Olympic Discovery Trail Hike West From Dungeness River Audubon Center

Hike Distance: 7.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1308.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 273 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 136540 feet

Carol and I traveled to Sequim, WA for a long birthday weekend celebration; for my 60th!  Being that this was a travel day, we decided to stay close to the hotel, in order to maximize our time on the trail.

We have an affinity for hiking the Olympic Discovery Trail, and this section was new to us.  We parked in a small overflow lot just outside the Dungeness River Audubon Center.  There was parking inside the Audubon Center but we decided not to move the car.  This turned out to be a good decision as we didn’t get back until after the gate was locked!

A short distance into the Audubon center we noticed singing that was going on and decided to investigate.  There was a beautiful ceremony going on, and was conducted by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.  We didn’t stay very long but an elder of the tribe was talking about how songs are passed on as tradition.  If it weren’t already late we would have remained longer to see this tradition!

We visited the Dungeness River for a short while and stopped to take some pictures of the trestle bridge.  We then headed out over the 730 foot long bridge and were in awe of its length, and the phenomenal view of the Dungeness River!  A truly spectacular structure!

We continued on this asphalted trail, that is sometimes in the forest, and other times strolling by open fields.  There is even an airport just off this section.   There were also some road crossings and a short walk along the bicycle lane of a road.  Very few people were on the trail while we visited.  A wonderful hike that worked out well for a late start!

Forest Road Hike Near Kalama, WA

Hike Distance: 7.2 miles     Yearly Hike Distance: 1301.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 963 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 136267 feet

Another forest road hike.  I was glad to be able to break through 1300 miles for the year before my 60th birthday this weekend!  I’m still 59 though, and want to cherish my last days before rolling into a new decade.

Cottonwood Beach & Columbia River Dike Hike

Hike Distance: 7.6 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1294.1 miles

Elevation Gain: 260 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 135304 feet

Quite the gorgeous day, so I decided to head out to the Columbia River Dike area.  It was a very windy day, which helped cool things down!  I started by visiting Cottonwood Beach.  I followed the beach much further east than ever before, given the water level was so low.  After completing my hike on the beach, I walked the Columbia River Dike as far east as possible, which is to a fenced area with a locked gate.

Heading back west, I took the Gibbon’s Creek Wildlife Art Trail, which will close for the season on October 1, and won’t open again until May 1st.  It’s a wonderful trail and was well worth one last visit before closing.  Traversing the Gibbon’s Creek Trail allowed me to do a small loop around to the dike trail.

I also spent a bit of time trying to assess the Columbia River Gorge, since the wildfire was effectively put out by last week’s rain.  I couldn’t only see a small region that looked charred, but was too far away.

Ridgefield WR River S Unit Hike – Carol’s Birthday Hike

Hike Distance: 5.5 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1286.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 159 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 135044 feet

Today was Carol’s birthday, and she got to decide where to go for a hike.  Originally, we went to Whipple Creek Park, but there was a high school track meet going on.  We had never seen so many cars at the Whipple Creek parking area, so she decided that the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge was the next choice.

It turns out that this section of the refuge will be closing for the season, starting October 1st!  So, it was good that we came here for one last hike. 🙂    We walked clockwise on the graveled road.  This is such a beautiful area with plenty of open space  We also hiked the Kiwa Trail, in a counter-clockwise direction, when we came to the TH that is located off the gravel road.

We were fortunate to see deer, great blue Heron’s, and nutria (unfortunately these are large non-indigenous rodents).  It was a great birthday hike!  My 60th birthday happens to be coming up in six days, but I’m not looking forward to it.  😦