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Trip Report Trip Report - Olympic Peninsula & Seattle - end of May/beginning of June

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I’m a single female from the Dallas, TX area and I have more freedom to travel than friends and family, so I’m getting accustomed to traveling on my own. This is the first trip I’ve taken where I’ve camped on my own. Eventually, I’d like to solo hike some very long trails such as the John Muir Trail, the Wonderland Trail, and even the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail. I plan on taking smaller trips that will eventually lead to those epic trips. Although I’ve traveled quite a bit, this was my first trip to the Pacific Northwest, so I had high expectations and wanted to see much more than one could possibly fit into one trip, but that just means that I’ll have to go back.

I settled on spending several days in Olympic National Park followed by a few in Seattle. Originally, this plan included a friend, but once she determined she was unable to go, I was able to make some modifications to my itinerary and fit a little more time into Olympic National Park. I requested some assistance with my itinerary on this forum, but was disappointed in the types of responses I received that constantly seemed to berate me for one person’s perception that I had failed to do any research. That was far from the truth as I had probably spent more time researching options and details than I ended up spending on the trip. I found it difficult to find some of the more technical details that one needs when planning this type of trip and hoped to get some answers on this forum, but just ended up writing a frustrated response and later deleting the entire thread.

I even question why I am bothering posting a trip report, but I hope that this offers others the opportunity to see how much I was able to do each day of my trip, how much I fit into the whole thing, and perhaps I can help answer some specific questions related to my experiences.

I chose to travel during this time of the year because I wanted the abundance of greenery in the rainforests, the large waterfalls and fairly decent weather. I was in luck with respect to all three. I referred to this website, among others, for a description of what to expect during different times of the year: http://www.barbeephoto.com/blog/when-to-visit-olympic-national-park/.

Hopefully, this report will help someone else along the way, or perhaps provide a little enjoyment to some to read. I don’t claim that this is the perfect way to do this trip, but I absolutely loved it and don’t regret much.

I would have liked to go up to Hurricane Ridge, but with it still being covered in snow and the amount of time that it takes to drive from Highway 101, in and back, I decided against it on this trip. I was also interested in hiking out to the lighthouse on Dungeness Spit, but decided against trying to fit it into this trip. Perhaps I will make it back someday and include those destinations along with Lake Ozette.

For clothing, I wore a tech long-sleeved runner’s shirt as an underlayer, a lightweight long-sleeve cotton shirt, a microvelour fleece pullover in colder weather, a lightweight breathable Gore-Tex type of rain jacket, tech runner’s pants under full length yoga-style cotton pants, wool socks and either hiking shoes or running shoes. The only time I needed ALL of that was on the whale watch cruise. Most other times, I just wore the tech runner’s shirt and pants covered by the cotton shirt and pants along with the wool socks and shoes of my choice. I expected the weather to be chilly, but found myself overly dressed in both the Hoh Rainforest and the Quinault Rainforest, where in both places I wound up removing all but the cotton layers. I hiked with a Geigerrig hydration pack, trekking poles, necessities, and emergency supplies.

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    Trip Report:

    Tuesday 5/27 – Missed my flight out of Dallas, so rather than arriving at SEA-TAC around 11a as planned, I did not arrive until about midnight. I picked up my rental car and decided to go ahead and drive out to Port Townsend since I napped in the airport and on the plane. First, I made a stop at a 24 hour Walmart in Tacoma for some food and a few camping supplies that I could not fly with, particularly denatured alcohol for my camp stove. Then I headed straight for Old Fort Townsend State Park where I had a reserved campground. It was after 2:00a when I arrived and set up my tent by headlight.

