Olympic National Park (NP #33), Washington

I don’t have many pictures of Olympic National Park (map / wiki). I dipped into the park briefly from the town of Brinnon to make it official. Then I exited back out the way I came and drove a little further north to camp for free in the Olympic National Forest near Quilcene (8/28/15).

I had hoped to hike Mt. Townsend (trail info) the next morning, but a storm blew in the night before and made me question my plans.

 

The next morning there was still intermittent rain, but I reasoned that the wind from last night had died down significantly, and the rain wasn’t predicted to get bad until later in the afternoon. The hike was about seven miles round trip, and for the first 20 minutes everything was primed to inspire. The fog was at the right density. The trail was jogging in the right direction. The sun was at just the right angle..

 

The sum of the subtleties was stunning.

 

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Hike up Mt. Townsend.

 

As I gained elevation the rain picked back up.

 

Mt. Townsend is a saddle mountain. The trail to the summit heads west toward the low crest between its two peaks before turning north towards the higher peak. The saddle is oriented north/south, and it funneled the prevailing wind from the west into a fast moving channel of least resistance. The wind contained well defined plumes of rain, and they rode gusts through the tree tops and down into the valley. I was soaked in no time.

 

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This picture is facing east back down the valley. The peak of Mt. Townsend is to my left (north), and the channel of fast air comes from over my right shoulder (west).

 

I didn’t bring any water proof containers or bags for my phone, camera, or GPS, and I started to worry about them. I decided to leave my electronics and backpack under a tree in the best protected spot I could find and continue the last third of the hike without them.

 

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Up up up.

 

The trees began to thin out which allowed the wind to get a better running start before crashing around.

 

As luck would have it, the clouds to the northwest became patchy and eventually cleared enough to create a tunnel of blue sky. Within that bastion of blue sky a rainbow was framed, complete from end to end.  I was at eye level with the apex of the arch and its legs were planted in the foothills below. It was the best rainbow I’ve ever seen, and I’m bummed you all don’t get to share it with me.

 

The hike down was a satisfying soggy romp.

 


 

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Highway 101 – Southbound.

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