Monday, July 19, 2010

The Backpacking Adventure

It's been a while since we went on a proper backpacking trip. We dredged up the camping stove, borrowed a backpack from my parents, and made a few last minute trips down to REI for some freeze-dried package dinners. 

 We were hiking the Cape Alava/Sand Point loop with an overnight halfway through, at Wedding Rocks Beach. The trail is gorgeous: most of it is a nice boardwalk through the forest and out to the coast.
 It's been 10 years since I've been on this trail and back then, it was my first Cape Alava experience. My friend Rebecca took me out there as an 18th birthday present; it was such an adventure!
 I'm smiling now...because I've only hiked about a mile. The shoulders hadn't started aching yet!
 Ahem. You might have noticed that Chris is carrying both sleeping pads, the tent, and his sleeping bag. Plus most of the other equipment. I carried the food. It's all about priorities.
 Our last area of fresh water...we made the most of it as our supplies had to last us through until the next afternoon.
 At last, the coast! Cape Alava was foggy, yet windy. I was puzzled as to how that was possible. We hunkered down for lunch on the beach.
 The first sign of equipment trouble: the soles of Chris' hiking boots decided to disintegrate. Literally.
 From Cape Alava we headed south along the beach towards Wedding Rocks. Here the terrain was a challenge: slippery rocks, deep sand, and treacherous kelp beds.
This area of the Olympic Peninsula is supposed to be crammed full of backpackers. Permits are required and when we arrived, the parking lot was almost full. But once we left behind Cape Alava, encounters with fellow hikers were few and far between. In fact, we had our entire beach at Wedding Rocks to ourselves. Not another tent in sight. 
 The view from my sleeping bag.

 Dinner was a quiet affair: reconstituted beef stroganoff (eh. it was just ok) with french bread, an apple, and some chocolate. Afterwards we watched the sun set over the water and headed for bed.
 The next morning was overcast but fairly warm.
 Breakfast consisted of oatmeal. And perhaps a few pieces of chocolate. Just to get me moving.
 We packing up camp and continued south to Sand Point. Which was packed with people. So glad we didn't stay down there.

 At Sand Point we said goodbye to the beaches and headed inland.
 Look at my backpack (and how far away it is from my back). At this point I was feeling a wee bit achy and was doing my best to switch the weight around: first from the shoulders, then from the hips. It may look like an unorthodox method for carrying a pack...but it worked. At least for a while.

Back at the car we surveyed the shoe damage. Which was significant. 
 Complete and catastrophic sole deterioration.
 Seven miles on the footbeds left Chris with some pretty tender tootsies.
After we had sufficiently recovered (and changed shoes), we hopped into the car and headed south into the Hoh Rainforest. 
 Along the way we stopped for a picnic lunch by the river...
 And did our level best not to fall into said river...
 We set up the tent at the Hoh River Campground (which got great props for being quiet. If you arrive early you can even grab a campsite right on the river)
 After a hike up along the river, it was back to camp for dinner (reconstituted chicken with mashed potatoes. A winner) and a foray into the single most important campground activity:
 We only had small marshmallows so I devised a multiple pronged approach to roasting the wee beasties.
 Chris opted for a slightly different tactic. They were heavenly both ways. And then, it was off to bed.
 On our last day, we drove through the lovely down of Forks, WA. Observed lots of teenage girls with pictures of Edward Cullen on their t-shirts, movie posters everywhere, and decided not to dally.
 Instead, we headed north, past Crescent Lake, and up to Hurricane Ridge. Which was beyond stunning. And the deer are beyond tame. Which is a bit weird.

 We drove to the end of the road, took a short hike, and plunked ourselves down on a ridge top to enjoy the view and have some lunch.
 Full of lunch. And also in desperate need of a bath.
 The drive down Hurricane Ridge was splendid. Pepe loved zooming downhill; he has the mileage to prove it.

And that, my dears, is the end of our camping weekend on the peninsula