Duckabush River, 06/25/11

I spent the better part of a week in June all alone at home, with both Nicole and Adelaide back in Wisconsin, where they remained after the three of us flew out last-minute to visit my Grandpa in the hospital.  Evenings were quiet; I vacillated between missing my three-and-a-half-month-old daughter fiercely and reflecting on the time I spent with my Grandpa in my youth and as I grew up and moved away from home.

I did plan, though, on taking advantage of this time alone by doing something.  While a backpack sounded good in theory, I knew that I was out of shape, out of practice, and unprepared even as the weekend approached.  So I thought a day spent walking along a river would do well for me—I’d stroll along leisurely, set up my tripod liberally, and see how far I got up the Duckabush River before turning around and heading home.

A detail of the Duckabush River.

I like driving over to the Olympic Peninsula early in the morning: down through Olympia, up along the Hood Canal with the cruise control set just right until you begin passing through all the small towns with their pickup trucks driven out onto the saltwater flats the tide has revealed.

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Big Quilcene to Marmot Pass, 06/06/09-06/07/09

I’d had my eye turned toward the Olympic Peninsula for several weeks. Our only hike on the other side of the Sound was a beach backpack, so we hadn’t really experienced the Olympic Mountains. And, after years of admiring them from afar, it was well past time to do something about it.

Falls in the Big Quilcene River.

Falls in the Big Quilcene River.

Last month, I’d decided that we’d hike the Upper Big Quilcene Trail #833.1 sometime soon. The Forest Service conditions report on 05/18/09 said the trailhead was open and that there was heavy snow around 5000′. With Marmot Pass another 1000′ above that, I decided to wait it out a bit. Several weeks passed, temperatures soared into the 90s—then retreated, and I forgot all about the knee pain from two weeks prior.

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