Adventure Dispatch September 17 – 23 2016

Trusty Dispatch, incoming… “Where is the sun edition”. Listen in after the jump:

Hello and welcome to the Adventure Dispatch for the week of September 17th to September 23rd, 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‘ will be available in late September, with pre-orders going on now. 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.

Weather

  • In this week’s installment of “where is the summer sun,” we are witnessing yet another ending of sunny warm days and welcoming a wet and wild weekend of weather. I really don’t think we should complain though. Sure, summer has been hit and miss since June, but when it was warm and clear, it was breathtakingly gorgeous, offering endless adventures in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. That being said, the rain is returning and a crispness has filled the air. I guess it is time though, as Starbucks brought back their pumpkin spice drinks.
  • This week, the weather at Port Angeles is going to start out wet, then clear up until next weekend, when it looks like more rain might fall. Saturday will be the wettest day, seeing a quarter of an inch falling, before clearing up on Sunday. Clouds will arrive Monday, but the sun will be nice and warm the whole week, with highs in the 60s. A few showers may occur, but nothing major enough to warrant reporting about.
  • Out along the coast and the rainforest regions of Olympic, the weather is not going to be as good. Saturday will see half an inch of rain falling, then showers through Wednesday, before clearing up until rain returns on Friday. If you truly want to experience the rainforest, this is the best time to see it. The highs will be in the 60s, making it comfortable enough for light rain gear during the rain showers.
  • Finally, out along the Hood Canal region of Olympic National Park, the weather will mirror the weather in Port Angeles. It will rain on Saturday, then start clearing up on Sunday before returning to clear or partly cloudy skies until rain returns over the weekend. Those hoping to get out this weekend should bank on a stellar Sunday, full of great views and extra water running down the creeks and rivers along the Hood Canal.

Snow

  • The snow level for the coming week is kinda exciting, though the lack of heavy precipitation means the Olympic Mountains might only get a sporadic dusting. I’d love to get everyone’s hopes up and say it will snow in the mountains, but there won’t be enough moisture to make it count at all. Right now, the snow level is at 9500 feet, taller than any of the Olympic Peaks. However, by Tuesday, the snow level will drop to 5,500 feet, giving a potential for light snow on the majority of the Olympic Mountains. By the end of the week, when true precipitation returns and the snow level looks to be around 7,000 feet. We will see though!

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 two to three weeks. 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.

Camping

  • If you plan on camping in Olympic this week, most of the campgrounds in Olympic National Park are 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 and the Graves Creek Campground along the Quinault.

Trail of the Week

For those visiting Olympic this week, the Outdoor Society’s “Trail of the Week” is a journey up the Elwha River. Sure, the road is still closed, but right now salmon are returning to the river, giving incredible views of a salmon run that was once impossible due to two dams along the river. Now, hiking along the road and then along the trails, you’ll see life returning to normal in the region. As elk huddle in the valley and the first fall colors start becoming visible, there are few places in the park more gorgeous than the Elwha in the fall. 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.

Events

This week’s events around Olympic National Park are minimal, as the park is winding down after a busy summer season. Closures will start happening any day and life becomes much more calm and normal.

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 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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