Thursday, 29 September 2005

Seven Lakes Basin

Fungus This was a long one; 18.8 miles in one day with over 4500ft of climbing. We met people on the way round taking three days over this loop. “I hope you boys have got a flashlight.”

It was a long day: 16 hours from downtown Seattle until our return. There was no earlier ferry we could have caught. The trailhead is some 40 miles west of Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula, about two and a half hour’s drive from the ferry terminal in Bainbridge. We were on the trail, at about 9:30am, in the cold morning air. It felt like autumn was coming.

The trail emerges from the trees surprisingly quickly, so we had views from pretty early on, which made the climb far more bearable. The weather was superb, blue skys with a few wispy clouds above, but not too hot.

After a brief respite in a beautiful flat area full of ponds and ripe huckleberries the climb continued. We soon crossed over the ridge to views over the west side of the Olympic range, out to the Pacific.

We lunched atop Bogachiel Peak, which gave us views all around, over the Seven Lakes Basin to the North and South to the snow-covered summit of Mount Olympus.

The High Divide was a strange section; one side of the slope was south-facing an covered in tall pines, whilst the north side was open, covered with only grass and the odd stubborn and weathered tree. It’s a very pleasant section of the walk, being mercifully level and with views across the valley of the impressive glacier crawling down from Olympus. We soon spotted Heart Lake, but from our point of view, the heart shape was upside down. After dropping down from the High divide we soon entered thick forest and the rest of the walk was of close-up views of trees and undergrowth. There were plenty of varied fungi about in the damp autumn air. By the time we got back to the car, the light was fading.

It was a bit of a slog, especially towards the end, but absolutely worth the effort. You can do it one day, so do.

See all the pictures here.

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