    Wednesday 5/28 – Registered my late arrival, paid for a second night, purchased some shower coins and showered. I had a reservation for the 4-hour morning Whale Watch cruise with Puget Sound Express and found my way there just in time. It rained during my drive from the state park to Port Townsend, but stopped as soon as I arrived…and this would be my fortune throughout my trip – very convenient rain that only occurs while I am driving…and even that was rare. I enjoyed the cruise up to the San Juan Islands and back. I chose to sit on deck for most of the cruise although it was a bit chilly on the water, especially when traveling at higher speeds, but I was fairly comfortable in my multiple layers. Along the way we saw at least 5 bald eagles, several sea otters, and witnessed a Minke Whale feeding frenzy with sea lions and hundreds of birds. The guides also pointed out a very large bald eagle’s nest in a tree.

    After returning from the cruise, I walked and drove around Port Townsend, falling in love with the very picturesque town. The Victorian architecture, flowers blooming everywhere, and friendly people made this one of my favorite towns I’ve ever visited. I walked out around Point Wilson Light and explored a little of Fort Worden State Park, but was still adjusting to the time change and decided to head back to camp a little early and get some rest.

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    Thursday 5/29 – Packed up camp, took a shower and headed back into Port Townsend to hike out along the beach to a place where one can find a lot of seaglass. It was a 6.5 mile walk on the beach that took about 6 hours. I spent at least one hour digging in gravel piles at McCurdy Point. I hiked out with about 3 pounds of seaglass, including quite a bit of pottery and some rarer glass colors. My search for sea life resulted in pictures of some red and purple starfish. Sadly, I encountered a couple who decided to take a large live purple starfish as a souvenir. I said a few things hoping to discourage them and I’m not sure what the result was.

    The hike back to the car seemed to take much longer than the hike in. I’ve read other people describe the hike in the same way. There is something about that last 1.5 miles back that seems to take an eternity. After finally reaching my car, I fixed myself a little lunch and took off for Port Angeles.

    For some reason, I had it in my mind that I needed to stop at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles. I got there about 10 minutes before they closed and learned that I could not purchase entry tickets there. So, I looked at the books for a few minutes and could have easily spent $100 on books, but did not want to have to lug them back home in my suitcase, so I used the restroom and left.

    I consulted Google Maps to get me to Lake Crescent and Google Maps took me the back way to Hwy 101, traveling along a pothole filled road that I think was named Little River Rd. I felt a little lost for a while, but figured Google knew better than I, so I forged on. Other than the potholes and the feeling that I was trespassing every now and then, it was a scenic drive. Eventually, I made it to Lake Crescent and I was getting concerned about how much daylight I had left because I had not adjusted to the very long twilight experienced here (it seems like twilight begins around 5p with a 9p sunset…something I am not used to in the very flat Dallas area), so I immediately went to the trailhead for Marymere Falls.

    The 2.5 mile hike in to see the falls and back took about 2 hours. I spent quite a bit of time taking pictures in a few very scenic locations. This was my first hike into this type of rainforest environment and I loved it. I’ve hiked in rainforests in Hawaii, but the rainforest here is actually much more interesting than what I’ve seen in Hawaii. They are both beautiful but in very different ways.

    I headed over to Lake Crescent Lodge and found myself much more enamored of the view than I expected. I had only intended to stop here, take some pictures, and go set up camp at Fairholme Campground, but I couldn’t take myself away. It is absolutely gorgeous here. I took some pictures and wandered around the shore a bit. Then I sat and contemplated a change in plans. Fairholme Campground was only a destination as a place to sleep and I really wanted to spend a little more time at this end of the lake without having to drive back the following day. With there being no camping options here, I decided to get one of the cheapest rooms available at the lodge and stay the night.

    It cost about $110 for one night in a room upstairs in the lodge with a shared bathroom and shared shower room. I’ve traveled cheaply in Europe where this is common, so this was fine with me. The room had a great view of the lake and a very comfortable bed. I plugged in some electronics to recharge and went down to explore my dining options. I placed an order with the bartender for a large salad and a grilled crab sandwich – I was quite hungry after all my walking. I chose a seat in the little sunroom area overlooking the lake and watched the sun set between the mountains while enjoying my fairly pricey sandwich and salad.

