Day 1, Aug 6, 2018
Sue dropped me off this morning at the road closure on the Elwha. From there it is an eight mile road walk, on a mostly paved road, followed by two miles on the trail in to Boulder Creek. Just prior to the washout is a sign pointing to the trail that bypasses the washout, and I took it. When I got to the other side I saw that there was actually a temporary bridge across the washout. So the detour was unneeded. Not sure why the signs are still up for the detour. After passing the ranger station about two miles in, the road begins a pretty steady climb until shortly before the end. It was a fairly easy trek though.
When I got to Boulder Creek, I set up camp and then went down to the hot springs. I climbed into the biggest pool but could only handle about 15 minutes. After that I walked down to the creek and jumped in and scrubbed off the days grime and the sulfur smell. Then back to camp to chill, eat dinner, and then chill some more until bed time.
Day 2, Aug 7, 2018
Up early this morning and on the trail around 6:30. I was only going a bit over five miles, but someone last night told me there were lots of people at Appleton Pass, and I wanted to be sure to get a spot where I could hang. When I got there I had the place to myself, until after 4:00. The other reason for leaving early was to beat the heat on the exposed climb up to the pass. The day ended up warm but not uncomfortably so.
The trail today was generally good although there were a number of trees down across the trail. There was one large meadow and several smaller ones where the trail was hidden by the flowers. It was pretty, but they hid a multitude of tripping hazards. I am set up by Oyster Lake, a small stagnant tarn, but scenic. The only good water up here comes from a small spring down below the tarn. I went down to get water and ended up falling. I thought at first I had restrained my ankle, but thankfully it was OK.
After I had camp set up I followed the ridge trail on around and up to a very scenic high spot. Spent some time there and took lots of pictures. The flies are thick with little breeze, so I spent a good share of the afternoon in the hammock reading and meditating. And listening to the constant insect drone and flies hitting the screen. It was a very relaxing afternoon.
After dinner I went down to the spring to clean up. I found a small pool, dropped my stuff, and then turned around and saw a small bear heading my way, about 50 feet away. He was eating something in the stream and unaware of me. I backed off the stream a bit and started talking loudly to it. Eventually he saw me and moved to the other side of the streamlet and on up the hill. Of course my camera was back in camp, so no pictures.
Looking the other direction one can see Mt Olympus peeking out. It became much more visible the next day from the High Divide.
Day 3, Aug 8, 2018
Had a long day ahead of me so was up and out early. The day started with a 2.5 mile, 2000 foot descent down to the Sol Duc river. Then regained all that lost elevation over the next four miles up to the High Divide. Seems like the builders of the Sol Duc trails really liked steps. There was a lot of steps in the climb to High Divide. Heart Lake is a pretty little lake just below the divide. I stopped there to fill up the water bottles and have a snack before going on.
The views from either side of the divide are great. Mt Olympus is showcased on one side. The 7 Lakes Basin fills the other side. I stopped at Bogachiel Peak for lunch and was awed by the 360 degree views. The turnoff to the Hoh is just after Bogachiel Peak. This trail drops pretty steadily for over 6 miles. It goes past Hoh Lake near the top, and then, with a couple of exceptions, drops pretty steadily down, from over 5000 ft down to 1000 ft.
Once I hit the Hoh River Trail I headed down half a mile to the Olympus Guard Station. There were plenty of camp sites here and I snagged one near the river. Setup camp, ate dinner and then over to the river to cleanup. Felt so good. Bedtimes in an hour. And I am definitely ready.
Day 4, Aug 9 2018
I slept in this morning until about 7. Finally got up and headed up the trail to see how far I could get. I had originally planned on going to Glacier Meadows, but was tired so scaled back to Elk Lake. The Hoh trail is pretty flat for about 3 miles upstream from Olympus Guard Station. Then it climbs a bit before descending to a bridge across the river. The bridge is pretty high, spanning a deep but narrow canyon. In one place it almost looked like you could jump across it.
After crossing, the trail climbs steeply for the 2+ miles I did. Just before Elk Lake the trail crosses Martin Creek. Between there and the lake I noticed a tiny frog on the trail. Then 2 more. Then 3 more. I started to count them and was up into the 30’s when suddenly the whole trail came alive with tiny frogs. No telling how many I stepped on. I tried to avoid them, but they were almost suicidal.
Someone had told me yesterday that there was a good view of the glacier just past the lake, so I went on another half an hour, but finally gave up. I stopped for a bit and a young lady came down the trail. It was about 1 PM, and she was headed for the trailhead, 15 miles away. Hopefully she makes it back before dark. She was moving faster than me, so she probably will.
Got back to camp around 4, dropped my pack and headed for the river. It was nearly 90 degrees, and I was very hot and sweaty. After a bath I put my wet shirt back on and that helped a lot. Sat on a log to dry in the sun and ate dinner. Now to relax until bedtime.
Day 5, Aug 10 2018
I was supposed to meet Sue and her friend today a few miles from the Hoh Visitor Center about noon. Of course I left far to early and met up with them about 2 miles out, at 10:30. I got the car keys and went on while they continued on up the trail. I got to the car at noon and had lunch and waited for them to return. After they ate we walked the Hall of Moss, and then headed for home.
Starting from about 4 miles out I had started running into day hikers with a few overnights. By the time I was done it was a pretty solid stream of folks; felt like I fish swimming upstream. Wish some of them had some better understanding of trail etiquette.
Over all this was a very good trip. About 52 miles over 5 days. Lots of scenic country, 2 bear, lots of grouse, hundreds of frogs, lots of sun, some bugs, and a boatload of people. It was also my first time on the Hoh and found it to be very lush. As well as very popular.