Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cape Flattery 10-16-2014

Twenty one years ago an impromptu road trip with college friends placed us on the Olympic Peninsula.  Since we were 'in the neighborhood' it seemed like a pretty cool idea to find the very northwest tip of Washington State.

Why?  Because we could!

So we thought.

We made it to within probably 4 miles of Cape Flattery but with no map, no road signs and a pot-holed dirt road in unfamiliar territory it was decided that maybe this wasn't such a good idea.  So, we turned around and made an entire loop of the Peninsula and ended up in Bellevue.  A LONG day.

That unfinished destination comes to mind sometimes... but it's always a pretty low priority considering the other opportunities (and challenges) that come my way every day.

Finally, an opportunity presented itself this year in the form of three consecutive days with a clear calendar.  The plan was to take this chance to visit Cape Flattery and explore some other features in the Lake Crescent / Elwha River / Salt Creek area.

On the morning of October 16, 2014 the day started with a ferry ride from Coupeville to Port Townsend where may Dad decided to join the adventure.

We drove out to Lake Crescent, stopped at the Lake Crescent Lodge and then drove directly to Cape Flattery.  The hike was pretty easy... 3 miles round trip and only about 300 feet of elevation gain (all on the way back to the parking lot).

We stopped at Washburn's General Store in Neah Bay to purchase the required $10 Recreation Permit (good until the end of the calendar year) on our way to Cape Flattery.

It's a pretty neat destination.  The trail included about four platforms for viewing different angles of the rugged coastline.

Lodging options do exist between Port Angeles... but they aren't fancy by any standards.  Prices we checked ranged quite a bit, but the room quality did not.  We considered camping, but the threat of rain was enough for us to eventually find a room on the west end of Port Angeles.

If you want to do this trip with class... get a room at the Lake Crescent Lodge.  That place is pretty nice.

Now... some pictures:

Lake Crescent and the Lodge:

Cape Flattery Photos:

The trip continues to other great Olympic Peninsula destinations.  Stay tuned... more posts coming soon.

Happy Hiking!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Winchester Lookout 09-28-2014

It's been almost a month, but it feels like at least three months have passed since I gathered the courage to drive up to Twin Lakes on a picture perfect late September day for a few hours of exploring one of the most scenic destinations in the North Cascades. 

The trail to Winchester Lookout is pretty straight forward.  One trail junction offers a choice to visit Low/High Pass (turn right) or to continue (straight) to the lookout.

At this point in the year, the snowfield above the Twin Lakes was completely melted out so the entire route was snow free.

Many people were camping at the lakes, some folks has spent the previous night in the lookout and another couple were camped in a tent just a short distance from the lookout.

Fall colors were starting to show in the blueberry bushes, but plenty of berries remained.

After visiting the look out and returning to the trail head, I opted to follow the road a short distance beyond the lakes and found myself at Skagway Pass.  The trail continues onward... potentially to Lone Jack Mine, but that exploration will wait for another time.

The drive is not for the faint of heart... nor for those in low-clearance vehicles.  It's steep and narrow.  With washouts and two or three-point switchbacks if you have a large turning radius.  Go slow, be safe.

Regardless of the approach conditions, if you can get yourself here in nice weather you won't be disappointed!

Happy Trails!


Coming soon:  Photos galore from a multi-day trip to explore portions of the Olympic Peninsula!