posted at http://markandjoannatravel.blogspot.com
August 27, 2009
Day 4 of backpacking trip
I’m writing this from the most beautiful campsite ever. We are at the top of a mountain with Mt. Olympus in front of us, a ton of stars above us, and surrounded by other mountains. We are also completely alone up here. I wish we could stay here longer than one night.
We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset over purple Olympic mountains while eating dinner. Everything was too pretty to capture on the camera, though I did try my best! I hope my mental snapshot remains long in my head. Oh, we also have a half mood nearly lighting everything up around us. We have shadows cast by the moonlight.
I couldn’t ask for a better night.
Tonight was worth the terrible climb up here. I should go back to the beginning of the day.
We awoke in Sol Duc Park to the bugs. Luckily they did manage to stay off of us for the most part. Wearing long sleeves in the cool mornings helps. It was chilly and we had breakfast and packed up pretty fast. Our hiking legs are getting better every day and it is not so hard to get the pack on. Each day we get a little faster and have to stop to rest less.
Sol Duc Park down to the Appleton Junction was a pretty forest hike and all down hill. We stopped to take several waterfall pictures along the way. Soon we came to the trail junction where we would climb up to Appleton Pass. We stopped here for lunch before heading up what we knew to be a 2500 foot climb.
We also had the great idea to pack up everything we didn’t need and leave it at the bottom here in one of the bear cans. We’ll get it on the way back down tomorrow. The climb was very uneventful. It was hard, steep, lots of switchbacks, and hot. Well, 75 does feel hot with a big pack on and long sleeves to keep the bugs off.
We were very lucky to find a couple headed back down from the pass. For when we got to the top, we found that there were several campsites. We might have just stopped and camped ine one of the 10ish boring sites that we passed. However, this couple told us of a magnificent hike if we just kept climbing. It took all our effort to keep moving and not just stop, but it was worth it. The view is superb. I’ve captured most of it in RAW format on my camera. Basically this means I can’t upload it for you to see on my blog until I get home to convert it. You’ll just have to wait.
We set up camp easily and cooked far away. We are getting quite good at this now. After sunset, I took some photos of the stars and of our tent. I can’t wait to see how they turned out.
So now, it is time to sleep and not think about bears out there. Being all alone is wonderful as we really do get the absolute silence up here. However, it is also unnerving. A few deer have already walked by in the dark scaring us. Adrenaline rushes are good, right?
Today we hiked 5.6 miles at an average speed of 2.0mph.