Olympic Coast Overnight

With our National Parks re-opening (after much outrage), I thought I’d recount a hike Catherine and I had been wanting to do since we were planning our June Seattle/Portland trip: Backpacking the Olympic Coast.  Due to its relative remoteness, it deserved at least the two days we gave it, and offered a good deal of solitude.

We check the tides and arrived near the coast to hike a section of the “Wildcatter” shore.

Andrew on the beach

The beach near the trailhead.

Our plan was to beat the incoming tide, and the hike to high ground until we reached our campsite.


After much scrambling, we reached a pebbly cove.

Catherine hanging out, surveying the numerous sea stacks.

A view of the cove. I had to give up my walking stick already.

We quickly arrived at a very steep ladder switch-back, which we had luckily read about.  We also encountered our first mud of the trip.

Catherine, perched in the middle of the ladder.

Our route took us over Hoh Head, and then lead us into thick brush, despite being an old trail.  We also encountered more types of mud than a Tough Mudder course.  Tiny spiders seemed to enjoy making their webs across the trail, which we had to keep swatting away.  Constant glimpses of the shore kept us motivated, though.

photo 4(1)

photo 2

Because of the tides and the travel distance we’d gotten a late start, so we set up camp as the sun began to set.  Luckily this lead to some amazing views.

Sunset at Mosquito Creek

As the sun dipped below the horizon, distant sea stacks came into view. I think they might be part of the Washington Islands Wilderness.

Sleeping wasn’t too cold yet and we very comfortable under our Ray-Way quilt, sewn by Catherine’s mom.  It was our first backpacking trip with it, and though light, the synthetic bulk took up a bit more space than carrying two summer down bags, but also warmer.  I think if my pack was 36-40 L (including rolltop) and under 2 lbs, it would fit better than in my current 31 L.  Luckily, everything fit, even with the added bearvault we were carrying.

The next day we packed up and doubled back, since we didn’t have a car to shuttle us from the other end.

It was a great weekend hike, that was over far too quickly!




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