VACATION DAY #5: Olympic Peninsula Hike Lower Big Quilcene River Trail #833

Hike Distance: 6.1 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 464.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 955 feet       Yearly Elevation Gain: 51612 feet

Our last day of vacation, and we were going to hike somewhere on the northern Olympic Peninsula.  However, the storm that was expected all week had finally rolled in, and had high winds.  We opted to find a hike along the way home, and were hoping the winds would be more tame further south.  As my wife drove home, along hwy 101, I looked up the possible hikes along the way.  Looking at the wta.org hiking map, I found the Lower Big Quicene River Trail and thought this was a possible option?

So, we drove south, and the winds seemed to be much lower.  We committed to hiking this trail and turned off and drove along the many forest roads toward the TH.  As we ascended the rain intensified and it was blustery.  Several times I wanted to bail out because of fear of falling and blowing debris, but we didn’t.  Surprisingly, the roads were in fairly good shape and our sedan had not problems.  We were getting close and I told my wife to turn on the final road, and it turned out to be incorrect.  Ugh, the pain of turning around on a single lane forest road.

We turned back and found the road to the trailhead, but opted not to drive down this marginal road.  Instead, we parked on the main forest road that was 1/2 mile from the trailhead.  So we put on our rain gear and headed down the marginal road and final reached the parking area at the TH.  There was actually a nice composting bathroom there!

The trees were swinging wildly but we stared down the trail anyway.  I was looking and listening for flying debris and the sound of a tree limb cracking.  At first we decided to walk a half mile down the trail and assess the safety.  We heard a tree falling but we weren’t in imminent danger and continued.  Then at one mile out the wind was diminishing significantly as we descended down the trail and into the canyon.  We met a couple, and their dogs, along the way.  They had the only car in the parking lot.

Continuing down the trail we noticed that this was in amazing condition.  There was obviously some group of people taking care of it.  I speculate that some biking club is volunteering to clean this trail up, and they’ve done an impressive job.  We came upon a brand new bridge, over a very small stream, at about two miles out.  We continued and there was a large wooden bridge over the Big Quilcene River.  I love this river, and the view from the bridge was great, and it reminded me of Herman Creek in the Columbia River Gorge!

I forgot to mention that after about one mile out I felt a cool, wet feeling getting through my rain jacket.  Yes, my Arcteryx Beta SL rain jacket failed miserably today. 😦  When I mean fail, I’m talking about feeling my upper torso slowly getting drenched.  Then I felt the water go past my waist and into my underwear.  I then felt the water dripping between my legs and starting down my leg.  When we got back my whole front torso was drenched, and cold.  Ugh!  Thankfully, I still have a 20% off coupon for the REI sale that is going on.

We turned around just past the bridge over the Big Quilcene River.  We had a snack just before turning around.  Little did we know that there was a trail intersection just 150 feet past where we stopped!  After our hike I noticed that this area has a large trail system with plenty of future hiking opportunities. 🙂

So, as we returned I was hoping the winds had subsided somewhat, and they did. Yea!!!  We got to our car and got as comfortable as possible, for the three hour drive home.  We opted not to stop for food since we could make it home for dinner time.  We have vowed to come back and hike this area, and possibly make it a regular visit when we go to the Olympic Peninsula?

Again, my back did great today!  I’m much more optimistic about the leg lifts, now.  The only thing I’m noticing is that I can feel my entire hip and back changing due to the leg lifts, and this could take a long time to iron itself out?  That said, I now have more hope than I’ve had in a long time. 🙂

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