Dear Edison,

Avalanche Lily at Glacier Meadows
Rhythmic beauty without a whisper rises like burning softness.
Ascending towards a trembling flower muse.
Hesitation suddenly melts away this warm fragrant vision.
Entwined by desire I imagine the seductive mystery.
A morning smile that lingers, embraces the falling stream.
Again, a tender hunger slowly approaches true beauty,
and the restless vision must be fed.
– nivaun

JULY 19, 2012 – Thursday

The morning began as expected, however, we didn’t get out the door until around 1:30pm. After tracking a package from Really Right Stuff and noticing that my 7oz ball head was going to be delivered today. I decided to wait for it so I could bring it along on this trip. Unfortunately USPS routed the package wrong resulting in a predominately wasted morning.

We left the house and as I drove down the road I mentioned to Jake that I forgot my first aid/emergency kit. I chose not to turn around and just reminded myself to not have to use it.

Our focus was now on a sweeter package of donuts that were waiting for us at Cock-a-Doodle Doughnuts in Port Angeles. The only catch is that we had to be there by 3pm.

Be Safe! Jake 🙂

We also had to swing by Browns Outdoor and the Olympic Ranger Station to get our permit for the OP400 we are beginning in August.

It wasn’t long before we were on our way to the Hoh River Trail. Made a stop for fuel, and then a stop for a famous ice cream at Granny’s Cafe on the way. The drive was nice but we were eager to put dirt under our feet.

Day One: Hoh River Trailhead – Tom Creek Camp (2.9 mi)

Our plan was to hike 3 miles up the trail to Tom Creek Camp and wait for one other guy to join us later.

Packed and ready to go.
The leaves are turning already and summer has just begun.

The camp was full and we made our way out to the gravel bar where we had camped once before earlier this year. Two girls had already made camp but there was plenty of space for Jake and I.

Reached camp just before nightfall

One of the girls asked if I had a first aid kit to fix a blister. I couldn’t help but think I should have gone back for my kit when I remembered it.

The lightning storm is incredible tonight! We are standing out here lost in amazement. I can’t catch it in photograph so I am video taping it.

JULY 20, 2012 – Friday

6:00 AM – The GPS alarm went off this morning at 4:30 right on schedule. I did what any backpacker would have done all cozy and warm in their sleeping bag – I hit the snooze button. The wind and rain against my tent prevented me from fully sleeping.

Nature soon forced me out of my bag. And while I don’t write much about privy matters, this may be of interest to some. This morning will be my first real test of the Boulder Bidet. I like the idea of not having to use and leave toilet paper in the wilderness. It’s a lot of trash to pack in and I am hoping the Boulder Bidet will eliminate the need for it.
(Long Pause)
The bidet worked as it is suppose to and has earned a point in its favor.
The girls just finished packing and left. They were quite efficient. One acquired water while the other broke down the tent. Moments later they disappeared through the Alder heading to their next destination. Not sure where that is.
It is sprinkling now and a little windy, but not too cold. It’s a comfortable gray day.
We have about a 14 mile day today to reach Glacier Meadows. I am thinking we will walk into camp between 4 or 5pm.
Day Two: Tom Creek Camp – Glacier Meadows (14 mi)
7:00 PM – Most of the trail was flat and I found myself wishing for more climbing. The longer the trail remained around 900ft meant that the likelihood we would be doing some steeper climbing to reach the 4300 foot elevation of Glacier Meadows was certain. That is what happened at mile 12.
On The Edge of Ferns…
Starfish Impersonation
Showy Aster
A couple miles later we arrived at Elk Lake but did not stop.
Bridge at 13 Mile Camp
Elk Lake Shelter
We kept hearing how bad the snow bridge is at the ladder. I was worried about it for no reason. Yes, the ladder is steep and you can not walk across the snow bridge, but, there is no reason to.
The ladder is a set of evenly placed 4×4’s attached to cable. A climbing rope offers a hand hold to assist in navigation. It is steep and can be somewhat intimidating. Once at the bottom walking up the hillside next to the snow there is a break that allows easy access to other side by crossing the exposed creek that runs under the snow bridge.
Ladder
Snow Bridge
It wasn’t much further beyond this crossing we walked into Glacier Meadows camp number 10. I am exhausted and have quickly went to bed listening to Jake and ? make dinner. 

 
 
I’ll soon fall asleep thinking about the goat we saw just before the ladder and how beautiful the forest became as we ascended further away from 12 Mile Camp. Flowers…mist filled forest….amazing rock outcroppings…
……………………scary high bridge…………….ladder……..
…………………………………………easy way around the snow bridge…
(sleep)
JULY 21, 2012 – Saturday
7:13 AM – Woke up at Glacier Meadows not really sure I wanted to climb Olympus. After breakfast I stuffed items in my pack that I thought I would use for the day and set off behind the others.

