Friday, August 26th, 2022, 0635-1600
Hyak Shelter to Bogachiel State Park, then into Forks, WEBO mm 1184, Section 9 Olympic Mountains
23.3 miles, Gain 1770′, Loss 2900′, elevation 240′
I set up in the dark the night before and then packed in the dark the next morning…the hot springs dude would have been so impressed. This was, of course, my daily routine as a repeat southbounder of so many trails, especially as it got to be close to November. Since I was only 4 days away from finishing this hike, I wouldn’t have to deal with the short days much longer.
The fresh scent of red cedar persisted all morning. A trail crew had been slicing a gigantic fallen tree into thin sections and had neatly stacked the boards near the shelter, ready to replace the shingles. At least they had an ample supply of wood from the blowdowns. The strong smell reminded me of my dad’s wood shop. This was my 3rd birthday since he’d passed away and I still thought about him a lot.
I was off fast, tearing up the miles along the river. I caught up to Costanza just past the next shelter and campsite. He’d shared the spot with Quetzal, but she’d gotten an earlier start. I was happy to see him and we hiked together the rest of the way down the river valley. We meet 2 mountaineers heading up the valley to climb Mt Olympus. I was impressed by their packs, so heavily laden with 10 days of food and all their climbing gear. It’s one thing to pack too many luxury items but for some endeavors, you really need the space and ability to carry 60 lbs. I don’t know if I could do such an expedition but I would like to be able to do a few mountaineering routes.
We also marveled at the many huge trees and jungle scenes along the way. Moss and ferns were everywhere…it reminded me a lot of New Zealand. There was a spot where we had to use ropes to climb a steep, muddy hillside above the riverbed to avoid a washout, otherwise the hiking was pretty easy. We stopped for a short break at the trailhead, where a man asked about our journey. He’d gotten off the PCT because of an injury and now fires, and was soon heading back to Germany before his visa expired. He mentioned that a lot of PCT hikers had gotten Covid on the trail. I’d seen so few PNT hikers that such a thing seemed very improbable… and I very much liked it that way.
We began a 6 mile dirt road walk to get to HWY 101. A few miles in, a car stopped to offer a ride. Funk was in the backseat. I really wanted to get to town for some food but I declined. Costanza was walking every step and I didn’t want to leave him stranded alone at the highway. Plus, I also didn’t want to skip any more roads walks. We got a hitch within minutes once at the highway. A guy that had passed came back for us. He was a trail runner and had just finished a long trip up to the Hoh glacier and back. He was muddy and scraped up, limping but with a big smile on his face. He dropped us off at the pizza place and gave us his number in case we needed a ride later. We gave him advice on where else to visit in the park (7 Lakes basin).
The pizza and beer were great, as always. Costanza decided to get a room for the night and I joined in. We went to the grocery to get a few things, where we ran into Funk, Quetzal and Wolverine. We invited them all to the hotel but they had already made plans to stay at the state park down the road. We’d seen the guy who gave us a ride, Scott I think his name was, at the pizza place, and he’d offered a ride to the hotel. We were very grateful to not have to walk the mile and a half. I couldn’t tell you much more about Forks because this was all I saw of it. But I can say that the hotel was awesome. It was a full 2 bedroom suite, like a regular apartment. We could have fit 10 hikers and I was sorry the rest hadn’t joined us. We had a relaxing evening and went to bed early. It was a special treat for my birthday and I’m very thankful to Costanza for sharing. It was nice to have his company for the day.