Another round of early season backpacking in the Olympic National Park. This trip was to another river valley that I had never been to, the Gray Wolf River. It was also an introduction to backpacking for my best friend Lyss! Apparently reaching the upper stretch of the Gray Wolf River Valley into the ONP requires taking a side trail down hill on the Slab Camp Creek trail due to a trail bridge washout on the lower reach of the trail. You can also more readily access the upper stretch in the ONP by Deer Park rd if it was open, but that road is not currently open and you'd be taking the Deer Park access trail from the same parking lot anyhow. I wanted to see the valley!
After crossing the large bridge across the river you make up for the loss in elevation fairly soon. The trail pulls away from the river and climbs on a narrower path high above the river. The path is laden with moss, and an eerie feel of the recovering forest from an old burn. Small trees strewn across the hillside's floor. With glimpses of burnt stumps, hollow trees, and scorched sections of the few surviving older growth trees in this area. The narrow path meanders along steep forested hill with the occasional trail engineering to maintain a walkable path. As you approach Slide Creek camp the forest thins a bit, and crosses an open rock scree field that gives you glimpses up into the valley. By this point we had passed both large groups, and accounted for all of the cars in the parking lot. After Slide Creek we had the rest of the valley in isolation for a very peaceful, and silent wilderness experience. Rarely is it with this much solitude.
The new filtration system is going to stick around for at least a few more trial runs if not indefinitely.
The adjustment to my rain gear on this trip was adding the rain wrap back into the equation like mentioned in the recent Elkhorn trip. Using that in conjunction with converting my pants to shorts kept me significantly drier. When I get the sewing machine back, I'll fabricate some sil-nylon trail gators for those trips of imminent rain. Knowing my shoe's gore-tex is shot I'll need to test the current rain system with non-leaky shoes anyhow.
The Ti-SOL Jetboil is still kicking strong. It is usable for 2, with at least 2 boils of water for breakfast and drinks. This trip was an experiment, to see how much of a hassle it was and whether I wanted to take one of my larger 1.3L or 2L pots with next time.
66" Neoair pad, Neoair sit pad, and my down jacket in an 8L Ultra-sil dry bag for a pillow is definitely the most comfortable sleep I have been in the backcountry! This setup is staying...