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Adventure Dispatch – from a mountain top, sort of.
Transcript for this week:
Hello and welcome to the Adventure Dispatch for the week of May 13th to the May 19th in Olympic National Park. This week’s information is once again Powered by The Outdoor Society. Get inspired and explore the wild with us.
Before we get started, I’d like to apologize for being a day late in posting this. Yesterday, we took a trip up to Mount Townsend and got back late. It was an absolutely beautiful day up at 6,000 feet, which I will share more on later. But now, the weather.
As always, we start in Port Angeles and the northern Olympic Peninsula. The forecast for this coming week is a bit more on average, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s. We might have a day in the 60s, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on it being as warm as it was the past few weeks. This coming week also sees more rain in the forecast, with a possibility of nearly half an inch of rain falling on Saturday, then partly cloudy skies until Thursday, when light rain returns for the end of the week. It won’t be stunning outside, but the rain should help make the upcoming few weeks of wildflowers even more amazing.
Along the beaches and deep in the rainforests of Olympic, the weather is actually going to be slightly better than on the northern Peninsula. Highs all week will be near 60 degrees, while the low temperatures will stay in the 40s. Rain is likely on Saturday, Wednesday and Thursday, with clouds and a bit of sun the rest of the week. Right now, the rain doesn’t look too heavy at all, giving you a chance to wander through the Queets, Quinault of Hoh in stunning clouds and light rain.
This coming week’s weather out on the eastern slopes of the Olympic’s Hood Canal region is probably your best bet for more warmth, though it looks like it might rain on Saturday, Sunday and Thursday. Nothing too heavy should fall, if it does rain, and with temperatures in the upper 60s and 70s, it won’t be unwelcome in the least. The lows will be in the mid 40s, so not too cool, but cold enough to bring a jacket for the mornings and evening hours. Your best to get out and explore look to be Tuesday and Wednesday, with a forecast of 0% cane of rain and highs near 70.
Up in the Olympic Mountains, the snow will continue to melt for the majority of week, as the lowest the snow level will be around 8,000 feet until Wednesday. Wednesday night sees everything change a bit, with the a chance of snow at 5,500ft then dropping to 4,500ft on Thursday. With minimal precipitation forecasted, we might see a dusting at places like Hurricane Ridge, Mount Townsend and the other popular, high elevation regions. As of Friday, May 13th, the snowpack in the Olympic Mountains is down to 70% of normal.
This week, the following roads are closed in Olympic National Park, restricting access to the following areas: Along Hood Canal, the Dosewallips Road is still closed, which should shock no one. It hasn’t been open in so long, I wonder why we or the NPS even mention it.
Around Port Angeles, the Deer Park Road is still closed for the winter, but might be opening in less than a month. The Obstruction Point Road near Hurricane Ridge is also still closed, but there is no timeframe for it to open. I am hoping June. The good news is that the Hurricane Hill road is open! If you haven’t made it out to Hurricane Hill yet, now is your chance to cut off some milage and see a great panoramic view.
The Hurricane Ridge Road is still scheduled to be open daily, depending on weather and staffing. This is incredibly inconvenient, but the road should be open 24/7 in just a few weeks. I placed a call to the park and asked when this would happen, but was not given a time frame. We will keep you posted.
Out on the Elwha, both the Olympic Hot Springs Road and Whiskey Bend Road are closed due to a washout on the main road. Plans to put a temporary bridge are still in the works, and may be completed in time for the summer crowds. You can still hike out here though, so explore the Elwha!
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.
This interested in camping this week in Olympic National Park can rejoice, as nearly all campgrounds are open. The campgrounds that are still closed are Deer Park, Altair, Elwha and South Beach. Only Deer Park and South Beach are expected to open this year. Otherwise, you can camp at Fairholme, Heart O the Hills, Hoh, Kalaloch, More, North Fork, Ozette, Queets, Sol Duc and Staircase. Dosewallips and Graves Creek are both 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 Mount Townsend Trail in Olympic National Forest. Yeah, I know it isn’t in the park, but it is amazingly stunning right now and you’ll need to check it out. Mount Townsend is a 6,000ft mountain on the northeast corner of the Olympics, giving stunning views of the entire Puget Sound, the city of Seattle, Vancouver Island, the Dungeness Spit, the San Juan Islands, the Salish sea and five volcanoes in the Cascade Range. That list didn’t even include the jaw-dropping panoramas of the Olympics the the west. The trail is 99% snow free and is currently seeing the start of a dazzling display of wildflowers erupt along the trail and on the ridge. The rhododendrons should be at full bloom over the next two or three weeks, making this a must-experience hike soon. Plus, like I said, it is a 6,000ft peak that is snow-free. The trail is steep, but at just four miles to the summit from the parking area, it is doable for kids of nearly all ages, as well as adults looking for a fun, challenging and rewarding hike. More information on this region and trail can be found on our website.
This week, there are a few events going on around the Peninsula. On Saturday at the Staircase region of Olympic will be hosting a Centennial Celebration. Taking place on a Saturday, visitors are encouraged to show up early and enjoy the events that will take place between the hours of 10:30am and 3:30pm. This is FREE event and is family-friendly, hopefully inspiring you to #FindYourPark and fall in love with the Staircase region of Olympic. Dress for the any weather, wear sturdy walking shoes, bring a lunch and be ready to fall in love with one of The Outdoor Society’s favorite destinations. More information on this event can also be found on our website.
Up in Sequim, this is the Grand Finale Weekend of the Irrigation Festival. This is the 121st year of the festival, which celebrate the Sequim Region and is the oldest continuing festival in Washington State. This weekend’s events will feature numerous activities, including a logging show, a fun run, a car show, a carnival and the 121st Irrigation Festival Grand Parade on Saturday from noon to 2pm. Information about the other events can be found on irrigationfestival.com
That concludes this week’s Adventure Dispatch. If you have any questions, please reach out to us on Twitter and check our website for more. This is Douglas saying, “Thanks for tuning in and catch you next week, same time, same place.”