Few places in the world are as beautiful as Olympic National Park. Year round, the upper left corner of the contiguous United States inspires wanderlust and leaves visitors in awe with true wilderness beauty and the spring months are no exception. As the temperatures warm up and the delight hours grow longer, the snowpack in the rugged mountains begins to melt, helping transform the regions waterfalls, rivers and creeks into beautiful torrents of water. Roads reopen after months of being closed and the animals start to wander around with their new offspring. Whales migrate offshore, hikers return to once snow-covered trails and all seems right with the world. Spring in Olympic is an experience your soul deserves and a perfect way to kick start your year of adventures in the great outdoors.
In March, April and the early parts of the month of May, the Washington Coast becomes a highway for 20,000+ Gray Whales migrating back to the cool waters of Alaska, with babies in tow. Swimming just 1/2 mile or less from the crashing waves on the rugged beaches of the Pacific Coast, the gray whales partake in not just an amazing migration, but also a chance for the millions who live with a few hours drive of the ocean to see these massive sea dwelling mammals.
Via Yellowstone National Park: Early Wednesday morning, March 15, a park employee observed a grizzly bear between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt. This is the first confirmed bear sighting this year, although bear tracks have been observed since February 22. Later in the morning, park staff saw two more grizzly bears scavenging carcasses in the northern part of the park.
Story via North Cascades National Park:
An avalanche occurred in the early morning hours on Friday March 10, 2017 in the gorge east of Newhalem, WA. The avalanche completely obstructed State Route 20 at approximately milepost 122.5, immediately east of the first tunnel. No one was injured in the avalanche. Area avalanche conditions were rated by the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) as High at the time. Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced on Friday they would not clear the debris based on avalanche danger in the Gorge, and the situation would be reassessed on Monday, March 13, 2017.
It’s early March again in the Pacific Northwest. This time around, it’s still snowing even on the lower trails. making for an entertaining Mountain Marathon and Hillbilly Half up Rock Candy mountain in the Capitol Forest near Olympia, WA. Why the race directors didn’t name the races “Rock Candy” is beyond me. It would be such a perfect name for a trail race. But no matter the name, this is still one of my favorite races all year and my goal is to bring someone to the race every year. This year it was another one of my awesome sister-in-laws, next year I am grabbing Douglas. Be warned.
Happy 145th Birthday to the first National Park!
On March 1st, Yellowstone National Park turned 145 years old! While the land has been around for millions of years, the region now known as Yellowstone National Park was formally protected by the United States Government in 1872. Signed by President Ulysses S. Grant, the Act of Dedication helped create the world’s first National Park and helped inspire a love and protection of Public Lands around the nation.
Along the eastern slopes of Olympic National Park, high above the fjord-filled wonderland of Hood Canal, a shimmering and shining lake thaws underneath two majestic peaks. Like a miniature Glacier National Park, this remote, oft-overlooked wilderness playground needs to be your late-spring adventure destination. Once the snow starts to melt for good and the creeks become passable after the spring floods, head to Upper Lena Lake in the Hamma Hamma region for insanely gorgeous views, incredible camping and endless exploration.
Yes. Trails and nature areas are getting popular, but there is a reason. Guess what though, it isn’t the social media or hiking websites. More and more individuals and families are heading out into the beautiful wonderland of the Pacific Northwest, hoping to discover the soul nourishing power of nature. They flock to Paradise, Hurricane Ridge, the Hoh and Rialto Beach, hoping to experience the power of wilderness. They want to experience what many of us have been lucky enough to enjoy our whole lives, yet many in the hiking community appear to loathe them. They blame new hikers for “ruining areas” and “loving our trails to death.” Frankly, I am tired of this narrative. It sounds just like those who scream out “fake news” any time they read something they disagree with.
On the evening of February 22nd, 2017, residents of the South Puget Sound were jostled by a 4.2 earthquake centered on the Kitsap Peninsula. With a bang being heard before the shock waves arrived, the quake jostled everyone’s nerves a little, while no damage or landslides occurred. For those keeping record, this was the largest earthquake in the Puget Sound since December of 2015. For most who felt it, it was just another small quake out here in the PNW. While everyone has moved on, few realize that the ground has been shaking in the region for the entire month, with nearly 2,000 small earthquakes moving the Puget Sound since February 1st and 1,000 in the last week.