Glacier Meadows – Snow Dome

Because I carry my Nikon D300s over my shoulder attached to a Gitzo tripod I like to walk in the back. I made a discovery yesterday that when I lead I get in hike mode and tend to pass on photos I would otherwise have taken. So my new strategy is to walk in the back so I can take my photographic time.

The dew on the flowers and foliage was like droplets of crystal. I thought to myself that I could stay right here, photograph all day letting the other two climb the mountain.

It may come as a surprise to some, but, climbing peaks is not high on my list of wilderness accomplishments. If I never reach the top of a mountain I will be satisfied. It’s a joy to me to look up towards peaks from meadows rather look down from a conquered position.

Glacier Meadows Ranger Yurt
Cascade Penstemon covered in dew.
I did manage to convince myself to carry on knowing they would be waiting for me at the glacier and I didn’t want them to have to backtrack to find out what happened to me.
Edge of Blue Glacier

Once I caught up, we walked the ridge above Blue Glacier. In the distance we could see the trail other climbers used to cross. It wasn’t long before we were standing at the edge roped together and ready to begin our trek across.

Sitting atop Snow Dome. My Merrell Train Sonics worked well

The ascent to the Snow Dome was quite a bit steeper than it looked from below. As I neared the crest the steepness hit me and began questioning whether or not I was into a section beyond my comfort level. But the top was just in front of me and my footing had remained solid so I decided to keep going.

Once on top of the Snow Dome I was was in awe at the breathtaking view, happy that I decided to climb instead of staying back at the meadows.

I sat in the snow, pulled out a few snacks, and enjoyed the view. It was a beautiful day.

There were a few items in my pack that I brought on this trip to test whether or not they would work for the 400 mile hike Jake and I are doing on August 4th. So I pulled out my solar charger and it work incredibly well.

Our return trip was much faster. On the way down a group of climbers had caught up with us. We had seen and talked to them many times during our hike up the Hoh River Trail. They decided to camp at the half way point whereas we had decided to camp at Glacier Meadows.

I decided it would be much more fun to glissade down, so I did. Jake and his friend soon followed.
Barefoot Jake heading back to camp after a successful ascent.
About the time I reached the moraine and began the descent I realized how burned I was. It was going to be painful but worth it. By the time I put on my sunscreen it was already too late.
The flowers hadn’t gone anywhere and looked as spectacular as they did earlier this morning. So I took more pictures. When I arrived back at camp I was told they had scared a bear out of our site and was still crashing around the brush somewhere up the hill. I never did see it and was bummed about it. The bear is definitely a totem animal to me.
Jake mentioned that his friend was thinking about heading down to 12 Mile Camp to camp with his brother-in-law and have the trail descent out of the way for the hike out. He was nearly packed and ready to go. I was in hurry to get off the trail and happy to stay as far away from society as possible. I kind of felt sorry for him and his attachment to civilization.

We humans have such a skewed idea of what is important in life an most of it involves a little green piece of paper. It’s ominous how we’ve allowed it so much power over our lives. It controls our spirituality, family, desires, takes away our humanity and compassion. It gives us just enough hope to keep us enslaved. The whole idea depresses me.

Jake and I stayed, deciding that gaining an extra four miles towards home wasn’t worth pulling camp only to set up again in an hour or so.

Met Tony, Nathan, and Mike using the shelter for a gym. It always adds to the backcountry experience when meeting interesting people. We talked about camping gear and the book I am writing. I showed them some ultra light gear and pointed out how inexpensive it really can be to acquire.

Traditional camping gear prepares us to do battle with nature, conquer and attempt to control it. Taking the lightweight approach allows a person to be equal, balanced, becoming a part of nature rather than a part from nature.

Their water filter had broken so I pumped them some water and said that if they left their empty containers next to my tent I would fill them before I left in the morning. They were very grateful and I was more than happy to help.

One thing I have noticed is that once a person hikes beyond a five mile radius from the trailhead people become family. Civility returns and we become human. It’s a beautiful thing and a loving gift from nature.

JULY 22, 2012 – Sunday

6:00 AM – Woke up at 4:45 to get an early start but didn’t start down the trail until just after 6. Not sure what took us so long in getting ready, guess we really didn’t want to leave.


The hike out was uneventful and a loooooong flat march. I am thinking it is best to break this up into a couple days to make it much more memorable.



Olympic Marmot above Glacier Meadows

 

Author

Longway is the trail name for Tim Todd and is quite fitting due to the fact that every aspect of his life consist of taking the longest route and time to arrive. For Longway the journey is the destination.

2 comments

    1. The stuffed animal is Edison. He is an Australian Shepherd. Edison was my dog that hike with me for 12 years before getting pancreatic cancer. I have some of his ashes inside this stuffed animal.

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