Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Marmot Pass (overnight)

Quick facts
Driving distance from Seattle: ~2 hours (includes ferry); you can also drive through Olympia in under 3 hrs
Hiking distance (both ways): 10.5 miles (17km)
Elevation gain: 3,500ft (1,100m)
Green Trails Map: 136

Panorama view from Marmot Pass[A panorama view from Marmot Pass]

I found this to be a very nice camping destination. For starters, when we went there in late Septembers there were only a couple other hiking groups on the trail. Secondly, most of the trail is very gently graded as it follows the Big Quilcene River so carrying all the camping gear is not too much of a burden. There is a camp site half way to the pass (the Shelter Rock Camp) and another one right at the foot of the final steeper ascent to the pass (at Camp Mystery). Jean and I stayed at the latter. The next morning we took our day packs and climbed up to Marmot Pass. The clouds parted briefly allowing us to take a bunch of pictures but soon descended again. We were originally plnning to hike up another 1,000ft up to Buckhorn Mtn. but with clouds so low it no longer seemed all that attractive -- maybe next time.

We got the idea for this trip from Spring & Manning's "100 Classic Hikes in Washington" -- a really great book and as of previous edition printed with high quality color photos; the other book is a more specialized resource for those wanting to explore the Olympic Peninsula in more detail: