point Road. Make sure your vehicle can handle driving on a dirt road. This road is not very wide and on coming traffic makes for a scary ride. Follow the dirt road for 7.5 miles till it ends at a large parking area with a bathroom.

Fees/ Permits/ Reservations:
Hiking or backpacking in the Olympic National Park area you will need a permit. The list prvided is all the passes the park excepts. Overnight passes are required to stay overnight in the park. Permits and reservations are required to stay in Grand valley.
-Olympic National Park annual Pass
-Golden Age Passport
-Golden Eagle Passport
-7 Day Pass
-National park Pass

Obstruction Point Trailhead- 6,150ft

None- The only water available is from rivers and lakes, filter or treat your water before drinking!

The Obstruction Point Road is open from late Spring until the first road covering snow in the Fall. Check road closure information before heading up there.

Hiking in Olympic National Park

Deer Park- 7.5 miles
Badger Valley- 0.3 mile
Grand Lake- 3.7 miles
Moose Lake- 4.2 Miles
Grand Pass- 5.9 Miles

Olympic National park Visitor Center
Heart O the Hills Road
Port Angeles, WA, 98362
(800) 833-6388

Never leave your gear outside of the tent at night

    Hiking in Olympic National Park in Washington I spraining my ankle about 10 miles in, so my boyfriend and I decided to cancel our trip and hike back out to the trailhead we started from. On our last night in the backcountry, camped in Grand Valley near the ranger station, we were warned by the ranger that there were mountain goats in the area that harass campers. We were told to yell at them to scare them off, we could even hear other campers in the distance yelling "GET OUT OF HERE!" throughout the day and into the evening.

    That night I woke to a noise right outside my side of the tent, assuming it was a mountain goat I unzipped the door and looked around, no goat. As I was about to zip up the tent and go back to sleep the light I was holding crossed over my trekking pole sitting just outside the tent door. In an instant I realized there was only ONE pole on the ground, at one point I had two... Looking around again I noticed a deer standing in some tall grass a few yards away. I shined the light at him and as I did he raised his head to look at me with, YEP, my  other trekking pole hanging out of his mouth! Well, I had a sprained ankle and was in no condition to race out of the tent to save my trekking pole. So I started throwing some small rocks at him while yelling to "GIVE ME BACK MY POLE!" However, this did not work, instead the deer started to walk away, trekking pole dangling out of his mouth by the strap. Luckily all the noise I was making woke Eric, who ran out of the tent and saved my trekking pole from the deer. From then on I have never left anything outside the tent and I never got a new strap for my trekking pole, I kept the chewed up one as a reminder of what happened the night I forgot my trekking poles outside plus looking down at it makes me laugh.

"A day without laughter is a day wasted."
Charlie Chaplin

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Olympic National Park- Washington

About Olympic National Park:
From approximately 70 miles of wild Pacific coast and islands through densely forested lowlands to the glacier-crowned Olympic Mountains, the park protects several distinctively different and relatively pristine ecosystems. These places shelter a unique array of habitats and life forms resulting from thousands of years of geographic isolation. Olympic National Park is a place unmatched in the world. The park can be divided into four basic regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west side temperate rainforest and the forests of the drier east side. Olympic is a beautiful area that offers endless route opportunists for every level of hiker. The list below is the route we took, to see the pictures I took along the trail visit my photo gallery! Funny Story from this trip :)

Fun Facts About Olympic:
- 922,651 acres
- 73 miles of wilderness coast
- Over 3,00 miles of rivers and streams
- 60 named glaciers
- Over 1,200 native plant taxa
- 37 native fish species
- 300 bird species
- 56 mammal species
- 22 species listed as endangered
- 64 trailheads
- 661 miles of trail

Itinerary: August 1- 10, 2012
Day 1
Grand Valley
Grand Lake
Moose Lake- Camp
Day 2
Grand Pass 
After going over Grand Pass and dropping down the 2,000 feet into the valley I sprained my ankle in an animal hole hidden by growth on the side of the trail. We camped there for a day to let my ankle rest then spent the next 3 days hiking/ limping back out the way we came in. We then hitched a ride out of the park from a very nice couple from Canada.

Driving Directions: 
The trailhead we started at is located in the northern part of the park, for driving directions, maps, and day hike/ backpacking information from this trailhead click here.

What I Think You Should Know:
1. Weather-  At any time of year, visitors should come prepared for a variety of conditions. Rain gear and layered clothing are a must.

2. Mosquitoes- During warm weather mosquitoes along with black flies, deer flies, and horse flies can be a major nuisance. Wearing insect repellent, long sleeved shirts and long pants may help, but I strongly recommend at least a head net.

3. Bears-There have been several instances of aggressive bears in the Olympics. If you meet a bear on the trail, give it plenty of space. If a bear comes into camp, make noise to scare the bear away. When hiking in the Olympics always keep your food in a bear safe canister and never leave anything with food unattended.

4. Safety in Numbers- Over and over again I have been told "never hike alone", and yet every trail I have hiked on I pass countless solo hikers, I even hike alone at times! Bring a friend, they may just save your life.

5. Know how to GO in the woods- Yes, you will need to be able to poop in the woods. There are no bathroooms in the backcountry, so make sure you brought your trusty trowel and plenty of toilet paper! Learn more at Leave No Trace.

6. Mountain Goats- Hikers feeding mountain goats and allowing the animals to lick their swat-stained gear for salt  are the reason the park has to close popular trails. NEVER feed wildlife! Hiker killed by mountain goat.

Park Management: 
Olympic national Park Visitor Center
3002 Mount Angeles Road
Port Angeles, WA, 98362

Wilderness Information Center (Backcountry Permit Office)
3002 Mount Angeles Road
Port Angeles, WA, 98362
(360) 565-3100

Forks NPS/USFS Recreation Information Center
551 S. Forks Ave. (Highway 101)
Forks, WA, 98331
(360) 374-5877

Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center
31 Miles south of Forks off Highway 101
(360) 374-6925

Olympic National Park Fire Management Office
(360) 565-3120



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