Sue and I headed out this morning to hike up the North Fork Skokomish River in the Olympics. It was a bit cool and lightly overcast but looked promising. We were a bit late getting away from the house and didn’t get to the trailhead at Staircase until about 9:30. And for the first time ever we pulled into an empty parking lot; although 3 other cars followed us into the lot, a group of 11 younger folks.
Our goal was to make it up as far as Camp Pleasant, nearly 7 miles up the trail, eat lunch and then wander on back to the car. All looked well for the first 4 miles. But then we hit Spike Camp and found the snow. The next mile and a half was patchy snow with the last mile and a half almost continuous snow of about 2-3 foot deep. Most of the snow was fairly soft which resulted in some post-holing and a lot of slow travel.
In addition to the snow, the trail had seen no maintenance so far so there were a lot of trees and branches on or across the trail. I threw off most of what I could lift, but were was still a lot of stuff that I couldn’t handle, including one tree over 4′ in diameter and a number of massive blowdowns that we had to fight through or around. In the end we came just short of Camp Pleasant because of a blowdown that was just too big an obstacle.
The highlight of the trip for me, beside being in the woods with my love, were the flowers, primarily the trillium. I probably saw more trillium today than I have the rest of my life combined. They were thick in places, at least until the snow started and then they disappeared. There were also a few yellow violets and an occasional random flower, but the trillium stole the show today.
All in all it was a seven and a half hour trip up and back with few people, cool but dry, lots of snow, lots of trillium, and a good time in the woods with the wife. Over all, a pretty good day.