    Back to my room, I uploaded pictures to Facebook and read a few pages of “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” before I fell asleep.

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    Friday 5/30
    I lingered around the lodge until about 10:00a, trying to internalize the views. I had many more places to go, so I finally headed out for Sol duc Falls. On the way, I stopped at several turnouts along Lake Crescent to take pictures and bid the lake farewell. The drive into Sol duc Falls is pretty long through a lot of trees with a few glimpses of the Sol duc River along the right. Eventually, I arrived at the trailhead after finally purchasing entry to the park. I had a small lunch and then headed off for the trail. Within only a few steps, I came upon a couple of small chipmunks playing on the trail. At first, I thought they were baby chipmunks because these chipmunks are much smaller than the chipmunks I’ve seen closer to home, but during the rest of my trip in ONP, I continued to see chipmunks…and none were much larger than this….so I assume that the type of chipmunk I am used to seeing just grows larger than these. They were cute and playful but shy, so they eventually took off and hid, so I continued my hike. The hike was beautiful. The filtered sunlight, the ferns, the many shades of green, and the occasional stream and waterfall were simply precursors to the beauty of Sol duc Falls.

    From Sol duc Falls, I drove to Mora Campground. I arrived after 5:00p and there were many spots available. The campground did not fill up for the night. I claimed a spot, set up my tent, explored the campground a little and decided to find my way to Rialto Beach since that was where I planned to hike the next morning during low tide. Rialto Beach was easy to find. I walked out in the driftwood a bit, but I was really hungry and needed to check in at home and there was no cell phone service beyond Forks. I headed back to Forks. I knew that there were not good food options here, so I picked the first place I found that had a lot of cars out front – BBG Blakeslee’s Bar & Grill on the south side of town. I had a fish sandwich and French fries and had no complaints about the food or the service. They had free WiFi, so I was able to upload pictures to Facebook while eating.

    I decided to head back to Rialto Beach and watch the sunset. It was a beautiful sunset with many photographers littering the beach. I got some decent pictures myself and then headed to camp for the night.

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    Saturday 5/31
    Got up around 7:00a, broke camp and headed back to Rialto Beach. Hiked out to Hole-in-the-Wall and explored the tide pools. The hike was a little more tedious than I expected as there is a good portion of the beach that is entirely made up of tiny gravel that sinks with every step you take. It was harder than walking through sand. I learned on the way back that if you jogged in it rather than walking on it, you didn’t sink quite as much. It was about a 3.8 mile round trip hike that started out in a slight fog and very gray morning, a stark contrast to the colorful sunset the previous night. I photographed starfish, sea anemone, mussels, barnacles, shrimp, a hermit crab, a small crab, and other creatures I don’t know the names of. I worried on my way back that I wouldn’t recognize where to turn off to get back to the parking lot since everything is hidden on the other side of huge driftwood, but as I approached I remembered that there was a large target sign posted up in a tree and someone had planted two large sticks in the gravel near the turnoff. I found it and safely made it back to my car.

    From Rialto Beach, I headed for the Hoh Rainforest. This was the hike that I had been most looking forward to based on so many highly-rated descriptions on the trail. I was actually slightly disappointed. Perhaps it was because I only hiked to Tom’s Creek and back, or perhaps it was because I hiked during the afternoon, or perhaps it was because it was the most crowded of the trails that I hiked, or maybe simply because I had such high expectations. But I think that by the time I got to this trail, after hiking Marymere Falls and Sol duc Falls, I was expecting something even more magical, but didn’t really find the magic until I got close to Tom’s Creek. I loved the waterfall and the creek and it made the 6.5 mile hike worth it, but I don’t know if I would do it again over other options in the area. Perhaps I will come back some day and hike further in, but hiking to Enchanted Valley and possibly hiking further in the Sol duc River area are currently higher on my To Do list than hiking the rest of the Hoh Rainforest Trail. Based on this experience, I am thankful that I decided to do this trip that I planned for myself rather than jumping on another option I had which was to join an outdoors group from Dallas that flew to Seattle a couple of weeks ahead of me for the sole purpose of spending several days hiking the Hoh Rainforest Trail before heading home.

