In the remote stretches of Mason County, out near the wilderness regions of the Olympic Peninsula, a historical structure is quietly being destroyed, one board at a time. What should be a major attraction to the area, the picturesque Vance Creek railroad bridge, spanning a forested creek, is being destroyed in secret. You can blame the trespassers, you can blame out of town vandals, but at the end of the day, we might have to start blaming the land owners. You are sitting on a tourism gold mine and instead of being a people-friendly company, you are appearing out of touch. Keeping this historical wonder to yourselves is an outdated way of thinking. You could turn this into a tourist destination, like British Columbia’s Kinsol Trestle and show that you are a company that cares about the region’s historical landmarks. Instead, we get silence.
I consider myself a bit of a recluse, or self-described modern hermit. For as much as I love writing, communications via social media and sharing the gorgeousness of the Pacific Northwest, I also like to remain incognito. I like to focus on the beauty of the area and not on myself. That is why, when asked to take part in the Cascade Hiker Podcast, I was a little hesitant. Sure, I love talking about nature, but does anyone really care what I say? Apparently, they do and Rudy at the Cascade Hiker Podcast was eager to have me on to talk about my love, Olympic National Park.
I had been impatiently waiting and obsessively training for the Squamish50 race for over a year. In the foothills of the mountains around Squamish BC, less than an hour north of Vancouver at about the halfway point to Whistler on the Sea to Sky highway, the Squamish 50k course exudes beauty. It is also held in a beautiful location that I had long wanted to explore with my family. As a bonus, completing Squamish would give me my first points toward a crazy goal of mine, getting the entry requirements for UTMB Mont Blanc, the greatest Ultra race in the world.
Happy Birthday, National Park Service. I am so happy for you.
Those words seem weak, lacking my true feelings in a commonly stated platitude. Sure, I could add an exclamation point, but even that comes up short. “Thank you” means nothing, compared to what you have done for me. You have changed my life; you redirected a lost soul with your majestic beauty and endless adventures. You let a dreamer have a place to dream and gave a kid who felt more at home walking alone in the woods a place to rekindle a relationship with his soul. You have taken away stresses and pain and replaced them with tear-jerking panoramas more stunning than any picture can capture. You saved me from a life of regret and pain and mistakes of my 20’s; you let me blaze a new trail for my life, passing through the purest wilderness in existence. You are my soul mate and it might be fucking cheesy to say it, but I don’t care. I owe you my life, National Park Service, and nothing I can do or say will ever repay you for what you mean to me.
Towering up like an erupting volcano in the distance, the Godkin and Hayes fires continue to rage above the Elwha River in Olympic National Park. Transforming the view from Olympic’s Hurricane Ridge region from a picturesque quiet panorama to a blazing, smoke filled inferno, those visiting the Olympic Peninsula are hard pressed to remember seeing a fire like this. While the smoke and flames are intimidating and scary, it is important to remember that fires in the region are normal and an important part of keeping a healthy forest. Thanks to a huge flare up of the Godkin and Hayes fires, 2,188 acres have been burnt, up from just 350 acres six days ago. With above average temperatures returning to the region, the fires are expected to grow in size and select roads and trails will continue to be closed.
Maybe the fire will be blown out on August 25th, when the National Park celebrates the centennial birthday…
On July 21st, Olympic National Park was rocked by over 400 lighting strikes during a turbulent storm that swept over western Washington. Many will remember that storm through the countless pictures on social media over lightning over the Space Needle, but out in the wilderness of Olympic, the lasting impact of the lightening is still being seen and smelled. The lightning at the end of July started four fires in the wilderness of Olympic, all of which have slowly grown larger with the warmer weather that has smothered the Pacific Northwest. The fires in Olympic National Park have now burnt 315 acres, a number that will surely increase a bit after tonight’s flareups and the continuing warm weather.
