Deborah and Jessica
ELBO CREEK TRAIL #892.1
It is about around a 7 mile round trip hike to the top of Buck Mountain and back. The last 3 miles of the trail is on FS030 (Jackson Creek Rd). On this trip we did not go to the top. Visibility was zero and we only walked far enough to get water for the return trip.
Our Route For This Hike
Elbo Creek Trailhead Marker
This trailhead is located at Rainbow Campground. However, like most, I start from the Rocky Brook Road junction which is about 1/4 mile from Hwy 101.
Don’t forget plenty of water. The name might imply a creek trail but this is not the case. You will hear Elbo Creek on occasion but will not see it. There is a hidden lookout path on a switchback where you can get a glimpse of Elbo Creek and a small waterfall.
This was our first time on Elbo Creek Trail. I enjoy hiking first time trails and have often told myself not to hike the same trail more than three times. Fortunately for me, a trail is never the same no matter how often you walk it.
Today was a pleasant overcast day. Rain moving in and out like waves on a shore. The temperature was perfect for a three mile climb. After concluding my trailhead ritual of gathering my camera gear and trail comforts we set our feet to the path knowing full well I was going to forget something – I always do.
Jessica patiently waiting as I take pictures.
Both Jessica and Deborah have become accustomed to walking a trail at a photographers pace. When we seem to be traveling at a nice step I tend to bring it all to a halt. I just can’t help myself, photography is my Yoga.
Elbo Creek has a pleasant foot path and a typical Olympic Forest understory which I thoroughly enjoy experiencing. Every mushroom, moss, and tree have written the most beautiful prose to existence. Birds and chirping squirrels add musical notes to the rhythm of the rain and harmony of the wind. No trail in the Olympic Mountains is a waste of time for me. I enjoy them all for their own reasons. Elbo Creek Trail is no different.
Fall color of a Vine Maple.
I wouldn’t call Elbo Creek trail one that a far away hiker should plan for but it is a nice trail for locals or as a side trip for those passing through. There are nice views of Mt. Constance and Hood Canal I’ve been told and have yet to experience. Visibility was restricted to passing clouds as they mistily slipped through the forest.
All this moisture allowed the fall colors to intensely glow, especially when the sun escaped the concealment of the clouds for short moments.
Resting on a bed of fern.
Photographically I was not as inspired beyond a typical meditation. No pictorial enlightenment happened on this day. Then again, maybe it did and I wasn’t listening.
Eventually the path makes a turn away from what looks to be the old trail riddled with fallen trees, so many that a re-route was decided upon. I do not know this for certain but that was my thought when reaching this point.
The trail steepens and looks more like a ribboned game trail until it reaches a forest service road.
Deborah and I walked the gravel road, hand in hand, for about two miles before deciding to turn back. We were not going to have a view and daylight was ending soon.
Trail is in great shape to this point.
Admirable Bolete aka, Velvet Top
Trail still under construction here.
Shortly after re-entering the trail from FS030 we stopped for snack and watched the clouds move through the trees.
Jessica needed to chase a stick and so we threw one for her. I between photographs and Deborah between bites of cheese and crackers.
The temperature was noticeably dropping as the sun descended and so we decided to move on down the trail and hopefully be back at the truck before nightfall. And we were.
Forest in the Mist
Red Belted Conk
Elbo Creek is a trail I will do again, I enjoyed it. Mostly because it was time spent in the wilderness and most importantly time spent with the loves of my life, Deborah and Jessica.
USEFUL LINKS FOR ELBO CREEK:
Washington Trails Association – Elbo Creek: While there is still much more to do, WTA has been doing a lot work on Elbo Creek.
US Forest Service Info: Not a lot of info but worth a quick check.