    The drive into the Hoh Rainforest is long, just like the Sol duc River. After driving back out, I headed for Lake Quinault. When I was in the planning stages of my trip, I was unable to figure out what time I should be expecting to leave the Hoh Rainforest, so I didn’t know how far I could drive that evening. I planned on camping at either Hoh Oxbow Campground, Klaloch Campground, or heading all the way to Lake Quinault and finding a campground there. I knew that there were several campgrounds near Lake Quinault, but I was not able to find much information about them online…and it seemed possible that most of them would be closed as they simply stated something like “open during summer only”. With the word “summer” undefined, I expected that they would all be closed except for Grave’s Creek Campground, which is all the way at the end of the road near the trailhead for the Enchanted Valley Trail.

    I made it all the way to Quinault and still had plenty sunlight left. I drove through the tiny town and was a little disappointed. The view from the road is not that impressive and I was beginning to doubt my plans to stay here for the next two nights, but it was too late to head anywhere else and I was looking forward to the hike I had planned here the next morning. I drove through several campgrounds and settled on a spot at Willaby Campground just a bit down the road from Lake Quinault Lodge. After setting up my tent and paying for my spot, I headed back into town. It was close to 8p and I was hungry, but I felt underdressed and messy after my hiking adventures, so I planned to order from a bar and eat outside the dining room like I had at Lake Crescent Lodge, but that wasn’t an option. The hostess assured me that this was not fine dining and that I was fine as I was and showed me to a table. I ordered some sort of pasta with lots of mushrooms and perhaps a wine sauce followed by some sort of sorbet. Again, I checked in at home and uploaded pictures to Facebook.

    After dinner, I went to sit on the back patio overlooking the lake. It was about 9:15 and I kept hearing some animal squeaking near the building. I realized that it was coming from behind the large rain gauge attached to the lodge and then saw that bats were coming out for the night. I sat and watched the bats head out into the night and exhaustion began to set in. I headed back to camp and again read only a few pages of my book before falling asleep.

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    Sunday 6/1
    I had hoped to see more wildlife than I had at this point in the trip – especially a bear or elk. All I’d seen were birds, chipmunks, some black beetles that I think I identified as mountain pine beetles, and several cyanide millipedes. Today, I was hiking the Enchanted Valley Trail to Pony Bridge and back and I knew this would be my best chance to see bears or elk. I drove all the way to the end of the road, over several miles of very poor dirt road with huge potholes, to get to the trailhead. I was the only car headed down that way, so I was surprised when I reached the end of the road and found about 30 cars parked at the trailhead.

    I set off on the trail and I’m sure I was the first one on the trail that morning considering the number of spider webs I walked through. About 1.5 miles in, I began to hear a grunting noise. Having never heard a bear or elk before, I didn’t know which it was. As I walked and approached the source, the grunting grew louder, but eventually the volume was waning. I had passed by whatever it was and never saw it. The walk to Pony Bridge was gorgeous with lots of little streams crossing the trail.

    I expected to reach Pony Bridge at about 2.5 miles, but I was almost 3 miles in, according to my GPS, when I finally reached it. I had not found pictures online of what I would see when I got to Pony Bridge and really didn’t expect more than a bridge in the wilderness. When I reached the bridge, I was in awe. The picture that I took from this bridge is my favorite picture of the trip. The sunlight filters through the trees just right, the water is a beautiful aqua, the small waterfall to the left with the rock beach is idyllic, and the shades of blues and greens are relaxing. Had a unicorn walked up to the stream for a drink of water, I would not have been surprised. This is not Enchanted Valley, but the sight truly is an enchantment.

