My last journey through the backcountry in the US, was with one of my best friends. And even though he often complains about the treks we take, I know deep down he really enjoys the wild adventures we share. In fact, all of my Olympic adventures have been with Bennett, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It may also be the reason the Olympics is one of my favorite places. From Chanterelle hunting, to drunken overnighters, and multi-day hikes along secluded beaches, this place is home to some really great memories for me!
After traveling to Port Angeles for reservations, our permit and a bear cannister, we hit the trail head later than expected. Sunlight was quickly fading from the beneath a canopy of old-growth forest and we knew we would be making camp after dark. The hike started with subtle ascent as we headed for Lower Bridge Creek (our first campsite). Along the path, I found several spots where small tart blueberries were waiting to be eaten… Yummm! We arrived in the dark, with the last mile being a steep rocky set of switchbacks. After a few nips of vodka we bunkered down for a night under a beautiful starry sky.
The next morning we woke and were greeted by some of the best trail guests hikers can have--a doe and its fawn. It wasn’t long before the fawn romped off followed closely by its mother, but the visit that left us filled with excitement for the day to come.
Heart Lake made for perfect first stopping point. We had a quick snack and took in some scenery before the morning sun broke the crest of the ridgeline above. From there, we pressed on to the High Divide trail which offered scenic views in every direction.
To the North was 7 Lakes Basin (which is odd given there are more than 7 Lakes, and one named Lake 8). To the south where amazing views of Mount Olympus, Blue Glacier, and the Hoh Rainforest (correctly named as it was filled with clouds below the ridgeline.
We ate lunch just after Bogachiel Peak, and about halfway to our site for the night, Deer Lake. The hike up was exhausting, and the trail was turning into quite the rocky mess. This nearly broke my feet as I limped into camp with several blisters on my left foot. However, I did take solace in the Huckleberries and blueberries scattered along trail into Deer Lake.
Once at camp, and as we settled in for dinner, we were again greeted by two berry drunk guests. One came so close Bennett may have pissed himself a bit--stepping back in fear. This startled the young stag, causing him to move to a more reasonable distance. However, both promptly returned to their feast in a wandering fashion.
We woke the next morning and got started early on the last leg of the hike. The steep decent and rocky trail continued to tenderize my feet, but I limped along until we arrived at Sol Duc Falls. Here the trail becomes less jagged rocks and more soft cool dirt.
Despite finishing my hike with bruised feet and some stingy raw blisters, I would do it over all over again for the views, visitors, and moments shared with my friend. Thanks for the awesome send off Bennett!