Monday, June 17, 2019

Olympic Day Two: The Hoh, continued

When I planned this trip, I decided roughly where I wanted to spend each night and what areas I wanted to hike in each day. I followed the plan for my first day in the park, but realized on the second day that I wanted to adjust the itinerary.

When I was a the Hoh Visitor Center buying my backcountry pass, the ranger suggested that I hike to Glacier Meadows— a whopping 18.4 miles away (and uphill from the Visitor Center).

"I can't do that," I said quickly. I looked at the trail map in front of me. There was a campsite about 10 miles up the trail. I pointed.

"I'll camp there."

"Ok," she said easily. She wrote down my intended campsite and handed me the pass, and off I went.

One of my favorite photos from the entire trip.

But as soon as I started hiking, I started feeling regret. Why had she suggested Glacier Meadows? I couldn't remember if I'd looked at that online when I was planning my trip. What was special about it, I wondered. I decided to ask hikers I passed who were headed back down the mountain.

"How far'd you go?" I asked one young man as he passed.

"Too far," he said ruefully.

Not too encouraging.

trees growing on an airborne log!

Nursery log! 
Another nursery log!

I asked more hikers, and they all said the hike to Glacier Meadows was totally worth the trek. I'd flown 2,362 miles from Raleigh to Seattle and then drove another 208 miles from Seattle to the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center. Why would I now stop short only 8 miles from a glacier when I had the chance to see it? Because it wasn't in my original itinerary?

I debated hiking all the way to the glacier that day, but it was after 4 p.m. when I arrived at my intended campsite for the night. Not knowing whether the campsites further up the trail would've already been reserved, I decided to put my pack down for the night and hike to the glacier first thing the next morning.

It was a good decision. By the time I'd set up camp, fetched and filtered water, and made dinner, I was ready for bed.

To be continued...

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