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Outdoor adventures, mostly gravel rides, but not always

Rachel Lake

A wet, muddy, cold, and colorful hike in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Fall colors on the shores of Rachel Lake

The vast majority of my hiking takes place in, and around, Olympic National Park because it doesn’t require a ferry ride. Wanting to see some fall colors, I reviewed some of the popular hikes in the I90 corridor on the WTA site and Rachel Lake was a frequent addition and the photos suggested wonderful fall scenery would be on display.

Royal Basin

Fall colors, blue tarns, yellow meadow, fiery reds, grey mountains; an ideal fall hike

Creek in the basin showcasing fall colors

With the changing fall colors, I wanted to return to Royal Basin to take in the scene. Last time we ran as much as we hiked but this time I went alone and spent a significant amount of time photographing the colors and the abundant small waterfalls and rushing creeks.

Tubal Cain

A walk back into history among an old mine and the remains of a January 1952 plane crash

Iron Mountain in the distance on the way to Marmot Pass

The road to the trailhead, FS 2870, received a much needed road grading (in fact, the grader was still operating and let us pass) so the road is in wonderful condition – any vehicle can make it easily.

Tunnel Creek

A tumbling creek, huckleberries, & views - a delightful hike in the woods

Trail through the woods

The hike to Tunnel Creek showed up in my Strava feed, and with no firm plans for the weekend, off I went. The views looked nice and the hike wasn’t an elevation or distance killer so it wouldn’t consume the entire day. I also really love hiking along creeks & rivers to photograph baby waterfalls.

Grand & Badger Valley

A spectacular loop hike of two valleys of meadows, lakes, and streams

Switchbacks leading up from Badger Valley

The smoke cleared so R. and I decided to return to Hurricane Ridge for a full-day loop of the Grand and Badger Valleys. I had last been to the area in 2013 so I was looking forward to a return trip and seeing some trails I had never covered or didn’t see because eight years ago we covered the trail in a complete fog whiteout.

Hurricane Ridge

A reconnaissance trip in smoke filled skies salvaging a bit of the day

Harebell with a smoky background

R. and I had a three-day, two-night trip planned from Obstruction Point and through Grand Valley with two nights at Upper Cameron, an area of the Park I’ve never seen. Unfortunately we were hit with the double-whammy of an excessive heat warning and an air quality alert from forest fire smoke. We talked it over with a few Rangers at the WIC in Port Angeles and ultimately decided, after a few re-routing discussions, to cancel the trip and try another time when the conditions improved.

Second Beach

An easy beach trail along the Olympics' South Coast

Sunrise, full moon, and Crying Lady Rock

A tale of so many fronts: sun, fog, thicker fog, sun breaks. “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes” was never truer advice.

Marmot Pass

A beautiful alpine meadow filled with wildflowers & views

Trail leading from Camp Mystery

The upper meadow at Marmot Pass is one of my favorite locations in the Olympics having hiked there a few times. The WTA reports suggested the wildflowers were in bloom – perfect!

Icicle Creek Gorge

An easy loop around the Icicle Creek Gorge with a variety of water views

Rushing waters of the Icicle Creek

A nice morning loop around Icicle Creek with a variety of forest, hill, and water views.

Eightmile Lake

A hike through the remains of a forest fire to a picturesque alpine lake

Reflections on Eightmile Lake

We go to the trail early (7:30 am) mid-week to plenty of parking. The trail to Eightmile Lake starts through a burn from 2017 resulting in little cover from the sun and a lot of shrubby new growth. Fortunately the views along the trail are plentiful from the start and the grade wasn’t too bad for our mixed-skills hiking party.

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