Monday was the day that folks could get off work to go for a hike. It also, conveniently, had a sunny weather forecast.
Driving on the peninsula, I was surprised at how much of the land was clear cut. Some of it was replanted, and some of it not. But it all had the look of a poorly shaven sheep. Most of it was older cutting, but we saw logging trucks indicating somewhere there was still active cutting.
The trail we picked was the Upper Dungeness and Royal Basin. The guess was that people could hike about 6 miles. The guidebook described an avalanche path with good views, and the topo map showed a clear stripe at about 3 miles out. So I hoped that was it, and that we would make it. Just the drive up to the trail head was astounding — great views, terrifying plummets off the side of the road, etc. It took me a bit to convince Tyson to stop touristing on the drive up so that we could actually get to the trail head.
Tyson couldn’t come with us on the hike because of his knee, so he wandered off with a car. The rest of us headed off into the woods. This section of the woods had obviously not been clear cut. It was a veritable cathedral of evergreens with huge immense trees marching in every direction. Not as big as the red woods, but still huge compared to east coast trees. I don’t think I got any photos that really capture the scale. There wasn’t much undergrowth. Instead there was a carpet of moss that covered everything, including recently fallen trees.
At the first trail intersection, we checked on times. We were making fine headway, but I discovered that Rehana needed to be back earlier than I had thought, so this reduced our turn around time by a bit. We were making good enough time that we would probably still make the views (if they were where I guessed they were), but I wasn’t sure if Tyson would be back by the time we were. I decided to worry about that later.
The vegetation was pretty constant the entire way up. We did run into a few patches of snow here and there, but we were on a south facing slope so not too much. The trail was pretty even, so Tyson might have been able to do it, but not nearly at the pace we were.
Right about when folks were getting ready to turn around, and the clock said it was close to time to turn around, we came out on an avalanche scar. So we had lunch and admired the views. I’ll post photos eventually. Then we turned around and hiked back out.
We got back at about the new scheduled return time. And Tyson wasn’t there. We drove around a little and looked for him with no luck. I ended up just deciding to wait for him by myself and let the others drive back to Seattle. My plan, which I very successfully carried out, was to sit up against the sunny side of the outhouse and fall asleep. Tyson showed up an hour or so later. He had wandered around some of the smaller roads, and gone on a short hike up an abandoned road. It sounds like we need to come back some time when his knee is functional to do a backpacking trip.
The two of us then went farther west to Port Angeles for a hotel so that we could continue to tour the peninsula the following day.