    I sat down on the bridge and ate lunch while internalizing the view. Just as I sat down, a couple came around the corner to cross the bridge. This was the first person I saw on the trail all morning. They seemed to be in a hurry, but they did ask if I heard the bear while I was on the trail. So we had a quick conversation about whether they were sure it was a bear – and they were. They took a few photos and continued on, leaving me to enjoy this fantasy-like world myself. I leisurely ate my lunch, imagined a world where I could just live down on that little gravel beach, took some more pictures, and explored the area a little, sliding off of a log and giving myself a nice bruise on my calf that is still healing almost 3 weeks later. I reminded myself that I need to be extra careful since I’m out hiking alone and began the hike out.

    On my way back, I again heard the grunting which had now been identified as a bear, so I was again hopeful that I would get a chance to see one in the wild – from a safe distance of course. I tried to record the noise on my phone, but upon playback later, the noise was too distant or too soft to be picked up over the birds. I lingered a little on the trail in the area where I could hear the bear, but he didn’t seem to be traveling and I wasn’t about to go traipsing off trail looking for him, so I continued on – a little disappointed that I would most likely not see a bear or elk since this was my last hike in the wilderness for this trip. The rest of the hike out was fairly uneventful and I only passed 2 more parties. The solitude on that trail was something I enjoyed nearly as much as the views and potential bear sighting, especially after having hiked on Hoh Rainforest Trail.

    I spent the rest of the day relaxing. I considered doing some more hiking, but I wanted to explore Quinault a little more, do a little reading, find a shower and get some food. I headed back to the Lodge and at lunch in the dining room – a Monte Cristo and fries. While eating lunch, the power went out in the Lodge – and it turned out it was actually out in the entire town. Most of the Lodge was hooked up to a backup generator, so they were able to continue most of their business, but there were areas without power and it was not until very late that night that the power was restored. I walked around a bit and went to the gift shop/registration desk to pay $3 for a shower. The power was not on in the showers, so they asked me to come back later. I purchased a few sweets to snack on and went out on the lawn and read a few chapters of my book. I walked around the Lodge a bit and went back in to check on the power. It was still out, but they agreed to let me take my camp lantern into the shower room and shower, so I paid for my shower, headed back to Willaby Campground to get my camp lantern and then took a much needed shower. The last time I had showered was at Lake Crescent Lodge because showers are not available at most campgrounds in ONP.

    I had the showers all to myself and spent quite some time cleaning up and feeling normal again. I was grateful for the showers, got dressed and decided to find someplace else for dinner. I had seen signs for The Salmon House Restaurant down the road advertising that they were open until 9. It was about 8, so I decided to head down there and check out the menu. I got a window table where I was able to watch the hummingbirds, the robins playing and searching for a meal on the lawn, and another sunset. I ordered the dill salmon, which was delicious. Neither the service nor the ambiance were as great as the dining room at the Lodge, but the salmon and the unobstructed sunset view made up for it.

    After dinner, I went back to the lodge to watch the bats head off into the night again. After dark, I went inside and found a very comfortable chair in front of the fireplace and read a few more chapters of my book. As I began to nod off, I considered sleeping in that very cozy chair, wondering whether anyone would wake me up and send me off to my camp. I decided go back to my mosquito-infested camp, but then slept in the car rather than the tent.

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    Monday 6/2
    I picked up my tent and threw all my belongings in the car without folding anything down and started the long drive for Seattle. I could not get my GPS to connect and for some reason, I failed to print out driving directions for this portion of the trip, so I decided to just wing it. I remembered that I would be going through Aberdeen, but I wasn’t sure beyond that. Luckily, while I was driving through Aberdeen, I accidentally ended up taking the correct left turn that would put me on track for Seattle. In Olympia, I stopped to grab some breakfast and found a parking lot with lots of empty space to roll up my tent, sleeping bag, etc. and reorganize all my belongings in my suitcases so that I could take fewer trips from the car to my vacation rental in Seattle. Back on the road, I finally got GPS to connect and direct me all the way to my rental apartment near 4th and Virginia in Seattle. After all that time out in the wilderness and partial solitude, I went through slight culture shock for the first few hours in the city. I longed to be back in the wilderness and felt regret about going to Seattle. Even now after I’ve returned home, I would choose the wilderness in the Pacific Northwest any day over Seattle or any other city. But Seattle is one of those places I’d always wanted to go, so I was bound to make the best of it.

