So after being convinced ( pronounced “badgered” ) by my brother to alter my plans, I headed in from the Upper Big Quilcene River TH and made my way to Marmot Pass, dawdling profusely along the way to enjoy the lush river lowland forest. So beautiful. The forests here, even on the leeward side of the Olympics, are so lush and magical. Marmot Pass greeted me with heavy fog, but rain never fell. The entire trip was dry ( and mosquito free ! ), after what I heard was an extended wet period. Perfect. I wanted to go up Buckskin and wander the ridges some, but didn’t see the point with visibility being so low, so I headed towards Boulder Shelter, where by my arrival the clouds were lifting. And from there to Charlia Lakes way trail and a very nice camp in a meadow just below the pass. I ran into a PT native here and we chatted a bit, being informed I had missed a rather large deer buck by a few minutes. I made camp and headed up to Charlia pass to ooh and ahh over the views of the Ridge of Gargoyles and Warrior Peak for a bit, and then made my way back down for dinner. After watching the Dungeness River valley filled with marine layer fog I crawled inside my bag and was serenaded to sleep by the sound of water rushing somewhere below, as I was to be treated every night.
Wet Weather Creek
So having missed out on Buckskin and ridge wandering the day before, I wanted to make up for it on this sunny days dawn by heading back up to Charlia Pass and riding the ridge northward. Wrong. The day before I had not ventured that way at all, else I would have discovered the ridge did not go. Soooooooo… back down to break camp and move along. Views were sparse as I moved mostly thru wooded cover, but a few panoramas offered their selves up for my visual pleasure, and once at Home Lake the wow factor went thru the roof. Mount Constance DOMINATES that skyline. Incredible. Once I’d drank in my fill I headed along, up to Constance Pass, and a camp just above there in a meadow atop a large snowfield leading down into the west fork of Home Creek. I made camp again and wandered around, coming across a young deer buck on a point overlooking Home Lake, and generally relaxed and enjoyed the scenery up to sunset and beyond before bagging down.
Mount Constance over Home Lake
Today I wandered from camp, my goal being “towards” Mount Mystery. If I made it to and up, fine, if not, fine. My only goal was to enjoy the day and take it as it came. Great views greeted me along Del Monte Ridge, but I didn’t understand the rock shelters I saw constructed. They get one not much closer to any peaks than where I was I camped, that I could tell. It seemed like a lot of time and energy went into them, just for the sake of the time and energy that went into them. The ridge became pretty broken over Sunnybrook Meadows, so I descended to wander around there a bit before heading back up to Del Monte Ridge past the broken portion to ride it to point 6514. Close enough. Then back along the ridge to drop down via a 1000’ glissade ( wheeeeeeeee ! ) towards Heather Creek besides its west tributary, and east into its middle tributary, before heading back up non-stop snow to the east side of Del Monte Ridge’s broken portion once more. Here I met a mama goat, her adolescent offspring and a lil’ baby. Knowing that goats have killed a few people this year so far, I gave them a good berth, having to throw stones at mama and shout and wave her off at one point. But they moved the direction I was headed as well, so I dropped down as much as I could to stay a good distance away until I could round them on the far side and continue back to camp. At camp I was treated to the most incredible sunset I have ever witnessed. The pictures are insulting to the true majesty of the 2 hours I sat in awe of the changing light and atmosphere. I’ll never forget it.
Mountain Goats on Del Monte Ridge
Sunset on Mount Constance and Warrior Peak from above camp
Today was exit day. Down thru Sunnybrook Meadow to the Dosewallips River ( the section I was treated too not nearly as scenic as the Upper Big Quilcene ) and out to the TH to be gathered up to go see Jr. perform at Centrum's participant concert. What a great hike.