Happy Birthday, Olympic National Forest!
From the stunning mountain tops overlooking dense forests to wild and scenic rivers, breathtaking waterfalls and endless amounts of adventure, Olympic National Forest has been captivating the region’s outdoor dreams for twelve decades. We hope you have another 120 years of helping preserve and protect this stunning landscape for all to enjoy and thank you for all you have done.
F&*K!!! The tree still stands. Which is good news!
Turns out, I am not 100% accurate all of the time, which sucks. I do my best to give due diligence to finding out information before reporting and tend to trust sources in the hiking community. Places like WTA, NWHikers.net and even WH&C on Facebook all tend to have current information on their sites. When stories pop up, I go to my other sources and see what they have heard. When I hear about something from a trusted group of sources, I write about it. Turns out, people are flawed and info gets muddled. We will continue to strive for perfection. Until then, we can only do our best.
Turns out, all of our sources were also incorrect. The tree is still standing, as of May 2017. Formal apology here: http://outdoor-society.com/why-we-report-what-we-hear-the-kalaloch-tree-incident/
Yeah, access to the Elwha is limited. Again.
After being only open for three weeks after being closed for 14 months. Hopefully, this closure is much shorter. In case you haven’t noticed, February has been a wet one. Records are close to being broken for the wettest February on record in Seattle and the story is the same on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Heavy rains over the last few days have flooded our rivers and swollen our streams, resulting in closures to one of Olympic National Park’s most vulnerable regions of access. Olympic Hot Springs Road, also know and The Elwha Road, is closed yet again after being open for only three weeks.
On January 27th, we reported that Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz had introduced a bill titled HR 621, which would open up 3.3 million acres of Federal Land across 10 states can be ‘disposed of’ and sold off to private companies. The outrange was immediate. All around social media, at protests in Montana’s Capitol and flooding the emails and answering machines of Congress, the American people stood up against the attack on Public Lands. Now, it appears like our message was victorious.
If Republicans have their way, drilling could become commonplace in over 40 National Parks around the country. Known as H.J. Res. 46, the bill seeks to undue the rules and regulations set up in 1978 to protect National Parks under a series of rules known as 9B. Currently, there are over forty National Parks that have a “split estate” ownership, where the federal government owns the surface of the region, but not the underground mineral rights. That can all change on Friday, February 3rd, if Congress pushes this through.
Great news for hikers looking to stand atop one of America’s most famous volcanoes! Starting on Wednesday, February 1st 2017 at 9am PST, this year’s climbing permits will be available for purchase to summit the stunning peak of Mt. St. Helens. Permits are $22.00 and are limited to just 500 a day from April 1st to May 14th. From May 15th to October 31st, only 100 permits are issued a day.
Olympic National Park is known for numerous awesome natural wonders. From moss-covered rainforests in old-growth forests to cascading waterfalls plunging into rough, salmon stocked rivers, we have it all out here. When we want a hike along the ocean to look at sea-stacks, the Olympic National Park has us covered. Neah Bay to Ocean Shores and from Olympia to Port Angeles, the Olympic Peninsula is full of awesome sights that inspire millions each year. Sadly, one of the sights that have been consistent for thousands of years is slowly leaving the region, and it might be too late to stop it from vanishing for good.
Update: Jason Chaffetz withdraws HR 612!!!
If Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz gets his way, America can say goodbye to over three million acres of Public Lands. In a bill titled HR 621, Chaffetz hopes that 3.3 million acres across 10 states can be ‘disposed of’ and sold off to private companies. Seriously. This bill, for those following the quick attempted destruction of Public Lands as we know it, has become stronger thanks to a rules package that the Republican House passed, making land seizure plans like HR 621 extremely easy to follow through with.
The Elwha is once again open to vehicle traffic, for the first time since late November 2015, when a series of severe storms brought heavy rain and flooding to the Elwha River. During that storm, approximately 90 feet of roadway washed out, with additional sections severely eroded and damaged by flood waters. While the road opening is great, keep in mind of a few things.