    After dropping my belongings off at the rental apartment (which I located on airbnb.com for $65/nt), I decided that maybe a stop at REI’s flagship store would be a way for me to cross back over into city culture. I stopped and explored, but it wasn’t quite as impressive as I expected. For some reason, I had Bass Pro Shop-type size and impressiveness in mind. But I enjoyed looking at all the gear anyway. I was close to finishing the book I was working on, so I picked up another book: “Almost Somewhere” and checked out.

    I drove back to the airport in order to drop off my rental car, which I wouldn’t really need in the city, and then took the LINK lightrail to the University Street stop. I didn’t really have concrete plans for my stay in the city, but did have an idea of the touristy things that I wanted to check off my list while in town. So, I exited the rail station and just headed toward the waterfront and figured I’d find my way to Pike Place Market, which I did. Somehow, I ended up taking the very steep Post Alley and accidentally finding the most disgusting tourist attraction – the gum wall. I then explored Pike Place a little, struck up a few conversations with different merchants and had some lunch at one of the places with a view of the waterfront. I had broken my sunglasses previously in the trip, so I made a quick side trip over to Target for a new pair and then stopped for a while at Left Bank Books.

    Tired of consumerism, I decided to walk along the waterfront and found myself at some park where I felt a bit unsafe except for the crowd. There were a lot of people that seemed like I could have purchased drugs from and one person working on busting a chain securing a bike and someone else cheering them on. I left and headed toward Olympic Sculpture Park.

    As I walked away from that park and the Pike Place Market, I began to see a Seattle that I kind of liked. Lots of people out jogging, walking and riding bikes…and a more relaxed, safer-feeling atmosphere. Once at Olympic Sculpture Park, I found a chair and took out my book to read while people-watching and waiting for the sunset.

    After sunset, I walked up the hill to Seattle Center. I had previously purchased a Seattle CityPass online and did not have my receipt with me, and it was too late to purchase a ticket to Chihuly, so I just walked around a little, took some pictures, and took to monorail to Westlake Center, which was a short 3 block walk from the apartment. I walked approximately 3 miles total today.

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    Tuesday 6/3
    A friend picked me up around 10a and took me on a day tour of Eastern Washington. We first stopped at Stevens Pass Ski Resort where I got a picture with some snow. Then we stopped in Leavenworth and walked around a bit and had some lunch. Then we drove out to Winery B on the Columbia River near The Gorge Ampitheater, where we walked around and I got some pictures of the river. She dropped me back off in Seattle and I went back to Seattle Center.

    I purchased a ticket for Chihuly at about 7:30p and went in to view the indoor gallery before heading outdoors to take pictures during various stages of sunset. The exhibit is amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes glass art.

    After it was too dark to get decent pictures and I’d walked slowly through the gardens at least 4 times, I headed over to the Space Needle. I went up and saw the night view of the city, which was nice. By the time I came down, the monorail had stopped running, so I ended up taking a taxi back to the apartment since I was not familiar enough with the walk to know whether I’d be comfortable walking the entire way after dark.

    Wednesday 6/4
    I already crossed off the must-do’s on my Seattle list and I had the day free until the evening when I planned to meet back up with my friend for dinner. So, I got a late start and decided to walk toward Seattle Center and find some lunch. I stopped at Two Bells Tavern and some sandwich that was the special for the day – and it was delicious.

