Last week’s storm may have been a dud for many regions around the Pacific Northwest, but it did pack quite a punch to the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park. During the storm that many in the Seattle area mocked online, the wet, windy and rough weather wreaked havoc in the area. Campgrounds were closed, trees fell and trapped a group of children on a field trip, and now many roads are full of debris or worse. According to Olympic National Park officials, cleanup from this storm may take quite a bit of time. After all, we are still working to repair roads from last year’s storms.
As potentially historic weather barrels down on the Pacific Northwest, Olympic National Park officials are taking no chances on the safety of the public. Starting at noon on Thursday, eight campgrounds and three main roads will be closed, with closures expected to last through the weekend. With a series of powerful storms start Thursday afternoon, where high winds and very heavy rain are anticipated, the risk of falling trees and limbs, flooding and road damage are all too real in the Pacific Northwest’s most popular National Park. The storm will be bringing near hurricane force winds, over a foot of rain and even dumping 90 inches of snow on Mount Olympus in just four days. This could be a storm for the record books and the park closures make perfect sense.
With a storm looming in the near future, Olympic National Park announced a road closure for the coming week. The road from the Mora Ranger Station to Rialto Beach will be closed at 7am on October 13th for approximately one week. The road closure has nothing to do with the incoming storm. Instead, it is to fix a damaged section of the road from a storm that hit the region last year. The road will be closed to ALL entry.
Out on the wilderness coast of Olympic National Park, stunning sights and sounds seem to be endless. As the crashing waves create the same soundtrack our ancestors heard millennia ago, exploration of the region leads to a calmness and a connection with nature that is long since lost by modern society. Earlier this week, before the series of storms is expected to slam into the Pacific Northwest, I took a trip to LaPush to enjoy the sun, warmth and solitude of Washington’s gorgeous stretch of wild coast. As the sun dropped in the horizon, it illuminated giant clouds in the distance, reminding me that my perfect day at the beach was a limited activity. A storm was coming and I got the first glimpse of the massive clouds on the horizon.
Dear residents of the Pacific Northwest,
The following weekend is going to be wet, windy an wild. You might lose power, you might see intense flooding, you might have trees come crashing down around your neighborhood. We might see numerous access roads to National Forest lands and National Parks washed out. We might experience the worst storm in 50 years and all hell could possible break loose. We ask you be prepared and know the weather. This is not the weekend to prove you are invincible. Be safe and smart and don’t take any unnecessary risks. While the South Sound and southern stretches of the Olympic Peninsula may be spared from the worst, we will still see some pretty rough weather.
As America’s National Park Service celebrated their 100th birthday, National Parks around the country saw a huge increase in visitors. Highlighted by the centennial celebrations and free entry to every 4th grader in the US, hundreds of millions flocked to experience the very best of America’s public lands. In the Northwest corner of Washington State, Olympic National Park was part of the visitation boom, seeing large amounts of visitors in every corner of the park. From the visitors centers to the backcountry trails, Olympic National Park’s summer was full of people from all over the world trying to experience true wilderness in the wildest lands of the Pacific Northwest.
The Quinault Rainforest’s Graves Creek Road is reopening just in time for wilderness enthusiasts to appreciate first-hand the rain and transformation of Olympic National Park’s saturated rainforests. You read that right- the Graves Creek Road in Olympic National Park is scheduled to reopen to vehicle traffic and campers on October 15th, 2016!
As winter is quickly approaching, Olympic National Park is closing down some popular camping regions to the public for the season. This is a normal announcement, but it is one that needs to be shared by all to make sure no-one drives far out of the way to discover their camping dreams are crushed. I couldn’t image traveling for hours and hours, getting more excited with every passing mile for a unique car camping experience in Olympic, only to find out that the destination of my daydreams wasn’t open. While a handful of campgrounds will be closing, many others will remain open year round, perfect for your off-season adventures into one of America’s favorite wilderness destinations. If you haven’t seen Olympic National Park in the winter, you are missing out on amazing views and experiences!
At the base of an 82 foot waterfall, hundreds of salmon congregate together, all with the same goal. Their lives have been spent swimming from freshwater to salt water and back, cruising around in the Pacific, trying their best to avoiding predators and fishermen. They dodged seals and orcas, nets and rising acidity in the water, only to be stumped by the massive size and scale of Tumwater Falls. They gather at the base, smelling their ancestral home in the freshwater pouring down the rocks, eager to figure out a way to get home and complete their life’s mission.
Weaving around a gravel Forest Service Road, I began to wonder if I would ever reach my destination. I was high above sea level, working my way up one of the thousands of peaks that make up the Rocky Mountains of Montana, excited to see the swanky digs that I would be enjoying for the night. Normally, I make the drive from Yellowstone to the Puget Sound region in a day, but on this trip, I needed something special to end my incredible vacation. I needed a memorable way to officially end summer, something that I could look back on fondly and fully enjoy the start of the cooler weather. Thanks to recreation.gov, I found a fire lookout in the Lolo National Forest that I could stay at, in the middle of grizzly country, for just $30 a night.
For the next two weeks, the Graves Creek Campground and access to Quinault Rainforest destinations like Pony Bridge and the Enchanted Valley will be off limits to all Olympic National Park visitors. Starting on Monday, September 19th, road crews will begin repairs along several sections of the Graves Creek Road. Since last winter, the road has been closed to vehicles due to large washouts caused by heavy rains and an always shifting riverbed. Access to Graves Creek was cut short, forcing backpackers and hikers to walk along the road for two extra miles before reaching the official start of the trail system in the region. The road is now closed to all access, including hikers, bicyclists and stock, and will closed for at least two weeks.
I was nine miles in on a 17.8 mile race, struggling to breath. Climbing up the flank of Lone Peak, 11,000 feet above my home at sea level, I began to question my sanity. Here I was, 500 miles from the comforts of my own bed and my own mountains, racing against time and my negative thoughts to complete a goal I had started eight months earlier. Every step was impossibly steep and the struggle to try to walk on laptop sized chucks of loose scree slowed my pace down to a snails crawl. Positive thoughts had left long ago and I was ready to quit.
We’ve been in contact with Patti Case from the Green Diamond Resource Company, the company owning the land around the historical, magnificent and dangerous Vance Creek Bridge outside Shelton in Mason County. Yesterday we reported on the possible end of the bridge as Instagram knows it.