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meck
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 10:44 am 
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Dodger Point, ONP, 8 Sept 2020

I've been looking to visit the ~5.3 mile primitive trail on the back (south) side of Dodger Point leading down to the Elwha for a couple of years now.  Several others on this site have done this loop (Hesman,  Double_E, Ravenridge, GGW with lots of good photos).  My wife suggested we spend a couple nights in PA, which would allow me to get an early start from there and hike a loop in a day, which worked out well.

I got an early start (0330) from the Madison Falls lot, and biked/pushed my bike to the Whiskey Bend TH where I left it for the return ride.  The bypass trail is a bit annoying, but manageable while pushing a bike.  The hike to Humes Ranch was pleasant as usual.  I could already smell the smoke in the air.

The hike up to Dodger point on the Long Ridge trail was its usual perfect self!  Despite the length, the grade is very easy, and the trail crews have cleared all of the blowdown. There were a few trickling streamlets crossing the trail within maybe 3 miles of the top (I filtered a liter along the way to top off my water).  The two "ponds" at Dodger Point in the basin meadow appeared to have water, but I didn't go near them to check the quality.  I met and NPS crew who had just finished their work prepping the lookout for the winter and were waiting for their mule train to help haul out gear.

crossing the Elwha
crossing the Elwha
morning sunlight through the trees on the Long Ridge trail.
morning sunlight through the trees on the Long Ridge trail.
recent blowdown cleared, yeah!
recent blowdown cleared, yeah!
example of one of the larger streamlets with water
example of one of the larger streamlets with water
dust to dust , ashes to ashes, fallen tree skeletons to dirt...
dust to dust , ashes to ashes, fallen tree skeletons to dirt...
trail nearing the upper basin
trail nearing the upper basin
a campsite maybe a mile downtrail from the basin
a campsite maybe a mile downtrail from the basin
some of the nice rock work along the trail (I think I took an almost identical picture that last time I visited Dodger Point)
some of the nice rock work along the trail (I think I took an almost identical picture that last time I visited Dodger Point)
those fall colors coming in
those fall colors coming in
view of the basin below Dodger Point (from the "upper meadow" campsite where the NPS crew had been staged)
view of the basin below Dodger Point (from the "upper meadow" campsite where the NPS crew had been staged)
looking up towards the Stephen-Carrie Peaks ridge in the Baileys
looking up towards the Stephen-Carrie Peaks ridge in the Baileys

The Dodger Point lookout was in good condition and all boarded up for the winter.  I spent about 45 minutes here eating lunch and taking in the hazy views in all directions.  This really is a nice place to visit.

looking SE
looking SE
looking WSW towards Olympus
looking WSW towards Olympus
Ludden Peak
Ludden Peak
Mt Scott
Mt Scott

I descended back down to the tannic(?) tarn to find the Dodger Point-to-Elwha primitive trail.  There was a campsite near the tarn (ca. 5000').  I was much happier going down this trail than up it. The upper portion is quite nice and does not descend that steeply. I crossed three "meadows" on the upper part of the trail before it enters more solid tree cover.  The first was a gentle slope down ward across. I entered the next two from higher on the west, then descended down the middle, exiting at the bottom of the meadows.  Someone had helpfully placed some orange metal tags on the trees.  The lower portion of this trail is exceedingly steep (for a trail) and passes through beargrass forest (literally, the only undergrowth was beargrass!) and later salal forest.

The tannic tarn, make a left and pass by this on your way down to the Elwha
The tannic tarn, make a left and pass by this on your way down to the Elwha
Here's the sign, time to turn left!
Here's the sign, time to turn left!
First meadow to cross, head gently downward across it.
First meadow to cross, head gently downward across it.
Typical trail between meadows.  The trail is reasonably visible in the daylight.
Typical trail between meadows.  The trail is reasonably visible in the daylight.
Looking back up the second meadow, trekking poles pointing to the route down (entered the meadow from the above left).
Looking back up the second meadow, trekking poles pointing to the route down (entered the meadow from the above left).
One of the trail markers near the bottom of the meadow, very useful as there were several game trail that left the meadow further up on the east side.
One of the trail markers near the bottom of the meadow, very useful as there were several game trail that left the meadow further up on the east side.
about the enter the third meadow
about the enter the third meadow
Remains of an old blaze on a now dead tree?
Remains of an old blaze on a now dead tree?
Blaze on the other side of the tree.  Lots of other trees on the way up appeared to have older blazes that had been grown over.
Blaze on the other side of the tree.  Lots of other trees on the way up appeared to have older blazes that had been grown over.
The 3500' marker, getting closer to the river valley...
The 3500' marker, getting closer to the river valley...
beargrass everywhere!
beargrass everywhere!
typical salal forest.  Some of the steepest trail sections were here.
typical salal forest.  Some of the steepest trail sections were here.

It was a relief to reach the Semple Plateau.  The trail is pretty good here, though there are a few spots where game trails can lead you astray.  The orange markers were placed in a few key spots (I sure appreciated them).  My experience crossing the Elwha was almost exactly the same as Double_E's a few years ago: I crossed right where I could see the large orange marker on the other side, the water was fast moving (trekking poles helped), and was just about waist deep (I wore a swim suit and brought lightweight water shoes solely for this purpose).  I changed back into boots and hiking clothing at Remann's cabin, then began the trek back out the Elwha.