    I walked the rest of the way to the Space Needle and went back up for the daytime view. Next, I went to the EMP Museum, which was interesting enough for a little time. Afterwards, I didn’t really have any plans, so I decided to go to the Pacific Science Museum. It was much more child-oriented than I expected, but I did spend a little time in the bug exhibit near the butterfly garden.

    I knew that I was going to need to go to Alki to meet my friend for dinner, so I decided to take a leisurely stroll down to the waterfront, back through Olympic Sculpture Park, stop in little shops on the piers, and walk all the way down to the water taxis. I ended up walking over 4 miles in Seattle this day.

    I took the water taxi to West Seattle and waited for my friend at the dock. We went to Duke’s Chowder House and had a great dinner. I ordered some kind of seafood gnocchi and it was great and we had an amazing time. The staff was also very nice and attentive.

    My friend dropped me back off at my rental apartment for my last night in Seattle and I had an uneventful trip home the following day.

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    WOW! Great report which speaks volumes in so many ways. I guess you can either have the beauty of nature and those chipmunks or the sight of somebody being cheered as they steal someone else's property. I know which one I'd prefer.

    Thanks very much for writing this and so glad you ended up enjoying your adventure. You express yourself well and it was a pleasure to read this.

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    The "grunting" sound you heard in the forest was almost certainly a grouse, not a bear. They make a grunting sound that is hard to pinpoint but can be heard for quite a distance.

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    I don't know. I looked up grouse and found grouse drumming, but it does not sound like the noise I heard. Grunting is probably not the best description. It was kind of a lower frequency moan.

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    Yes, Ruffed Grouse "drum" (a low thumping sound that increase it's tempo to a rapid beating described as drumming), but Blue and Franklin Grouse (common in the Olympics) grunt a low sounding thump that may be just a few single grunts periodically repeated.

    Bottom line, no telling what it was since it was never spotted. Glad you had a good time in the Olympics.

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    Thanks for posting such a well written, detailed and fun to read report, MRK. Having traveled in that area several times, it sounds as though you hit some of the best spots and really had a chance to experience an amazing and very varied park.

    So sorry I didn't see your request for info/help and that you got a hard time from some people. It sounds as though you certainly did thorough planning, which allowed you to experience a lot on this trip.

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    Kamae...I flew with it all. All my camping gear and liquids fit in my check in bag, my clothes in my carry on, and my personal stuff in a backpack. Since I am planning on doing backpacking trips, I've made an effort to buy the lightest and most compact camping equipment that fits in my budget... and to bring only necessities. Most of my equipment has come from eBay and Amazon.

    I had considered mailing it to myself general delivery to a local post office and then mailing it home at the end of the trip, but since it all for, I didn't have to do that... and that's a good thing since I missed my flight and pay office would have been closed when I arrived.

    I looked into renting equipment, but could make sense of it financially and accommodate our in my itinerary. In order to rent less did than I brought with me, it was going to cost over $100. I expected round trip shipping to be no more than $70. And if I rented, everywhere I looked at required that I pick up and drop off in the same location. It would have added several extra driving hours to one end of my trip.

    My camping supplies are pretty basic: tent, sleeping pad, thermarest sleeping pad, tarp, small camp lantern, flashlight, headlamp, compact stove, compact cooking set, first aid kit, large knife, pocket knife, hydration pack, camp pillow, a kit with some emergency items and small accessories (trowel, iodine tablets, etc), water bottle for in camp, a couple of packtowls. That's basically it.

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    What a lovely report and it brought back many fond memories of when my in-laws lived in Sequim and I worked in Port Townsend for about six weeks. I caught the morning bus (about 7:30 am) to PT. Many days I could see the Route 101 elk herd from the bus:

    I never saw the grouse in the OP, that would have been nice. We did, however, see plenty of them on the aptly named Grouse Mountain near Vancouver, BC.

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    Thanks for the detailed reply about the camping equipment, and for all the details in your report, mrk. I am so glad you took the high road and decided to publish it here.

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