Forum Index > Trip Reports > Silver Lakes by way of Tull Canyon  9-7 and 9-8 2006
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reststep
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PostMon Sep 11, 2006 8:06 am 
This is in the Buckhorn Wilderness of Olympic National Forest.

I have heard of people doing this route as a day hike.  I decided to do it as an overnighter.

The first day I drove the Dungeness Road to the Tubal Cain Trailhead and was on the trail about 12:00 noon.  I was soon at the junction with trail to Tull Canyon.  This trail is steeper and more of a way trail.  It didn't take long to get to the lower part of Tull Canyon where the B-17 wreckage is.  I looked around and found the trail that heads to the upper canyon.  I planned on camping on the ridge above Tull Canyon and knew it would be a dry camp.  I was going to pump water at the small creek near the plane wreckage but thought I would get it further up the canyon so I would not have to carry it as far.  Well, the trail goes away from the creek and when it gets back to it in the upper canyon there is no water.  I listened and could hear no water running under the rocks either.  It turned out to be a dryer camp then I planned for.  Fortunately I had enough water for dinner and for a cup of cocoa for breakfast.

It was a beautiful night with a full moon.  Clouds covered up the the lights of  Seattle  about 3:00 am but it stayed clear where I was.

Clouds over Puget Sound

On the second day I went up the ridge to where you can see down to Silver Lakes and then worked my way down to the Lake.  Much of it is on a boot beaten path.  Where it went over rock slides I was on my own but then would run into the path again.  It is a little bit steep in places but nothing too bad.

When I got to the lake I mixed up and drank about a quart of gaterade.  I was thirstier then I thought and it tasted really good.

Every time I go to this lake I am always amazed at what a beautiful, peaceful and quiet spot it is.

Silver Lake

I then hiked the Silver Lakes Way trail back to the road and then about a mile down the road to the car.

It was a great trip.

I have a question about some trails I saw on the slope above Tull Canyon.  I can't figure out if they are game trails or human trails.  They appear to switchback and someone once told me that animal trails don't switchback.  If it is a human trail then I can't figure out where it would be going as the other side just drops down to the Quilcene River.  It could be a climbers path I suppose.  It does seem like it might be a natural route for game to cross  from one drainage to the other.

Here is a picture of the trails

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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Phil
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PostMon Sep 11, 2006 1:54 pm 
Nice report and pics.  Re: your question, the route over the Tull Canyon ridge and down to Quilcene drainage is indeed a climbers' path per the OMR book.  I myself have taken that route as part of a TubalCain-TullCanyon-Quilcene-marmotpass-BuckhornMt-TubalCain dayhike loop.  We didnt follow any particular path down into the Quilcene drainage but rather just headed downhill on path of least resistance.  Took us by an old nasty hunter camp complete with bloody trash, styro coolers and blue tarps.

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reststep
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PostMon Sep 11, 2006 2:31 pm 
Thanks Phil.

That is interesting about the hunter's camp.  Several years ago in the fall when I hiked to Marmot Pass there were a couple of horse trailers at the trailhead and some hunters camped at Shelter Rock Camp back in the woods.  I have not seen them there since then.

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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RPBrown
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PostMon Sep 11, 2006 2:49 pm 
That "nasty hunting camp" has been there since the early 1930's.  The fella that established it was a real local legend in the Quilcene area.  He was responsible for helping build/maintain the "original" trail up the Big Quil.  That  trail reportedly crossed and recrossed the river 56 times.   This was the trail BEFORE the CCC's rerouted it. Originally the trail started at what is now Rainbow Camp just off of Hwy 101 near Walker Pass.  After that the trail started at the Big. Quil. dam.  When he was working on the trail it was...well...10 miles to Ten Mile Shelter (where the Big Quil. trail starts now) about 13 to Shelter Rock and 16 to Marmot Pass.  Referring back to the legend here, his main occupation was horse packer.  In those days people paid him to pack them in the mountains.  Also, hunters paid him to pack their deer out.  I heard he kept really busy doing that.  This was during the depression so times were tough.  I heard he used to take horses up Tull Canyon, over the top to Silver Lakes, then up over the Camel Pass to the head of Ten Mile Creek (now Wet Weather) to pack hunter's deer out.  I find that pretty incredible.  That hunting camp you saw used to be in the open.  It was right at timberline.  Try and imagine that nowadays.  That country burnt around 1905.  I know this guy's grandkids.  They don't use the camp much anymore.  Probably, what you saw is someone else's crap.   Supposedly, this guy was one of the most colorful, likable characters you'd ever want to meet.  Anyway, that's the story behind the "nasty hunting camp".

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Phil
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PostMon Sep 11, 2006 6:09 pm 
Alright then, I'll buy that, quite reasonable.  I love old stories like that ... we know so little about those who came before it's always nice to get a glimpse.  It always cracks me up when you read about the well-publicized expeditions such as Press and O'Neil in the Olympics who suppose they are breaking trail for the first time only to find hunters cabins and other routes of earlier explorers deeeeep in the woods.

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Sabahsboy
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PostMon Sep 11, 2006 6:23 pm 
Marmot Pass and above
Thanks to all!  What a fascinating story!

I went over some of those routes a number of times, years ago.

There are wonderful displays of flowers ( unusual plants...no sweeps of lupine) just west and south of Marmot Pass; and up on Buckhorn.  The alpine uplands are more like Colorado than the usual Washington mountains.

A friend went along on the re-enactment of the Press Expedition some years ago...must be 12 or more years ago?  I would need verify the Centennial date.  I tried to finagle a spot on the trip...alas, I had no success.

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Phil
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PostMon Sep 11, 2006 7:20 pm 
Since the thread is driftin this way, there are some great sources for old Olympics tales in the King County library system.  Story after story of folks who just took it upon themselves to build trails, whether for personal gain or not.  Reading thru those sources gives some ghreat ideas for finding your own routes or looking for signs of long ago.

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