Forum Index > Trip Reports > High Divide Loop, ONP, 10/9-12/2006
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hermes
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PostSun Oct 15, 2006 2:44 am 
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Day 1 - Sol Duc TH to Heart Lake
Started at the Sol Duc trailhead on Monday morning to hike this classic loop clockwise. The Sol Duc River trail is through awesome forest and before long I was in a reverie - which I was snapped out of by nearly missing the Anderson Pass junction.  I managed to stay more alert - especially crossing the scary log over the Sol Duc and stopped for lunch amid the breathtaking scenery of Sol Duc Park. Shortly after I was at Heart Lake and set up my shelter in the exposed site between Heart and "Little Heart" lakes. Al arrived shortly after me as well as two day hikers who were on their way down - one of whom was very proud of his 74 years (very encouraging) and kindly took a photo of me which is the best of the trip.  I hiked up to the Divide and along the Cat Basin trail to where I could see down to Heart Lake
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

and the adjoining upper part of Sol Duc Park. The basins were dotted with bears and I had company fairly close to the tent in the evening
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

Later in the evening even though it got quite windy, I could hear that bear's breathing near the back of my tent and when the moon came up I was able to watch him/her methodically harvesting the berries behind my shelter.

Day 2 - Heart Lake to Lunch Lake (with side trips to Bogachiel Peak and Hoh Lake)
Next morning I began packing early with the intention of leaving my gear at the High Divide trail junction and taking a side trip into Cat Basin but when a couple of bears came close again, I stopped everything and just sat down in the soft, warm sun and watched them. It was like being in a storybook. I eventually left Heart Lake at 10. 30, nixed the Cat Basin side trip and started along the High Divide towards Bogachiel Peak. The colors were outstanding on the south facing slopes
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

and the contrast with the north facing slopes looking into Seven Lakes basin (SLB) could not have been more pronounced.
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

A quick jaunt up Bogachiel Peak to lunch with views to Mt. Olympus, the Pacific Ocean, the Strait, the I5 pollution corridor,  and much more. Back on the Divide trail, surrounded by berries,
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

two hikers warned me of a mother and cub very close to the trail near the Hoh Lake trail junction. Sure enough, a little way down the Hoh Lake trail I spotted this
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

but there was no sign of a cub so I waited, just in case and as the mother grazed the blueberries beyond the rocky outcropping, Junior woke up in the bushes beside me
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

and scampered along the trail to join Mama. I had to wait quite some time for them to get far enough from the trail that I felt safe in proceeding but even after I had passed, Mama kept a watchful eye.
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

Even if you are not going down to Hoh Lake, the first part of the trail is well worth walking for the views, picturesque basins and at this time, stunning colors.
Hoh Lake is charming
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

but with nobody else around and being able to see six bears on the slopes around the campsites, I decided to head back up to the Divide and over to SLB. Mother and cub were in exactly the same spot I had left them and, this time, after waiting several minutes I just scampered pass close by as they watched me.
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

The sun was setting as I entered SLB and set up camp near Lunch Lake.

Day 3 - Wandering in Seven Lakes Basin
This was a day of rest as I wandered around SLB, dunked in one of the lakes (there are a lot more than 7) in the upper basin and gazed down on some of the lower lakes. There is a lot more territory and a lot more undulation than is apparent from the Divide so I'm sure I left much unexplored. I met Al again and was able to thank him for finding my camera bag and leaving it where I would see it. He had spent two nights at Heart Lake and told me that he had seen, not one, but two bears very close to my shelter when he had left to climb Mt. Carey the morning before.
That evening, the colors around Lunch Lake were sublime
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA
Sol Duc - High Divide Loop Trail, Olympic National Park, WA, USA

an attribute Shacknasty has captured better than I.

Day 4 - Seven Lakes Basin to Sol Duc TH via Deer Lake
Once below the divide, my reverie returned and I had to jolt myself out occasionally to make sure I was still on the right track as I descended into the depths of the forest back to the trailhead after a fairy tale journey.

I'm sorry I have so neglected the peninsula up to now in my nw hiking - I'll have to make amends!
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l
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PostSun Oct 15, 2006 8:22 am 
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Hermes, I'll bet the two bears you saw by Bogachiel Peak were the ones I saw in that little tarn below the peak.

I really enjoyed your report and photos. You captured the essence of that wonderful hike.
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hermes
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PostSun Oct 15, 2006 11:27 am 
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Probably - it certainly seemed to be their area. Thank you for the nice comments. I think you trumped me on SLB - I took many of the same shots but yours are a lot better than mine!
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ActionBetty
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PostSun Oct 15, 2006 9:29 pm 
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The bears blew me away in that area up.gif

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"If you're not living good, you gotta travel wide"...Bob Marley
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Jeff R
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PostSun Oct 15, 2006 9:35 pm 
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Great bear shots! I wouldn't get much sleep with Yogi grazing on berries around my tent at night.
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hermes
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PostSun Oct 15, 2006 10:39 pm 
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Actionbetty,
a million thanks for your report which I used as my guide (I even went down to Hoh as you had intended) and my humblest apologies for not thanking you in the report - terrible omission on my part. Thank you borank.gif

Jeff R, I think the sheer numbers of bears in the area made me get used to them really fast! I took a whole gig of bear photos (mostly of their butts as they were very busy eating).
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ActionBetty
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PostMon Oct 16, 2006 5:38 am 
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Hermes,

I am glad you got to see this area in good weather and my trip report was a guide and inspiration for you.  For some weird reason I too had no fear of the bears for there was so much food..why the hell would they want to mess with us untasty humans.  up.gif  up.gif

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"If you're not living good, you gotta travel wide"...Bob Marley
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ASBrauer
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PostTue Oct 17, 2006 8:38 am 
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Great report! I was up there from the 10/9-10/11 going counterclockwise. I believe I was the one who warned you about momma and cub? I'm glad you posted so soon with such great shots of all the splendor up there. My photos won't be back for another week or more (love my slides anyway biggrin.gif ). This was one of the best trips I've been on and I'm glad you enjoyed it as well and shared it with the great folks of the PNW.

p.s. My buddy and I took a count of at least 15 separate bears in the two basins, including 8-10  surrounding Heart Lake, which tickled me right down to the bone, because I'd never seen one in ONP.
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hermes
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PostTue Oct 17, 2006 8:40 pm 
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Good to hear from you! That info about the mama and cub was great - I had tremendous fun watching that pair. The mother clearly has a very effective way of communicating with the cub but I could neither hear any signal or see any overt gesture. Glad you enjoyed the trip as much as
I and I look forward to seeing your photos.
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ASBrauer
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PostTue Oct 17, 2006 9:04 pm 
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Btw, for future reference, the other fellow I was with (taller with dark hair) is Doomgoggles on here. Perhaps we shall meet again on the trail.
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Doomgoggles
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PostSat Oct 21, 2006 3:18 am 
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Heh, yeah that's me.  You got some pretty amazing pictures of that pair of bears there; and a much closer encounter than we did.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > High Divide Loop, ONP, 10/9-12/2006
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