Adventure Dispatch August 13 – 19 2016

Hot, hot, hot.

Hotness in words:

Welcome to the Adventure Dispatch for the week of August 13th to August 19th, 2016 for Olympic National Park. This week’s information is presented by the slightly crazy, always energetic staff at The Outdoor Society. Get inspired and explore the wild with us.

So, looks like the heat has returned. Summer keeps teasing us, but this past little heat wave has been glorious and well deserved. Though, I do have to ask, has anyone else been sweating a bit more than they feel comfortable with? No, ok good me either. I was asking for a friend.
Speaking of weather…

  • This coming week for Port Angeles and the north side of the Olympic Peninsula will have some incredible weather. Saturday and Sunday will be partly cloudy, but then the rest of the week is sunny, warm and clear. Highs in the Port Angeles region will be in the mid-70s with lows only dropping to the mid 50s at night. If you are looking for a week to go camping or backpacking, this will be it. There is just a 5% chance of rain forecasted for the entire week, so head out to the ridges or forests of the northern Olympics for spectacular views.
  • The coast and in the rainforests of Olympic will be similar to the Port Angeles. The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies Saturday through Wednesday,with a 21% chance of rain Monday morning. Once Thursday starts, expect clear skies. The weekend temps will be in the 70s, then dropping into the 60s before jumping back into the 80s by Thursday. If you need to cool off, the rainforests and coastal areas will make for a great early week trip.
  • If you want more heat, head to the Hood Canal. Highs this coming week will been the 80s and flight with the 90s, with lows right around 54 every night. Partly clouds skies will greet the weekend hikers, then clear skies return for the rest of the week. Hood Canal will be great this week, and even I am debating taking a mid-week run up to Lake of the Angels to sit in the stunning, cool waters…anyone want to join me? I might even volunteer to drive!

If you are driving to Olympic, keep in mind that the only road closures in Olympic are located out along the Elwha River. Started on Monday, July 25th, repairs have started on the Olympic Hot Springs road, which was severely damaged last winter as record rainfalls led to severe washouts eroding and damaging the road. The repairs, according the the ONP, will take about eight weeks. During this time, the road and the Elwha region will be closed to all pedestrian access.

  • Every other Olympic National Park road is currently open and should remain that way all week. Keep in mind that the Graves Creek Road in the Quinault Region is washed out 2 miles from the Graves Creek Campground. RVs and large cars are not recommended on the road to the washout because the turnaround spot is pretty small.
  • Keep in mind that the Dosewallips Road out along the Hood Canal is permanently closed and has been for over a decade. The area is still accessible by foot or bike.

If you plan on camping in Olympic this week, good news. All of the campgrounds in Olympic National Park that will open this year are now open. Remember, only the Sol Duc and Kalaloch campgrounds take reservations and the other campgrounds have been filling up fast. Every other campground is first come, first serve, so try and arrive early in the morning for your best chance of getting a spot. The only campground closures in Olympic are along the Elwha River, due to the washouts last winter. Dosewallips and Graves Creek campgrounds are also open, but are only accessible as walk-in campgrounds.

For those visiting Olympic this week, the Outdoor Society’s “Trail of the Week” is the Upper Lena Lake Trail above the Hamma Hamma River. While Lower Lena is popular and gets tons of attention and love, Upper Lena Lake is a spectacular slice of wilderness that looks like a scaled down version of the Many Glacier region of Glacier National Park. Upper Lena Lake sits shimmering and sparkling with Mount Bretherton and Mount Lena reflecting off its calm, placid waters. After a beast of a hike, the lake becomes an oasis of beauty over half a mile above the Hamma Hamma River below. In the lake, take a dip in the cool waters from melting snows while enjoying the views of this peaceful valley. Getting here can be hard work, and the steep route from Lower Lena Lake can be a challenge to those not used to the incline of Olympic Mountain trails. If the hike seems a bit much for a day, take a long weekend and camp along the shores of Upper Lena. To camp at Upper Lena, you will need the proper NPS permit at Upper Lena Lake, while Lower Lena is in the National Forest Service. The trail is 14.6 miles round trip and gains 3,800ft, so slower hikers or those new to exploring the eastern slopes of the Olympics may want to make it a two day trip. More information on these regions can be found on outdoor-society.com and in our Olympic National Park Guidebooks.

This week’s events around Olympic National Park are numerous:

Scheduled for August 21 through 28, Paint the Peninsula will feature 25 specially selected plein air artists who will paint outdoors over the week to capture the Peninsula’s natural beauty.
On August 23, all 25 artists will paint within the boundaries of Olympic National Park. During the competition’s remaining days, artists will have the option to paint within the park or at another outdoor location of their choosing. On August 24, as part of the park’s Centennial celebrations, artists will present demonstrations at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, Storm King Ranger Station and Lake Crescent Lodge at Lake Crescent. Additional demonstrations will be offered throughout the day on August 25 at Storm King Ranger Station and Lake Crescent Lodge. More information about these in-park demonstrations can be found at http://www.paintthepeninsula.org/2016-schedule-of-events.html.

From August 15th to the 17th, Music in the American Wild, a collaboration featuring seven classical musicians performing original works by 11 composers will present three free concerts in Olympic National Park. The concerts are offered in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial. Each original composition was inspired by the beauty and uniquely American experience of national parks.

Three outdoor concerts are scheduled:

  • Monday, August 15, 7:30 p.m.
    Heart O’the Hills Campground Amphitheater
  • Tuesday, August 16, 5:00 p.m.
    Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center Terrace
  • Wednesday, August 17, musical interludes from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Hoh Rain Forest Hall of Mosses Trail

With that, this concludes this week’s Adventure Dispatch. Summer is here and you need to go outside and enjoy the sun and the warmth. You never know if it will return! If you have any questions, please reach out to us on Twitter and check our website for more info. This is Douglas saying, “Thanks for tuning in and we will catch you next week, same time, same place.”

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By Doug and Mathias on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

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