Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 794 | TRs
|I hiked the Graves Creek trail (east of Lake Quinault) in Olympic National Park on Sunday 13 Sept. The TH was still pretty busy (~30+ vehicles) for after Labor Day, complete with cool temps and ~0.5 miles visibility.
The smoke & haze were pretty bad (substantially limiting views), but I only occasionally smelled the smoke or felt affected by it (though obviously not good for the lungs). The trail is in adequate condition, but could use some brushing-out on its upper reaches and has some large blow-downs in many places. The trail tread is a mixture of wonderful forest duff (the flat resilient/bouncy kind rather than steep stuff), eroded out rocky creek bed, tangles of roots, and good old dry ground. There is one ~10' section of the trail in the first 3 miles that has completely sloughed off over a cliff (70-100' drop to the creek below) and now has a very narrow precarious boot path just above it.
I crossed this boardwalk with care.
quite a few logs like these across trail. I crawled under most.
the trail crosses a few gully washouts, most were OK.
the trail tread completely gone
a long way down!!
the rock slab is really that steep, the bootpath is just above it.
a waterfall in the creek viewable from the trail.
I ate lunch at the creek ford (junction of Graves and Success creeks), then crossed via boulder hopping (look for the two cairns piles on the other side) since the water was low enough. The upper portion of the trail, to the junction with the Wynoochee Pass trail, was slightly more overgrown, but still very enjoyable. There are some really, really large trees tucked in this drainage!
trail tread across root tangles
some neat waterfalls & rock cuts& pools alongside the upper reaches of the trail
three ginormous cedars
big cedars (cont'd from base)
small camp before crossing back over to the eastside of Graves Creek.
The meadows below Sundown Lake were lit in interesting afternoon sun. The sky was almost blue above, but the gray haze gave everything a unique painting-like feel, giving depth to the views such as they were. I had a quick snack at the lake, then made my way over to Wynoochee pass, then down the trail to FSR 2270-400 where my pickup was waiting.
Sundown Lk from one of the camp sites. Sure is beginning to look like autumn.
leaving the lake to go back down the trail
trail colors from a knee-height view
the haze gave this view of the meadows below Sundown Pass an almost painting-like feel
fall colors beginning to show-up
orange glow of the filtered evening sun in a small pool near the top of Wynoochee Pass.
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