I was doing some photography in the Queets area of Olympic National Park and decided to get out and stretch my legs on this trail. It's a 3 mile loop trail (also known as the Queets Campground Loop) that supposedly passes through old growth rain forest. I say 'supposedly' because I didn't actually get to see much of it. I had just enough time to stroll the 3 miles and hopefully grab a few photos before dusk, so I drove past the loop trail intersections at both the Ranger Station and the Queets Campground to check out the Queets River Trailhead, which this trail also uses. I parked there, amazed at the flow of the Queets and the fact that someone had actually forded it recently, and started clockwise on the Sams River Trail.
As is to be expected this time of year, the trail is very muddy. In many spots I sunk almost to my ankles and after only a few hundred yards my shoes and rain shell below the knees were covered in mud. I trudged on, however, admiring the abundance of alder and maples covered in moss that rivaled even the Hoh. After about half a mile, I encountered a makeshift trail sign (a laminated note taped to a stick) warning of possible seasonal flooding beyond that point. Indeed, just beyond the sign a small section of trail had been washed away by recent runoff. I continued on and found the trail was completely gone after only a few hundred yards, lost in one large plain of runoff. I followed the apparent path of the trail and found another 100 foot section of it before losing it again. There were several possible paths to choose from at this point, but after exploring them a bit and seeing no trace of trail, I decided to head back rather than get lost at dusk. After washing off the mud in the Queets, I headed to Kalaloch to catch sunset on the beach.
I did see a few early flowers on the trail, but I don't know them well enough to identify them. I also saw a few early mosquitos as well, but didn't suffer any attacks. Birds were out en masse deeper in the forest. Looks like spring is indeed on its way.
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