Last Week’s Adventure

Oops… I forgot to post it!

Last week I went for a hike in Olympic National Forest. It took me a bit to find the Forest Road to get me to where I wanted to go since it was not clearly marked and I did not have a USFS map with me. I finally got to the trailhead, got my pack on, and set out.

Saw this on a shirt...
Saw this on a shirt…

I was hiking on the Gray Wolf Trail, #834, that goes along the Gray Wolf River. This particular trail has a bridge out and the river is said to be impassible so I knew I would not be going more than a few miles in. It is a beautiful hike, and is quite similar to the other trails here with lots of undergrowth and some sizable trees in the forested areas. This trail does not appear to be used much – it is a narrow path with tall flowers and grasses along the trail in the open areas. That was a good sign to me… hopefully I would not see another person on my hike.

Gray Wolf Trail #834 - Olympic National Forest, Washington
Gray Wolf Trail #834 – Olympic National Forest, Washington

The first part of the trail goes through this open area that looked like it may have been a USFS road at one time but had been “landscaped” to give it some features. I could be wrong on this, but when I see a long corridor in a forest that is void of trees I usually think it used to be a road. This part of the trail had an odd feeling to me because of this.

I walked on and the trail started getting into some forest finally. Lots and lots of ferns and shrubs in the understory, and the trees are big up here. As I continued, there was a sign for another trail called “Cat Creek Loop Trail”. Knowing the bridge was out ahead I thought “oh, why not?” and took the loop and it went into a beautiful area of the forest.

The trail eventually split at a tee – it was left or right. I looked at both and thought going left looked easier so I went that way. I could hear the rushing of what sounded like a sizable stream get louder and quieter and louder as the trail meandered through the woods. There are a few log benches put in along the way by the trail maintenance group that keeps this trail in shape (great work done by volunteers!). There are some pretty big trees back in here, both standing and fallen. Looking at trees like this it makes you think about all the things that have happened since these tress have been alive.

I got some distance back in on this trail and saw the source of the noise – it was definitely a sizable stream (or river) and i was quite a distance above it – probably a few hundred feet. It was at this point I decided to turn around and head back. I did not know how big this loop trail was – it could have gone through Idaho for all I knew. Besides, I was getting hungry so I walked and found a good place to have some lunch. As I was sitting there eating lunch I saw these gold/pink berries that were formed like raspberries or blackberries. The leaves certainly looked like blackberry/raspberry bushes.

Gray Wolf Trail #834 - Olympic National Forest, Washington
Gray Wolf Trail #834 – Olympic National Forest, Washington

I asked after I got back, and did a little research on what I was told, and they appear to be salmonberries. Maybe I will go back and pick some to bring back for positive ID.

After I had my lunch I threw my pack back on and started heading back to the car. It was a gray, overcast day where I was, and with the forest being so thick it gets dark rather fast and I did not want to be walking through the forest in the dark. As I was walking back I noticed the wildflowers more and realized how many that there were.

Gray Wolf Trail #834 - Olympic National Forest, Washington
Gray Wolf Trail #834 – Olympic National Forest, Washington

It was a nice hike and I need to get out and do more of them now that I have a map and this area is not a very long drive from home. I did not really know much about this particular area and someone had suggested it to me so I gave it a try. There are a lot of trails in this same area to explore so not much need to go far from home for now.

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