Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally his thoughts on life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lake Quinault, Olympic National Park, Washington (Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip)

Lake Quinault is located in the south west quadrant of Olympic National Park. If you're coming from the south on the 101, look for S. Shore Rd.

Ranger Site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/olympic/recreation/recarea/?recid=47695
Park Site: https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-quinault.htm
Address: Olympic National Park, 353 S Shore Rd, Quinault, WA 98575

There are many things you can do on the lake in addition to enjoying the view, like renting a boat. There are also many trails to hike within the vicinity as well.

In terms of where to stay, there are a few first-come first-serve sites along S. Shore Rd like Willaby Campground and Graves. There are also backcountry sites on some of the hikes.

For nicer accommodations, or "glamping," consider the following: http://www.olympicnationalparks.com/lodging/lake-quinault-lodge/

For us, the plan was to hike the Enchanted Valley Trail. The Enchanted Valley Trail is a 26-mile round trip escape into the wild, affording a multitude of breathtaking views.

See: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/enchanted-valley
See: https://tamarascameras.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/return-to-the-enchanted-valley-an-overnight-backpacking-trip/
See: http://exotichikes.com/hike-the-enchanted-valley-in-olympic-national-park-pictures-and-video/

Upon entering the park, we began by registering ourselves in at the Ranger station. It was there that we discovered part of the road leading to the trailhead was washed out. There was now an additional two miles to hike before reaching the trailhead.

By the time we arrived at the "new" Graves Camp trailhead, that is, the temporary parking lot the park had created before the road washout, it was almost 5 pm. Sunset was around 9-10pm.

As we prepared our gear and suffered the wrath of hungry mosquitoes, I quickly discovered that I had failed to prepare Ben adequately for the trip. I completely forgot to account for Ben's hiking and backpacking experience when he decided to join me on my trip because the majority of things I had planned weren't overtly strenuous. I forgot that the Enchanted Valley hike was one of the few exceptions.

Nonetheless, from what I've seen from Ben in terms of hiking thus far, I was fairly confident the hike wasn't going to absolutely destroy him and we always had the option of turning back as well as setting up camp at various sites along the way. Hence, with the proper gear and the desire to make it work, we committed to the hike.

The main hindrance to packing was Ben's sleeping bag. Ben had a full size sleeping bag that took up way too much space for backpacking standards. By the time we stuffed his bag into my spare 40L backpack, the bag was essentially full. Fortunately, the hike was at most a two day hike and we didn't have to bring too much personal items. Splitting what we could between ourselves, we consequently embarked on our journey into the park, waving goodbye to the car.

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