The trail finally flattens out here.
The trail finally flattens out here.
The trail drops down several "tables", descending 20-50' to the next flat area.
The trail drops down several "tables", descending 20-50' to the next flat area.
The final orange tree marker before dropping ~40' down to the river level and the crossing. There were several game trails that all led down the same slope.
The final orange tree marker before dropping ~40' down to the river level and the crossing. There were several game trails that all led down the same slope.
The trees and brush on the sandy west shore of the Ekwha, I just pushed straight through all of this to reach the water.
The trees and brush on the sandy west shore of the Ekwha, I just pushed straight through all of this to reach the water.
The large orange marker on a tree on the other side of the ford.
The large orange marker on a tree on the other side of the ford.
Looking back across the river at the treed edge.  I didn't initially see any flagging looking back across so it might be difficult find the exact trail up, onto the plateau if you were going the other direction.
Looking back across the river at the treed edge.  I didn't initially see any flagging looking back across so it might be difficult find the exact trail up, onto the plateau if you were going the other direction.
back on the Elwha "highway".
back on the Elwha "highway".
Remann's Cabin
Remann's Cabin
I love how the sun comes through these tree stands!
I love how the sun comes through these tree stands!
Looking down the Elwha (a little before reaching Elkhorn Camp)
Looking down the Elwha (a little before reaching Elkhorn Camp)
One of the last photos of the day with fading light, looking NNW.
One of the last photos of the day with fading light, looking NNW.

The bike trip back in the dark was interesting and quick, though it still took about 1.5 hours from Whiskey Bend to Madison Falls.  I arrived back at the vehicle at ~2240.  It was a long day, but fun to visit Dodger Point and the primitive trail.

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*Just say NO to Rent-Seeking, don't give up the concept of "ownership"*
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Hesman
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 1:10 pm 
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Now that takes some testosterone poisoning, chest thumping and a Tim Allen Home Improvement grunt to do all that as a day hike with road being closed and all that jazz.

I enjoyed that loop when I did it a few years ago and still think about it from time to time.

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You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss
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silence
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 5:28 pm 
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Nice! Always wanted to check it out.

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. Bob Dylan
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RAW-dad
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 9:27 pm 
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I've always wanted to head up the DP primitive trail to get into the Baileys, but it's never worked out. Your TR gives me extra impetus to keep trying.  Thanks for sharing!
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meck
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 10:39 pm 
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Hi Hesman, yeah I like to do at least one long dayhike each summer, and oof this was it!  I'm feeling it a bit more today.  My original plan had been to do this as a slower, and more enjoyable loop, by staying at Humes Ranch two nights to avoid the road walk in/out on the long day, but the logistics and timing didn't work out this time (and I was not sure how high the river level would be the next time I got a chance to get out there this year).  I think the itineraries you and Double_E used were a lot better for actually getting to savor the Elwha adventure (and I was definitely glad to have read your TRs prior to trying this).

Silence: I definitely recommend it if you can.  It always feels like you can see every other Oly peak from here.  If you can spend a night at Dodger Point, the half finished trail out towards Ludden Peak and the Baileys is a pretty cool side trip.

RAW-dad: I definitely could see using it as an exit from the Baileys, but it would be a whopper of a way to get in! Uff, that uphill is steep in many places, and almost entirely dry until you reach the tarn, from what I can remember (there was some wet spots/trickle in one of the meadows).

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Hesman
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PostFri Sep 11, 2020 7:07 pm 
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meck wrote:
I think the itineraries you and Double_E used were a lot better for actually getting to savor the Elwha adventure (and I was definitely glad to have read your TRs prior to trying this)

I would have to agree. By doing it in three days, it was a much more of a mellow, low key hike and I was able to enjoy it at a leisurely pace.

And the trail up Long Ridge is one that never really makes you tired in a physical way because of the shallow grade. It might make you tired from wondering if it will ever end. 😉

--------------
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss
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Ravenridge22
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PostSat Sep 12, 2020 8:04 am 
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Nice descriptions and pictures of the meadow crossings.  When I traveled up from the river to the plateau and beyond, it was a steep, hot journey, so don't think I'd want to try it again that way.   

Back in 2014, one of those meadows had hundreds of grasshoppers, every step scattered dozens of them.

Just thinking, has anyone seen the entrance to the cave near the tarns below Dodger Basin?   Supposedly it is about 100 yards to the northwest of heart shaped tarn where the terrain starts sloping down into the valley.
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silence
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PostSat Sep 12, 2020 10:12 am 
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We spent 2 nights at Dodger (the 2nd was unplanned due to weather) on our way to do the Bailey. But, given we were planning and carrying for 8 days (with 2 days of quality time in Ferry Basin and 2 in Queets) that extra day set us back. We decided to bail.

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. Bob Dylan
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Hesman
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PostSat Sep 12, 2020 10:16 am 
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Ravenridge22 wrote:
Just thinking, has anyone seen the entrance to the cave near the tarns below Dodger Basin? Supposedly it is about 100 yards to the northwest of heart shaped tarn where the terrain starts sloping down into the valley.

Ever since reading about it in Robert Woods trail guide I have wanted to look for it. I completely forgot about looking the last time I was in the area.

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You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss
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Brushbuffalo
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PostSat Sep 12, 2020 2:23 pm 
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This is a very informative trip report with sufficient detail that many can duplicate your route.
Loops are cool!

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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