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42 » Backcountry

Dungeness Spit. Pho- to by Steve Payne.

January + February 2010 » Washington Trails

Beautiful trail. Snowy. Snow level was about 2,000 feet and sloppy. Shelter at 2.7 miles made a nice dry lunch destination. I’d guesstimate about 18 to 22 inches’ of snow near the shelter.

Not another soul around. Very quiet, except for the loud wind roaring through the old growth crowns.

Peaceful.

12 Dungeness Spit USGS Dungeness E, Dungeness W

November 14, 2009 by Hikingqueen

I picked this hike hoping I would avoid rain: it worked! My nwhiker friends joined me today. I was grateful for the company, it’s a LONG walk.

My original plan was to leave my house at 5 a.m. I ended up running 30 minutes behind, then took a wrong turn in town and that delayed my arrival at the gate until 7:45 which was great because the gate doesn’t even open till 8 a.m. Good to know for future. I chatted it up with some local hunters waiting for the gate to open too. It’s pheasant hunting Wed., Sat. and a few other days FYI, so wear your orange if you will be anywhere besides the beach. I started hiking around 8:15 and Bobbi and Amy joined me on the trail a bit later. I had a heyday with wildlife today: tons of eagles, seals, deer, pheasant and crabs. It was a nice brisk morn- ing, sun was shining to begin with, then it hid the rest of the afternoon, but no rain or wind to speak of. We made it to the lighthouse and were greeted by innkeepers who were full of

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hospitality. They showed us to the top, but didn’t let us outside the ring. Down we went and had a quick bite and then back to the beach for the long, rocky walk back. Didn’t time the tides very well today, or the surf was just high, or something, I got wet at least 3 times. But great day in the Olympics with AWESOME company.

13 Mount Townsend Green Trails Tyler Peak 136

November 4, 2009 by Jon Lee

Gazing at the snow-crowned Olympics from my desk at work a few weeks ago, I knew that the time for heading into the high country was over. But things can change. When the clouds broke on Tuesday, it was not just snow-free mountains that appeared, it was a glint of hope. And when Steve Pool said the weather Wednesday would be, shall we say, unseason- able for November, the use of a vacation day was assured. Said I, “Mount Townsend, here I come!!!!!”

Though I knew the summit was snow free, I didn’t know if the trail was, so I took along a small assortment of gear to make sure I could tackle any snowy/icy patches I encountered. It wasn’t required though. The trail was in beautiful condition, as bare and dry as it might be in late August. After having resigned myself to the fact that my next time in the wilderness would require snowshoes, it was a magnificent treat. November and still able to get “up there” with just a pair of boots.

The views were as astounding as always. The high clouds and light haze failed to obscure the views of the volcanoes from St. Helens to Baker, the San Juans, Victoria B.C., and the skyscrapers of Seattle. The views westward towards the Dungeness valley and the inner Olympics beyond were equally stunning. Yet, these expansive views were also tinged with a note of sadness. What is a land filled with lush green meadows filled with wildflowers during summer is now brown, brown, brown. The mountains have tasted snow, and the flora has entered into their winter hibernation. It is a fascinating contrast to spring. In spring, things are equally brown, yet the world teems with life: buds are filled, things are growing, and even a few early bloomers, tired of waiting, have burst out. But now, as the wild prepares itself to spend the coming months cocooned in snow, those signs of life, those rays of hope, are absent. The colors are the same between spring and fall, but the interpretation is different.

The low sun angles made for some great lighting for photos.

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