A Journey Up the Elwha 2016

This past week I took a few days and hiked up the Elwha. Even with the extra 7 mile road walk each way, this was still a pleasant trip. Although if you decide to do it it is worth knowing that there is a temporary bridge across the washout, although when I went there is still the signage out for the ‘Access Trail’ that bypasses the washout.

Started with the 7 mile road walk then then hit the trail up to Elkhorn. The next day I day hiked up to Hayes River and back, broke camp and moved 3 miles on down the river. Then came out Wednesday before the rain hit. It was a good trip and I think the washout was a blessing in disguise. I only saw two other hikers, along with a pair of volunteer rangers and a trail crew. The Elwha is usually more crowded than that.

Lots of roses were blooming along the road.


What used to be Lake Mills


The upper part of Glines Canyon. You can see why putting a dam here might be so appealing. All that is left of it now is high up on the shoulders of the canyon, supporting the viewing platforms on either side.


Not a good picture, but you can see the viewing platforms around the old Glines Canyon dam.


I don’t remember seeing snails in the ONP before, but saw several of these. They are different that what is common at home.


Michael’s Cabin, a couple of miles up the trail.


Fresh new Peppermint Sticks popping up alongside the trail.


One of the occasional views of the surrounding mountains.


The Maidenhair fern is one of my favorites; and there was a lot of it in the damper places (of which there were a lot).


A little waterfall tumbling down onto the trail a mile or so down from Elkhorn.


Setup at Stony Point by the Elkhorn Ranger Station.


Remann’s Cabin, an old fishing cabin just under 2 miles up from Elkhorn.


While not a rain forest, the amount of moss hanging from the trees is pretty impressive.


The big broadleaf maples are draped with some serious moss. This one is at Elkhorn.


Just a random shot of the Elwha, somewhere between Elkhorn and Hayes River.


Still a few Trillium in bloom, but not a many as a month ago.


Strawberries lining the trail.


The Elwha just down from Hayes River. The river itself is not very visible, but as the river meanders along its valley over the years, you can see where it is cutting out a new course.


The Hayes River Ranger Station.


There are a couple of places up near Hayes River where the Douglas Firs block out so much light that all that grows on the ground is moss.


This section of trail is lacking the tall trees and is dominated by brush and Slide Alder. Lots of pruning needs to be done to keep the trail open.


In places the Ground Dogwood is pretty thick.


A carpet of moss softens the scene.


Looks like a deer made something a mighty fine dinner, or two.


Most of the trail is away from the river, but it does come alongside of it periodically.


I always find it interesting to run across a survey mark way back in the Olympics. I wonder what it took to get an accurate survey mark so far back in the mountains in 1929.


An old tired sentinel standing guard over the trail.


The second night’s camp was alongside the Elwha just down from Mary’s Falls and before the long climb away from the Elwha. The river will likely claim this spot within a few years.


The mules were loading up to haul supplies up to a trail crew working above Elkhorn.

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