Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Chinook Pass/Ohanepecosh River Loop June 14 2015

The Chinook Pass/Ohanepecosh River Loop June 14 2015

Quick story
This is a great loop that offers quality running with views of mountain peaks and valleys, beautiful forest and waterfalls. There is plenty of water on the route. I did the loop clockwise in a little over nine hours.

Longer story. 

Gear with me:

Scott trail running shoes
Drymax inner layer, Wright outer layer socks
OR: gaiters, cap and gloves.
Patagonia: Houdini jacket and pack, Nine trails vest, beanie and light weight balavica. 
Old trusty shorts I love for trail running. 
Cascade Crest 100 tee. (got to go with what takes you to the finish line)
Costco: smartwool zip longsleeve tee.

!00 oz blatter and handheld bottle. 
MSR filter

Map and compass

Space Blanket
Duct tape
First aid kit
Moustique repellent
Headlamp with extra batteries

Record keeping
Camera with extra batteries
Timex watch (nothing fancy, just the time)

2 abh and c (almond butter, honey and coconut sandwiches) 
4 gels
2 bars
2 small rounds of cheese
2 Hammer perpetuum servings. 

Ipod classic

What animals I saw
2 elk
1 momma elk with baby
Small furry things (like squirrels etc)
human with dog
2 bird together in lake (Loon, duck ?)

What I heard:
HD motorcycles

Mistakes made
Did not eat 2nd breakfast before leaving car
Did not read map well enough to avoid adding ~half mile to trip. 

My story

I left the car at Chinook Pass parking lot at 6:45 looking for the correct trail. I found my way east on the PCT crossing over the road. The day was cool and clear. 

This section of trail weaves back and forth over the ridge rise and falling as it goes. I like to play a game with myself to guess where the trail will go next. I spooked two elk in this section. They were 50 yards off but still made a major racket leaving the area. I saw the only other person with a dog for the first two legs also. I loved the openness of this leg with great views. 
This is Dewey lake.
This is Anderson lake
Mt Rainier
I am now in the park. How anyone could drive to this point is beyond me. I ran past much small versions of this for miles. 
Possible water for stop. I had enough and moved on. 
Right turn and lots of running ahead. 

I stopped at three lakes and filled my water supplies up. I made a  Hammer perpetuum also. There is lots of running in this section. It tends downhill for most of it. 

This cabin is at the last lake of the three lakes area. Had I been a little more curious I would have seen the registrar by the door and signed in with my fellow ultrapredestrin wilderness folks. Matt, did Betsy put those bark arrows down so  you would not get lost? 

It was in this area that I was running and spotted a brown head in front of me. It was a little ways ahead and I kept seeing it in and out of the brush on the trail ahead. I got a little closer and to my amazement it was a baby elk. Time to walk, where is moma? Moma comes along in front of the baby and leads it off the trail. Well baby elk is not walking that great and does its best to get off the trail. Once it was far enough off for me to feel safe I ran by. 

Part of the amazing running trail. 
Road crossing just before Silver Falls. 
Silver Falls

The section from Silver fall to the car was a interesting one. 

I saw people. Lots of people around the grove of Patriarchs. This is a nice area, but I was alone and enjoying the solitude for so many miles I was not quite ready for this. ( It was Sunday at noon, what did I expect) 

The river you follow is amazing. The trail is beside it, goes out and comes back, there are many bridges over it. the waterfall are worth the trip in itself. and the sound of it is there for most of the trail up to Cayuse pass. 

This is the first time I was at the walk/run phase. This gradual climb takes you to deer camp. After deer camp be ready for the climb. I think someone forgot what a switch back was in places. 
I took a short break to fill water at one of the little bridges with an ideal break spot. I could have wasted away more time than I had there. 

It was getting warm near the top of the climb. Thankfully there are many water sources for dipping my hat into to cool me off. 

Once I crossed Cayuse pass the trail still climbs, but not as bad. One downfall for me was having the road so close as I was on the trail. Once I topped out at Tipsoo lake I made a minor error. I follow the sign to the PCT. Yes this would have worked, but added three miles I did not need to do. I follow this trail for a quarter mile or so. Then I realized that I should have crossed the road, joined the day hikers for the three tenth's of a mile to my car. Oh well, I guess I needed the extra half mile. 

Kathy, thank you for showing me a new place to run. For anyone thinking of doing this route, do it. It is a great run. 


  1. Great photos. Reminds me of part of my TRT hike recently.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.