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80skeys
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 1:28 pm 
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Spent a few days backpacking the High Ridge Loop and a couple more days car camping other spots on the Peninsula. Will post photos later.

The black bears on High Ridge are unique, aren't they. Completely indifferent to people. Neither timid nor aggressive, they just ignore you. Saw several of them. none of them were nearby.

We had clear skies the whole time. Nights were cool but not cold. Probably about 50F. A couple of the days got pretty hot (80F+) towards the top of the ridge.

The trail on the Deer Lake side is very rocky for several miles. Not good with the thin Xero boots I had (will report on that in Gear Review). Made for a rough last day.

Lot of blueberries everywhere. Plenty left even after the bears have had their fill. Bear poop with distinctive blueish-purple color.

Lots of that very dry green moss stuff that hangs from tree branches. Great for starting fires. Would not be so good if lightning strikes one of the many trees that's covered in it.

Too many people.  Most of them are day-hikers doing the 20-mile loop with a fanny pack. Too intent on their hike to stop and have a friendly chat.

Two douche-bags in the campsite next to us at Hoh Lake were throwing rocks at our tent in the middle of the night. At least, that's my brother-in-law's theory about what was causing the noises and rustling the tent that woke him up.

Fishing nonexistent. We tried oceans, lakes and rivers. Water levels in rivers extremely low. The Queets, the Hoh River, the Sol Duc River, only about 2 feet deep in most places. Not a fish to be had anywhere.

We did some car camping near Forks on the western side of the Pensinsula one night. Very high winds for half the night. Heard trees falling. A bit disconcerting.

We did some fishing on some of the lakes, inlets and ocean on the west, north, and east sides of the peninsula. No luck. Might not have had the right bait for ocean.

The pensinsula is a very different environment than what I'm used to. Very thickly wooded. A lot of vegetation. Somewhat humid. It was enjoyable, but not first on my list of places to return to. Not sure why - maybe too different from what I'm used to, or too many people, but next year I'll probably look at the northern Cascades first.
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JonnyQuest
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 2:17 pm 
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80skeys wrote:
The black bears on High Ridge are unique, aren't they. Completely indifferent to people.

Pretty much describes every bear I've encountered on the OP.  Except for one I encountered about 200' above the Elwha trail at Mary's Falls.  I had hiked off the gravel island where we were camped, crossed the trail, and headed up the hill a ways to do my business.  I found some nice soft soil to dig next to the root ball of a toppled old growth.  As I squatted there serenely listening to the morning birds, pants down around my ankles, I heard a rustle on the other side of the log.  I looked to my right and found myself face-to-face with a good size black bear as it was ducking under the log next to me.  Seriously, we could have kissed.  It emitted a loud grunt, reared up, smacked itself on the log above, scrambled comically backwards out from under the log, and tore off up the hill never to be seen again.  Once my heart beat settled back down, I continued listening to the birds.
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Ski
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 3:15 pm 
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80skeys wrote:
Fishing nonexistent. We tried oceans, lakes and rivers. Water levels in rivers extremely low. The Queets, the Hoh River, the Sol Duc River, only about 2 feet deep in most places. Not a fish to be had anywhere.

All of the west-side Olympic Peninsula rivers run quite low during the last few weeks of summer.
Until the rains come, the anadromous fish will loll about offshore at the mouths of the rivers until they smell the rain hit the river, at which point they make a mad rush upstream. A few of them manage to evade the gillnets at the mouths of the rivers.

Those that are in the rivers late in the summer usually have plenty of bugs to eat, as can be seen here in this 20+ foot deep pool in the Queets last Wednesday:


You might want to consider alternatives in respect to the type of gear you're using, and the time of day you're out there with a rod in hand.

The coastal beaches offer up mostly surf perch, and are generally most fruitful on incoming tides. Try some sand shrimp around the rocks at #3 or #4. Most of those I talked with last week seemed to be doing quite well.

80skeys wrote:
"...or too many people..."

