Adventure Dispatch October 1 – 7 2016

Pumpkin spice salmon playing football in the rain.

Transcript before I started ad-libbing:

Hello and welcome to the Adventure Dispatch for the week of October 1st to October 7th, 2016 for Olympic National Park. This week’s information is presented by our 2017 Olympic Peninsula Calendar, available for purchase at outdoor-society.com. The new poster calendar ‘OLYMPIC PENINSULA IMPRESSIONS: 2017‘ is available now and looks incredible! Featuring twelve stunning photographs from some of our favorite destinations across the Olympic Peninsula, you are sure to be inspired and want explore the wilderness of Olympic.

October is here and you know what that means. Fall is officially popping off in Olympic National Park. Throughout the region, colors are erupting on the maples, while the hillsides of the higher elevations turn oranges and reds. Salmon are returning to our rivers, elk are starting their rut and mushrooms are popping up all along the rainforest floor. Snow will be returning soon and the lazy rivers around the park are soon going to be transformed into raging torrents of water. There is no greater time to see the power of the weather than fall in Olympic National Park.

Weather

  • For the first week of October, the forecast for the Port Angeles region of Olympic National Park will be classic fall weather. All week, highs will be in the 50s, lows in the 40s and rain is likely to fall every day. For the week, Port Angeles is expected to receive one and a quarter inches of rain, with the majority falling midweek. Monday is expected to be the best weather day, with just an 8% chance of rain. However, the interior of the Olympics will be much more wet and more cloudy, so anticipate limited views at Hurricane Ridge and the other high elevation regions. Expect rain and clouds every day in the forests.
  • Out along the coast and the rainforest regions of Olympic, the weather is somehow slightly better than the Port Angeles region. Highs will hover around 60 all week, with lows in the upper 40s. Rain is forecasted all week, with partial clearing on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. However, rain should still be falling on those days so bring a good jacket if you are heading out. Winds out along the coast will be minimal, with sustained winds around 6 to 7 miles an hour. The wettest day of the week out here will be Tuesday.
  • Along the Hood Canal region of Olympic National Park, the weather patterns have definitely shifted to fall. Sunday starts off partly cloudy after a wet Saturday, then continuing rain is forecasted for the entire week. While wet, less than half an inch is expected to fall at Hoodsport. However, the rainfall totals will be much more with every mile you travel west from Hood Canal. Temperatures will be in the 60s during the day and 40s at night, while winds will be minimal. It looks like next weekend might be ok, but we will see.

Snow

  • The snow level for the coming week is exciting. Saturday was forecasted to see the higher elevations above 5,500 feet getting between one to three inches of snow. The snow level remains around 5,500 feet on Sunday, then climbs to 7,500 feet on Monday before hovering around 6,000 feet for the rest of the week. This snow level won’t be impacting anyone visits to Olympic, more than likely, but it is a sign of what is coming for the rest of the year. We will be reporting on snowfall from here on out until it melts off for the summer of 2017, so stay tuned for snow depth reports and more!

Road Conditions

  • For those driving to Olympic, keep in mind that there are now numerous road closures in Olympic. The first is located out along the Elwha River. The project was started on Monday, July 25 to fix the Olympic Hot Springs road, which was severely damaged last winter as record rainfall led to severe washouts that eroded and damaging the road. Precipitation in the Elwha Valley this winter measured 138 percent of normal, making this winter the fourth wettest in the 75-year record at the Elwha Ranger Station. In the four-month period from November through February, the Elwha River experienced a 25-year flood, a 10-year flood, two five-year floods and one two-year flood.
  • The repairs, according the the ONP, are expected take another week or so. During this time, the road to and the trails in Elwha region will be closed to all car traffic. Pedestrian access is limited. The road will open for non-motorized access from noon on Fridays through 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.
  • In the Quinault region, the Olympic National Park road crew will begin repairs to several washouts on the Quinault Valley’s Graves Creek Road on Monday, September 19. The Graves Creek Road sustained severe damage during last winter’s storm and has been partially closed ever since. To provide for public safety during the upcoming repairs, the road will be completely closed to all entry, including foot, bicycle and stock access, during the repair project. The project and closure is anticipated to take two weeks, with the road scheduled to reopen in early October.  While the Graves Creek Road is closed, there will be no access to the Graves Creek Trailhead. Access to Enchanted Valley will be available only from trailheads on the park’s east side.
  • Every other Olympic National Park road is currently open and should remain that way all week.
    Remember 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.

Campgrounds

  • If you plan on camping in Olympic this week, most of the campgrounds in Olympic National Park are open. Sooth Beach Campground is closed for the season and starting on October 11th, the Staircase Campground will also be closing for the season. The other campground closures in Olympic are along the Elwha River and the Graves Creek Campground along the Quinault. Deer Park will be closing soon, as will a few others once the rains and snows start falling. We will keep you updated.

Trail of the week

For those visiting Olympic this week, the Outdoor Society’s “Trail of the Week” are any of the trails on the Sol Duc Region. Right now, the salmon are jumping at the salmon cascades right along the road, making this an amazing and memorable family-friendly destination. It is also the return of the rain, meaning that the Sol Duc Falls area is going to be transformed into a wet and powerful sight for all who walk to the waterfall. Those looking for fall colors will also get a kick out of hiking the long and gorgeous Seven Lakes Basin Loop. This is a beast of a day hike, but gets you up-close and personal with the transforming high alpine regions erupting in autumn beauty. If you want any information about the trails in the region or want another hike, check out our website, as hundreds of destinations can found in our Guidebooks, purchased at outdoor-society.com.

This week’s events around Olympic National Park are minimal, with no real events worth mentioning. Now is the time to discover Olympic in solitude, so go out no matter what the weather. Keep in mind closures to popular regions may start happening any day without much warning.

This concludes this week’s Adventure Dispatch. 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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