Adventure Dispatch August 5 – 12 2016

August is here! Let’s enjoy the sun in Olympic National Park.

And for your eyes only:

Welcome to the Adventure Dispatch for the week of August 5th to August 12th, 2016 in Olympic National Park. This week’s information is presented by the rugged and awesome staff at The Outdoor Society. Get inspired and explore the wild with us.

August is here, the weather has improved and life seems to once again be amazing in Olympic National Park. While there are four small fires burning in the backcountry of Olympic, three of which are visible from Hurricane Ridge, visitors to this incredible park will still have full access to the region. Well, aside from the Elwha area, which we will talk about later. Right now, we will get to the week’s weather forecast.

  • Starting out in Port Angeles and the north side of the Olympic Peninsula, the coming week, will see rain, then clouds then sun. Friday will be sunny and warm, but clouds start rolling in on Saturday with rain starting to fall on Sunday. Over a half of inch of rain is expected to fall by the end of the weekend, with another tenth of an inch falling on Monday and Tuesday. After that front moves through, the sun should be returning for a few days with highs jumping back up into the 70s.
  • Out along the coast and in the rainforests of Olympic, the weather will also be similar to Port Angeles. Light rain will fall on Sunday and Monday, then the sun returns, iced in with clouds. Highs should be in the low 70s. While not the most perfect August weather, the cool temps and rain will help transform the coast and rainforest into a majestic wonderland. The rainfall is going to be minimal, so grab a light rain jacket and enjoy the ideal PNW weather!
  • As with nearly every forecast, the warmest temperatures are going to be found along Hood Canal. With extremely light rain forecasted for Sunday and Monday and temperatures bouncing back to 80 degrees by Thursday, the eastern side of Olympic National Park is going to be incredible. Take some time to explore the numerous trails around Staircase, or wait for the weather to be clear and stand atop on of the stunning summits of the region.

For those driving in and around Olympic will have to deal with a few road closures. Right now, 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. However, Only the Sol Duc and Kalaloch campgrounds take reservations, while every other campground is first come, first serve. 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 Mount Ellinor. Mount Ellinor is not just our home mountain, but also home of a growing population of mountain goats, the best views in WA State, and the location of this week’s Beast of Big Creek mountain race. A rugged half marathon – and then some – from the newly opened Big Creek campground to the peak of Mt. Ellinor and back down. Yes, you’ll get some elevation in. I’ll be running it again this year and can’t wait for to feel the burn in my quads.
If you haven’t hiked Mt. Ellinor, you really should. 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:

  • On August 7th, the Ridge the Hurricane Bike event will take place on the Hurricane Ridge Road. To provide a safe experience for the event, the road will be closed to all motor vehicle traffic between the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station and Hurricane Ridge, starting at 6:00 a.m. and ending at noon. This applies to both uphill and downhill travel. The road will open to traffic at noon, when the event is finished. Olympic National Park will waive entrance fees at the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station for the rest of the day on August 7.  Access to the Lake Angeles-Heather Park trailhead and Heart O’ the Hills Campground will remain open throughout the day.
  • 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 competitition’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 Mathias 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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