In honor of the National Park Service turning 100 years old on August 25th,2016, images and love for our most precious of natural wonders has been coming in from all corners of the world. Today, as I checked Twitter, I caught a glimpse of a view of Olympic National Park that I rarely see. From high above the atmosphere on the International Space Station, Astronaut Jeff Williams shared both images and a video of America’s most-diverse National Park. From high above, the rainforest-lined river valley show off a stunning green, while the Olympic Mountains look perfect, pristine and as wild as they are. I don’t often need to wipe drool from the corner of my mouth while looking at pictures of my backyard, but these pictures truly are beautiful, inspiring and breathtaking.
The world is a hectic place, with the noise of uncertainty distracting us from our own needs. We are stressed as a society, running full speed in the rat race of life, hoping our hard work is rewarded with a lot of cheese. We are often overwhelmed by the sheer responsibility of “adulting,” finding solace in binge watching shows and a release by screaming our lungs out for our favorite sport’s team. We have pushed for the legalization of marijuana, while creating more and more craft breweries and distilleries, helping us escape into substances. Millennials drink more wine than any other generation, downing half of all wine consumed each year. Washingtonians have spent $637,295,296 in three years on marijuana. We long for distractions from our jobs and responsibilities, turning to anything we can to numb the monotony. It seems that we are dying for an escape from reality, hoping to find meaning somewhere, somehow.
As a busy July winds down in Olympic National Park, four wildfire continue to burn in the wilderness of one of America’s favorite parks. Over 250 acres have been burnt due to fires started by lightning strikes in the park, ranging in size from 150 acres to just 1/2 acre in size. Three of the fires are burning in Olympic National Park’s north region, with smoke visible from Hurricane Ridge. One fire, the Cox Valley Fire, is burning across the valley from the road leading to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. The fourth fire is burning in the Quinault region, 22 miles northeast of Lake Quinault. The fires have little impact on visitation to Olympic and visitors should not hesitate to explore the region.
UPDATE: On August 18th, the road was once again closed to the public over concerns for safety. A previous update on August 1st, reported that the Obstruction Point Road was reopened to the public. That was the case, but it is once again closed.
The Obstruction Point Road in Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge region is closed to to smoke from a wildfire. The popular area for hikers, backpackers and marmots is usually packed during the end of summer, but thanks to a wildfire burning nearby, the region is inaccessible for vehicle traffic until the fire is contained. See high quality pictures of this fire in here. Please read the latest information about the Olympic National Park wildfires here: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4906/#
“For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.”
Those words are atop the iconic Roosevelt Arch that greets visitors to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana. On June 10th, 2016, a visitor from Texas decided to add his initials to the famous arch, in what he later descried as a “a bad decision.” According to a NPS press release, the man responsible was sentenced Tuesday, July 26, 2016 by U.S Magistrate Judge Mark Carman, who ordered him to serve three days in jail, pay a $250 restitution fee for repairs, and $40 in court fees.
ONP sent out an announcement today that an approximately seven-acre wildland fire is burning in the wilderness of the Elwha River valley. The Seven-Acre Godkin Fire is located about 25 miles south of Port Angeles, in approximately the geographic center of Olympic National Park. The fire was ignited during last Thursday’s series of storms, which led to over 400 lightning strikes over the Olympic Mountains, along with significant rainfall.
These five day hikes are for the rugged, the hearty and the slightly insane.
Each of us has a hike that we consider to be the hardest day hike we have ever attempted. These hikes have caused pain and agony, both physically and mentally. Tucked in the deepest recesses of our minds, we compare each and every trail we come across to the last treacherous trek we undertook. You always remember the trail that last kicked your ass and left you feeling exhausted, even if while you were hiking it, you cursed between panting breaths. For some of us, these often brutal day hikes become addicting, border lining a near masochistic relationship with Mother Nature. We look for trails that challenge our minds and bodies, pushing us out of our comfort zone. The sore legs, the small cuts and bruises, the nettles burning your skin; it all goes away with the view from panoramic wonderlands.