Wow... not sure where you were as I'm not overly familiar with those places, but the few people I saw last week were (for the most part) at a distance.
You might consider some other destinations that aren't on the list of "Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat Selfie Hot-Spots". up.gif

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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graywolf
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 3:43 pm 
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Regarding the bears, like I said in my response to your seeking bear spay, it's not needed in ONP because they really don't care about you - especially at this time of the year when they are so focused on berries.

Fishing at this time of the year is my favorite, but I'm exclusively a fly fisherman and have been fishing the backcountry streams and lakes of ONP for many years.  Don't do any ocean fishing, so no ideas on that.

High Divide is notorious for the number of hikers, and day hiking the loop is very popular - we're thinking of doing just that in the next couple of weeks (even though we just finished a four day trip up there on Saturday).

Regarding the dry moss being great for starting fires - I sure hope you didn't have fires anywhere above 3500 feet in the park - that's a big no no.  Don't understand why folks have to have a fire when it's already so fricking warm.  Hell, the low temperature at our high camp (above 5000') last Thursday was 56!

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Ski
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 5:58 pm 
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graywolf wrote:
Don't do any ocean fishing, so no ideas on that.

I use an old 9-foot glass steelhead spinning rod (BIG eyelets) and a monstrous Garcia spinning reel - you want to throw out as much line as you can to get it out into the breakers.
Run 10-to-12 pound test line - don't worry about "leader". Tie a 2-ounce piece of lead about 2-3 feet up from a big salmon hook and jam a sand shrimp or some other stinky tidbit onto the hook.
(Chicken guts work okay in a pinch.)
Work the incoming tide - wade out a ways so you can get the rig out into the breakers.
Take a bucket for your catch.
Rocks down off Beach #3 or #4 seem to be the most popular along the Kalaloch Coastal Strip. wink.gif

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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graywolf
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 6:58 pm 
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Tempting.  I've watched an osprey catch perch in the breakers at Sand Point.  Maybe on my next trip out there...

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80skeys
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PostWed Sep 16, 2020 11:54 am 
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Ski wrote:

All of the west-side Olympic Peninsula rivers run quite low during the last few weeks of summer.

Yeah that I didn't realize until we got there. The water levels were so low you could wade across the whole river without any effort. I'll have to go back in the winter sometime and try fishing again.

Quote:
Those that are in the rivers late in the summer usually have plenty of bugs to eat, as can be seen here in this 20+ foot deep pool in the Queets last Wednesday:

The date of your video is the time we were there. Not the same spot, though, cuz we didn't see any pools, just very shallow areas. If I had encountered some pools I definitely would have tried fishing them. I think our gear was fine. We had some salmon eggs sacks that my brother-in-law's dad had given us when we dropped by his house in Aberdeen.

Quote:
The coastal beaches offer up mostly surf perch, and are generally most fruitful on incoming tides.

We thought about fishing the surf (I've caught surf perch in Santa Cruz before) but decided on boat docks instead. Didn't catch anything except a tiny flounder. Using salmon eggs. My brother-in-law says he's only ever used herring but we didn't have any.

Quote:

You might consider some other destinations that aren't on the list of "Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat Selfie Hot-Spots". up.gif

Yeah for sure will do that next time. Actually I hadn't even known my brother-in-law was intimately familiar with the peninsula until we were out there driving around, otherwise I probably would have let him pick the spots.
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80skeys
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PostWed Sep 16, 2020 11:59 am 
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No we didn't have any fires except for at the Sol duc river campgrounds. Not allowed to at Hoh lake.

I'll tell you, if you ever need to make a fire, that tree moss (Spanish moss or whatever it's called) is the perfect stuff. I had never seen that before but it sure works.

I definitely want to make it back out to Queets river, Hoh River, the western peninsula and try fishing those rivers again. It's kind of a fascinating area.
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graywolf
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PostWed Sep 16, 2020 12:58 pm 
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80skeys wrote:
No we didn't have any fires except for at the Sol duc river campgrounds. Not allowed to at Hoh lake.

Good for you - thanks!

I had to educate someone who had a fire at Heart Lake Friday night.  I've also kicked apart a few new fire rings in the high country this year.

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