Adventure Dispatch October 8 – 14 2016

Graves Creek road will open again – awesome!
There’s a ton of rain in the forecast – awesome!

And so much more in this week’s Adventure Dispatch.

Hello and welcome to the Adventure Dispatch for the week of October 8th to October 14th, 2016 for Olympic National Park. A couple days ago we received our Olympic Peninsula Impressions calendar from the printer and we love them even more in person. We already shipped the calendars to everyone who pre-ordered. If you want your copy, go, no run to outdoor-society.com and buy one before they sell out.

What a week we have had out here on the Olympic Peninsula! The rain has returned, along with the wind! On the 6th, Hurricane Ridge saw a gust of wind that clocked in at 73 miles per hour, helping the area live up to its name. Areas along the Wynoochee and Quinault received a couple of inches of rain that same day. Is anyone else excited? Our slowly sauntering rivers are transforming into salmon-filled spawning grounds, while mushrooms are popping up in the dense forests throughout the park. As Elk bugle in the rainforest and snow starts dusting the higher peaks of the Olympic, there is little doubt that fall has arrived in full force. In fact, if you thought last week was wet and wild, you are in store for some ideal PNW fall weather.

The Weather

  • The weather this coming week is going to be wet, but there is some hope for a few sun breaks and times to hike in relative dryness. Starting with the Port Angeles Region, this week’s forecast is decent for the first half of the week, then downright nasty by Friday. Saturday and Sunday will see over half an inch of rain, with the majority falling on Saturday. By Monday, the weather is expected to be clear until late Tuesday, with highs in the mid-50s. Monday night could see a low of 39!! By Wednesday, the rain returns and the clouds start pouring on us. Expect two to two and a half inches of rain to fall in Port Angeles from Wednesday until Friday. Next weekend looks super wet, but we will see.
  • Now to the fun part. Out along the coast and the rainforest regions of Olympic, the week is anticipated to see four inches of rain falling on the region. Monday and Tuesday look to be sunny and dry, with highs in the 60s. Saturday will see Forks receiving an inch of rain, with light showers on Sunday. then, Wednesday will get an inch of rain, Thursday will receive over an inch and Friday will be near an inch of rainfall. The wet season is upon us! If you do head out this week, try to stay dry. Wind speeds will be 15 miles per hour or so starting Wednesday night. I expect some branches and maybe trees to fall.
  • Like the Port Angeles region and the rainforest and coast region, the Hood Canal side of Olympic National Park is in for a wet and wild week. The forecast is basically the same. An inch and a half of rain in Hoodsport on Saturday, half an inch on Sunday, clear and sunny on Monday and Tuesday, then back to heavy rain the rest of the week. Expect three inches of rain to easily fall at the Staircase region of Olympic. Wind speeds will be minimal along the southern end of Hood Canal at the end of the week, but it still could be precarious out there, so stay safe!

The Snow

  • Now, with all of this moisture, the question everyone asks is whether or not we will see mountain snow in the Olympics. The quick answer to this question is no. The storm moving in at the end of there week is bring warm air, so the snow level isn’t expected to drop below 7,000 feet until at least next weekend. There might be isolated pockets of snow here and there, but I feel confident saying that 99% of all the Olympic peaks will be snow free. They will, however, be getting slammed with rain, so head out to the waterfalls and rivers toward the end of the week to see the waters raging!

The Roads

  • If you are headed out to the soon to be soaked Olympic National Park, keep in mind that there are numerous road closures in the park. The first is located out along the Elwha River’s Olympic Hot Springs Road. The Elwha Valley’s Olympic Hot Springs Road will close to all use on Monday, October 10 to allow contractors from Lakeside Industries to pave the newly-repaired section of road. This closure includes foot, bicycle and horse access. During the closure, crews will first smooth and prepare the road for paving. Once preparations are complete, the actual paving will be done as soon as weather conditions allow. Because the paving process is weather dependent, a firm timeline for reopening the road is not available at this time. Crews hope to reopen the road by the end of this month.

And now for the big and exciting news for the week:

In the Quinault region, the Olympic National Park road crew is happy to announce that the Graves Creek Road will re-open to motor vehicles to its terminus at the Graves Creek Trailhead on Saturday, October 15. The Graves Creek Campground will be open with vault toilets. Though, potable water is not provided. Head over to our website and read more about this news.

  • “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. By the way, Dosewallips is pronounced Dose-Wallips, like a dose of medicine. Not Doe-see. Doze-Wallips is ok, as is Doe-si-wallips, with the si sounding like signal.”

The Campgrounds

  • If you plan on camping in Olympic this week, go at your own risk. Hahaha, I mean, it’s going to be wet. But most of the campgrounds in Olympic National Park are open. South 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.

For those visiting Olympic this week, The Outdoor Society’s “Trail of the Week” is the Staircase Loop Trail. For months, the North Fork of the SKokomish River has been lazily running down from the Olympic Mountains, showing off numerous gravel banks along the river bed. Now, with the return of the rain, this river will transform into a torrential beast, tumbling and flooding all in its path. This week, the river is expected to run brown, as it cleans off all the dust and dirt from a relatively dry summer. If you want to see why the Staircase Rapids are called rapids, now is the time to visit. It might take until the end of the week to be raging, but even so, seeing the river flowing quickly for the first time, with fall colors and mushrooms all around is the perfect trip. 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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