Baldy and Grey WolfThe weather was called to be spectacular and warm all weekend on July 24-25. I took advantage of the great weather and headed for the Olympics. I originally wanted to go to Royal Basin but there was still way too much snow in the upper basin for my liking. After hearing how clear Grey Wolf was and the fact it is the Clallam County high point I made that my goal for the first day. I left at around 2 am Saturday morning from Renton to get to the Dunganess River Trail-head by sunrise. I started hiking up the large trail that follows the river and got some nice long exposure shots of the water flow under the forest canopy.
After a longer than anticipated mile due to the photography I got to the Upper Maynard Burn trail junction and started climbing. This is more of a boot path that climbs 3000 feet. The Summitpost page on Grey Wolf said this climb takes about 3 hours. Given the fact I do my climbs very early in the morning and my determination to climb fast I made it to the crest of the ridge, 3000 feet up in 55 minutes. Now that I was on the ridge above tree-line, I took my time and went slowly. I simply followed the ridge to Baldy where I shot a nice summit panorama.
I then continued on and descended to the saddle between Baldy and Grey Wolf. The ridge to Grey Wolf was completely snow free. I was amazed how over in the shadow at 7000 feet there is no snow but Olympus only 20 miles away has miles of glaciers. I am still amazed by that fact! Upon summiting Grey Wolf, the view took my breath away. Views to all the inner Olympic peaks were seen.
I stuck around this summit for awhile before heading back to Baldy and down back to the trail-head. The hike back was as it would be but I did see a number of people heading for Grey Wolf up the steep trail as I went back. As I always do I talked with others as they headed up. I always do that since I'm usually the first one to get where I'm going on a given day. The rest of that day was spent driving back to Kingston to pick up a friend from the ferry dock who would join me for the hike on Sunday. After the pick-up we drove to the Sol Duc hot springs where we slept the night. Sunday was going to be the High Divide loop as a day hike.
High DivideWe woke very early and hit the trail. We passed by the Sol Duc Falls but since I didn't bring my tripod on this hike I wasn't able to get a long exposure shot. his was the best I could do. It's more of an artistic shot.
We made good time to Deer Lake where the sun was rising nicely.
Took a quick break here before continuing up the trail. We passed by a beautiful tarn completely surrounded by my favorite flowers.
Soon we crested the High Divide and views began opening up in all directions.
We got the the famous spot with panoramic views of Mt. Olympus and the lupines here were amazing.
We took our time up here and stopped frequently. We even saw a black bear on one of the snowfields near the trail. There was a decent bit of snow remaining but not enough to make it hazardous. Seven Lakes Basin still had a bunch though and we didn't really want to go down to Lunch Lake. After climbing up Bogachiel Peak to see the "climax panoramas", we decided to take a slide down into the basin just a little bit. The Seven Lakes Basin still had lots of snow but it was very soft and melting very fast.
We wandered around passing by many bright blue melt water ponds.
Once my eyes started to hurt (no sunglasses) we climbed back to the trail and continued. We passed above Lake Number 8 and soon were above Heart Lake.
We did see a few people at Heart Lake but that was about it. We took a long break here and I even got my alpine lake swimming fix. That water was COLD!
Walked to the apex of the heart and took a reflection shot.
After our break we started back down towards the Sol Duc River.
Very nice meadows were seen everywhere.
The hike back was long and forested but we met a nice couple from San Francisco at Heart Lake who went back down with us making the long walk seem to fly by.
This was one of the better set of day hikes I've done and I really want to go back and do the High Divide in the fall sometime to see how different it looks.