Sunday, June 28, 2015

Olympics / Graves Creek June 26-28 2015

Olympics / Graves Creek June 26-28 2015

Quick story: this is a hard loop but worth it. It was said to be 55 miles and 15,000 ft of gain. The variety of scenery make this trip one to look at. I was on the loop from 2pm June 26 till ~6am June 28. I slept at night. 

Longer story:

Gear with me, look at Chinook pass write up for the basic list.

Patagonia nine trails pack, rain shadow pants (light bivy gear) and nano puff jacket (light bivy gear). 
Gemini Emergency bivy sack. 
Altimeter, which I lost. 
Old fanny pack. 
Trekking poles. 

Food I ate:

seven bars
five gels
Two Jeff's special muffins.
two abh and c sandwiches. 
three hammer perpetuem servings. 
two Starbucks refreshers. 
Three small round cheese. 
Beef jerky. 

I saw:
A lot of grouse. 
A herd of elk

Mistakes I made. 
Not attaching the altimeter with build in carabiner to something. 
Not bring my gps unit.

My story

When I thought about this route the key words James Varner route, 15,000 ft of gain, 55 miles and route finding really set in. I know I would have to plan this one a bit different. I did not think I could make John's time on route. I set myself up for a overnight trip. 

I left the car at 2:00. I asked a couple if there was a solo hiker with gear like mine in front of me. They said he had about 10 min on me. I hoped this was Nick up there. First right and Sundown lake ahead for the first leg. I lost my altimeter in this section. I have to thanks Jessica and Nick for tramping the grass down on the trail. This make it easy for me to stay on route in this first section. This first section is a bit boggy. Forget having dry feet on this course. 

Old fondation along the way. 

Views from around six ridge pass

Views from around six ridge pass

At this point things are going well. I am staying on track. All this will change soon. 

I use the trail to descend into a meadow. I see a cairn below me and figure I can find the trail there. I will repeat this next exercise to many times till I work my way to the six ridge trail that follows the ridge crest above Belview. I would lose the trail, pull the map and compass out and find a good direction to go. I would find the trail, continuing along till the next meadow. This really burns a lot of energy, adds miles and elevation I did not need to do. 

Tarn where I filled up my water supply. 


 McGravey lake. 
 McGravey lake. This place is beautiful. 

Metal tags on trees marking the trail. I saw two total. 

Sunset photos, time for bed. I am not on the trail at this point. I found a great place to spend the night. 
My bivy sack. probably not the best idea for  gear to take, but is does pack to a size of two foil blankets. 

I have been playing in the mountains of WA state for over 30 years. Bivying out where I am not sure of my location is within my comfort zone. I knew once the sun came up I could map and compass my way back to where I needed to be. I sent out a SPOT message to reference latter to see where I spent the night. I knew I was to high. I also knew that there was a trail that lead to a pass that would take me to the ridge. I aimed for that and found it. I used that trail to get above Belview camp on the ridge. 

John, you will find this interesting. While I was walking back on the trail toward Six ridges I came upon two complete sets of clothes.  One female and one male. I wonder if these belonged to your Robin Hood and gal. I no other signs that would lead me to anything else. 

Once I was traveling on the Six ridges life was going well. I enjoyed the views, geology, and weaving trail. The trail let you do some running down to Big log camp. 

Bird in river at Big Log camp

At Big log camp I refilled my water supply and took a food break. Finding the trail in Big log camp took me five minutes. It is not marked but once you find it, it is obvious. 

Taken off bridge by sign above. 

This next section will take me to Marmot lake. It was getting warm in parts of this trail. Luckily there was water around to dip my hat into. There is some great down hill running in this part. 

Marmot lake O'Neil pass area is amazing. This place is be worth the visit. I took a break here and sat for a bit to absorb the beauty of the area.  I can not say enough about this area. This was my favorite spot on the trip. I probably should have gone swimming. The lake is inviting. 

 Marmot lake
 Marmot lake
O'Neil pass from Marmot lake. 
 View from O'Neil pass
View from O'Neil pass

This next section to Quinault river trail runs along the valley. There are good running, narrow trail, full sun, trees for shade and light up hill. I little bit of everything. Once I hit the Quinault river trail I stocked up on water. It was 7:30 now. I knew that John ran through the darkness to get to his car. I have poor night vision. I figured I would make the most of the sun left and started running. I was able to average 18 min mile till 9:30. I spooked a herd of elk in this area. I am glad I spook them and I would have been in big trouble if they had stood their ground. It was getting dark in the forest now. I put my headlamp on and walked on. I am glad I have my trekking poles to catch myself when I stumble. Around 10;30 I was getting tired and decided to spend the night. I hopped in my bivy sack and slept for four and half hours. 

 Lodge at Enchanted valley. I wonder how the materials were delivered? 

Up at 3:00 am I was off to finish this thing off. I am glad I make this decision and I was sharper and able to run the downhill and flat sections once the sun came up. It took me a little over three hours to get back to my car from the bivy site. 

 Last bridge to cross. 
This picnic table has not been used in quite awhile. 


  1. Jeff... I've hiked into the Enchanted Valley and Anderson Pass with Mark T and Lisa. Your photos bring back memories. Nice photos by the way.

  2. Jeff, I hiked into Enchanted Valley way back in 1997 I believe. The cabin looked a bit better back then. Great trip report.