Monday, August 8, 2011

Mount Thompson, WA

Today, the gang (me, Dad, Doug, Barb, and a delightfully boisterous friend of Barb's named Dilan, whose name I'm sure I'm misspelling) went up Mount Thompson, one of the Olympics. It was a steady climb, high enough to cross a last few disintegrating snow fields hanging on in the shady spots. This year was especially snowy in the Northwest; ski areas stayed open until July, and many trails remained closed far later than usual. Some of the hikes I'd marked in my guidebooks still require the use of an ice axe (which I'm probably not going to bother with; I'll hike somewhere else).

Tomorrow, Dad and I get up bright and early to take on the first serious, multi-day backpack of the trip. We're going to Olympic National Park. We get there via Aberdeen, site of the 'ol Cobain homestead. Our first day will be on the dramatic Pacific Coast, where the temperate rain forest descends to the rocky shore. After spending a night at a big campground by the coast, we'll head to the Hoh River. The hike should take us through old-growth rain forest all the way up to the terminus of a glacier on the slopes of Mt. Olympus. We'll be back on Friday.

Pictures for your viewing pleasure (again with help from Barb and Dad):

There were wildflowers everywhere, even among the trees.
Dilan and Uncle Doug.

Here is your second warning about Dilan.
Snow fields among the trees
Tank top, sweat, and snow.
Dilan and Barb
The trail then switchbacked through alpine meadows. Our pictures never quite did justice to the profusion of wildflowers.

It was like walking through a rock garden with each step.

Crossing a ridge to the summit. Clouds moved in from the west and ran up against the mountain just as we got to the top.

Heading to the top.

Summit, with unidentified hiker. It was a busy, popular trail.

Dad at the summit

A last look before the clouds really socked everything in.

Descending through clouds

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