Wednesday, August 26, 2009

High Divide Loop, August 24, 2009

High Divide Loop, Olympic National Park (August 24, 2009)

This is the short version of a very long day hike (a longer version will appear later, I hope).

My friend Lola and I hiked the High Divide Loop in a day. That was 19 miles with about 3,800 feet of gain.

We started out on the Sol Duc trail, followed the Sol Duc River trail to the High Divide, hiked to the top of Bogachiel Peak then hiked back down to Sol Duc Falls via the Copper Canyon Trail. We did the loop in just a little over 11 hours.

Highlights: Heart Lake (shaped just like a heart!), Seven Lakes Basin (looking down on scattered potholes and tarns), views of Mount Olympus and the Bailey range, trails and tarns literally bordered with gentians, old growth trees, gorgeous weather – we didn’t see any mountain goats but saw the shaggy rump of one big, black bear as he scurried away into blueberry jungles. The 360-degree from Bogachiel Peak (5,474 feet) is just about impossible to describe. Let’s just say it’s one not to miss.

Conditions: The trail is in good condition; all major bridges in and sturdy. The Copper Canyon Creek trail is rocky and steep. Very few bugs.

Recommendations: Camp the night before and/or after or stay at Sol Duc Resort. We stayed at the resort. The food is expensive but delicious. The pools are a worthy treat before and/or after the hike. Most people will want to experience this gorgeous hike as a backpack. It can certainly be done in a day but you have to keep an eye on the clock unless you don’t mind walking out with a headlamp. Pray for good weather.

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