September 12, 2017
PNT mile 1057
Camp: Home Lake – Olympic National Park
So many things could have gone wrong today, and nothing did! We were up and ready in time for Lys to give us a ride to Sequim where we would get our bear cans and then hitchhike to the trailhead. I had called the shop with the cans yesterday to inquire about their policy and was told that we could use the cans and return them at the visitor center in Port Angeles. When we arrived at the shop though, the woman had a different story. In fact, they only gave out bear cans to people going into a certain area of the park (not where we were headed). She refused to accept that I’d been told differently on the phone yesterday and she even admitted it had been her I spoke with! Trying to withhold my frustration with the situation, I calmly asked her how we should proceed seeing as we had no car and were out of options. She said she would give them to us if we had permission from a ranger. Perfect.
I called the ranger station and got permission at which point she became friendly and agreeable. What a headache for us though! She relinquished 3 dirty bear cans and we sat outside shoving our food supply into the limited space. I was lucky to have a plastic bag handy to line mine with, as to avoid having someone elses filth be transferred to my food. I was apalled but relieved, and more than ready to hit the trail! There have been bigger obstacles to this journey. It started to rain on us, but we were not to be deterred … the mountains were calling.
Hitchhiking in the rain is never easy, but there is usually one soul kind enough to shove 3 wet hikers with packs into their vehicle. In this case it was a woman with her 2 kids in a Suburban – plenty of room! She drove us farther than she had to, but we weren’t going to complain – it was a long road to the trailhead! We stopped to adjust our gear and put on raincoats as a giant owl swooped through the forest right in front of us. I’ve never seen such a large bird up close in the wild before (it was bigger than a bald eagle). I took it as a good omen, especially when right afterwards a car drove up and brought us the rest of the way to the trailhead. This was very good fortune indeed.
To top off the good events, the weather turned as we were eating snacks at the trailhead. Sun began to shine and we were able to hike our 10 miles to Home Lake without incident. The clouds were lifting from the mountains, shifting in the sunlight. It was a beautiful day. It felt amazing to walk in the forest, to climb a pass and then find our way into the lake basin. We were back in the wilderness and it felt so right!
We arrived at Home Lake to find one other couple camped there. They didn’t seem too pleased to have company, but what can you do? We gave them as much space as we could as we set up camp, collected water and cooked dinner. It was very cold at that elevation already, so we didn’t stay up long after dinner. It feels super good to be cozy in my sleeping bag, in my tent, in the mountains again. This is what the hike is about – all that road travel just confuses the mind. This is clarity.
I’m excited for tomorrow. I’m ready to be out here and enjoying these mountains.