Barbara, Denise, Rick, and I went on a fabulous hike to the 7 Lakes Basin in the Olympic National Park over an extended weekend. We planned this trip last year when Barbara mentioned how her dad did this hike when he was a young man, had always talked about this particular hike with a magical sparkle in his eyes, and now that he is very ill, she thought she would like to do the trip in his honor and bring back stories and pictures of the adventure to him. Rick had gone there as a boy and quickly suggested that all 4 of us do the trip together! And so we went on this arduous 10 mile hike in (up to an altitude of 5000+ ft) and 10 miles out and have come back with incredible images and views I hope will stay in my mind forever!
We left Seattle on Thursday and car camped that night at the Sol Duc Campground. The campground was packed to full capacity, but walking around, we met some super nice people. Our tent site was right next to the Sol Duc River so we went to sleep and woke up to the sound of the rushing river.
Since we had time that first afternoon, we hiked up to the Sol Duc Waterfall. It was unusual in that there was a rainbow and there was this late afternoon light being separated into a prism:
The Sol Duc Waterfall is loud, powerful, and gorgeous:
The next morning, we took off with our huge packs. Mine weighed around 40 lbs (a little less on the way back). Here we are still looking fresh, pre-perspiration:
Onward to dense rain forests, to tree hugging…the tree hugging gives you an idea of how huge and ancient these trees are:
…to balancing on stones and logs to cross streams. Yoga comes in very handy for balance and core strength. I know, it kind of looks like I am levitating in this photo:
…to crossing very narrow bridges high over fast running rivers …this is me looking down past my boot (don’t look too closely at this one if you are the slightest bit afraid of heights):
Then there was this crazy tree that looked like Ganesh!!:
And up and up, to our camp spot at Heart Lake at 5000 feet. It really IS shaped like a heart. The Anahata Lake is what it should be called:
And there we camped on this idyllic meadow near the High Divide. I think I saw at least 20 species of wildflowers! Here is a Glacier Lily, Heather in full bloom, and Lupine:
That first evening at camp, while Rick was bathing at the stream near our tent (he had asked the girls NOT to turn around for a while to give him some privacy), Denise calls out, “BEAR! …BEAR!!” And Rick is thinking, “Yes, I’m bare and why is she looking over this way?”, when suddenly he sees the big black bear 100 feet in front of him. We were too stunned to grab a camera!!!! He was busy grazing along the hillside in front of Rick. The bear continued grazing until he was out of view. Talk about adrenaline rush!!
We woke up to wild goats! Mama, babies, big daddies…a whole herd of them. Rick had to shoo them away from our camp. We were told to watch out because they are in search of salt and are eager to eat salty leather on hiking boots, salty shoulder straps on backpacks, and other unmentionables.
We spent the day enjoying the campsite, the lake, the meadow. We saw blue butterflies, salamanders, frogs galore, various meadow birds, marmots, and wood ducks. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was very warm out. Here Rick and I are lounging at the lake (Rick took the photo over his knees):
Up and up we went in the late afternoon to the High Divide to see breathtaking views of Mt. Olympus and the Olympic Mountain Range:
And would you believe it??? We got back to camp and the same black bear from the night before came back one hour earlier than last evening. This time we were ready with our cameras:
Here is the one Rick took with his new fancy camera. Can you believe it???:
Thrilling? YES! The next morning, the most unbelievable thing happened! Just after coffee and just before breaking camp in order to hike back out, I was walking back from the outhouse (of all places!!) and heard, ‘Franny, is that you??” Yup! It was Grace. She and Ken and their group were camped right at Heart Lake, too! Grace is a ray of sunshine, and it was super to run into her! We hugged and hugged and I found out that they were heading way out to do some pretty intense mountain climbing. I had to bring her over to our camp because Rick loves Grace and I knew he would be tickled to see her here! What are the chances of this happening?
Later after hiking the 10 miles out, we went to Sol Duc Hot Springs where we soaked away our sore muscles. I have to say I feel great and I feel so grateful to be living in this beautiful part of the country where the mountains are practically in our backyard. Wow.