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Hike Of The Month 2012


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I've decided that I'm in for this HOTM too. Looking forward to it.


In addition to the two Earthcaches and the virtual, there's also a traditional near the parking lot:



Yes, and there are also finals to a couple of relatively easy puzzles there--look at the two blue squiggles in the water. (I'm not giving away anything that's not already noted on the cache page.)

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Great weather for an awesome hike with the best people! We even had youngin's out there managing the walk! All told, 27 geocachers were on this HOTM. For some reason, I was thinking 21 was the record and that it was the Monroe HOTM in 2008 (15), but that was beat by a snowshoe hike in Jan of 2009 by 1 for a total of 16, making this the record we smashed by a landslide. Thanks, everyone for joining me on this awesome hike!

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What a great hike with a great group of people! I'm glad I decided to go - it made for a fantastic weekend. So, when we did that whole group picture thing, apparently my camera didn't take the picture. Oops! GrnXnham's photo is a great one anyway. I did get the rest of my pictures from the hike posted (sorry, these ended up getting mixed in with the rest of my weekend pictures).

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Great photos! They make me kind of embarassed to share mine, but here they are. I stayed until Sunday afternoon. I went up to Hurricane Ridge (45 minutes from Port Angeles) and down to Dungeness Landing, and in between tried to pick up a few virtuals and a few of the puzzles caches I've solved (before I lose the coords again!) Great wekend, and I'm looking forward to going back to the area for the event in three weeks.

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I nearly ended up doing this hike the Saturday before, but I didn't have cash on me. I'm glad I joined this great group for the hike. It was a fantastic time and I collected some interesting trash on the way back, like a stuffed teddy bear, shoe, tiki torch, exactly one packing peanut, and other things.


Like AndrewRJ, I ended up sunburned as well. First time that's happened since I moved to Washington just over a year ago; I was starting to think it wasn't possible.


After the hike I headed to Sol Duc to log the Earthcache and virtual there. Then, found a park and ride to "nap" in until the following morning when I continued on 101 finding a few traditional caches along with virtuals and Earthcaches. It was a great weekend to be on the peninsula. Logs yet to come ...


I also learned why only 6 people have ever logged a find on this virtual:




I made it across Willaby Creek, which was flowing more like a river, but within .24 of the cache the trail was obliterated by blow down and overgrowth several years in the making. I wasn't dressed to bushwhack through it, it was 5 pm and I was alone. Recipe for disaster, so I turned back to return another day (assuming I find a new job in Washington and stay here).


Thanks to GrievousAngel and Totem Lake for organizing this hike, which got me back out to the peninsula doing what I love. Hoping very much to be able to join the May one ... if I'm still here.

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HOTM cache attempt for Ozette River Steam Donkey will be Sunday, the 27th. Ill be hiking in for a 3 day weekend to North Ozette Lake to hunt down the virtual at the steam donkey there. On the way in, depending on time, I may stop at two more virts on the short trail on the way to the beach from Ozette Lake. Or, if Im finding Im short on time, I may wait for those on the way out.


Time is of the essence if you choose to make this a day hike from Ozette Lake. Low tide is about 11:41 AM and will be at 0 feet. That makes the river crossing about knee deep for the average person. From what Ive read, the crossing can be shoulder deep if you cross it at high tide. This link is looking back from the North camp site and shows the right location to cross. 17 - Ozette river crossing at low tide


Camping is a Wilderness $5 fee, plus $2 per person per night. I'll pay the Wilderness fee, you just need to pony up 4 bucks for a two night stay if you plan to camp with me. Or you can handle your fees solo. Group size on a permit is limited to 12. If we have more, we have to camp apart as two separate groups. Ill be staying at or near the trailhead Friday night for a very early morning start. I dont recall paying for parking at Ozette Lake, but that was 5 years ago. Bring cash just in case. PM me if you want to camp on my permit. Ill send you the address you can send the check. No money will mean no commitment will be made for you.


If youre coming from Shi Shi Beach, you will have parking fees to contend with and you will have rope climbs during your hike if the tide is too high to go around the headlands. You will however, avoid the river crossing. The same camping fees still apply.


A Makah Recreation Pass must be purchased in Neah Bay prior to arriving at any trailheads on the Makah Indian Reservation. Just past the Makah Tribal Museum is Washburn's, where you can purchase the required recreation pass.


Overnight parking for Shi Shi is only allowed at designated private parking lots.

Permits/Reservations: Obtain permits in person at the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) in Port Angeles or at the Forks Recreation and Information Center. Call for hours. Before your trip, contact the WIC at (360) 565-3100.


A great trail report can be had here for Shi Shi to Ozette river. http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/trip_report.2010-08-08.4056632542


Distances to consider before actually going after the Steam Donkey:


From the Lake Ozette trailhead to the North Ozette river beach, youre looking at around 6 miles one way. From Shi Shi beach to the North Ozette river beach, youre looking at 8 miles. As some of us have learned, walking on the sand is no picnic and youll be doing that plus slippery rocks and seaweed and in the case of Shi Shi, rope climbs over some headlands.


Notices about camping out there:


  2. Hard-sided food containers like bear canisters are required on the coast. Food bags are considered illegal out there. The raccoons are the biggest concern and even though they have wires to hang them on, the animals have learned how to get at the bags. Ill try to find out about Ursula bags, but if you want to call for yourself, you can call (360) 565-3100.
  3. Pets, weapons, and wheeled devices are prohibited on coastal beaches and trails.

Edited by TotemLake
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This would be a brutal day hike, but maybe these notes will be helpful for planning:


This link is looking back from the North camp site and shows the right location to cross. http://www.flickr.co...@N00/622434013/

We've camped on the beach North of the river. It has several good camp sites. There are some really ugly sites on the headland. One look at them should provide plenty of motivation to cross the river. There is a low bank (with rope) that can be scrambled down from the headland. I can't see it in the picture. it could be to the left, out the frame. We found to be a good place to cross even the day after very heavy rain. The current was running hard enough to make the crossing potentially dangerous even though it was only about knee to hip deep. Undo the waist belt on your packs before attempting the crossing, or it could be next stop, Japan.


There is one short, but steep rope pitch over a point that someone had helpfully left (very soggy) gloves at, but it's a good idea to bring your own.


If you're coming from Shi Shi Beach

You will find it to be astonishingly slow going. There is a section of boulders that takes nearly forever to traverse and there are at least two places that can only be passed at low or medium tides and it is not always possible to reach the second one in time to make it around.


One other note: the beach between Cannonball Island and Cape Alava is often knee deep in kelp and seaweed and it's also pretty slow going.


Edit to add that if the tide is quite low, you can cross the river on the beach where it may be only inches deep, although stil moving fast enough for you to get wet.


Edited by B+L
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Unfortunately, the North side of the river was fully booked one of the nights so I have a booking for 4 for the South side of the river for the nights of the 26th and 27th.


Edited to add:


I forgot to mention I also have a booking at Ericsons Bay for the night of the 25th. I'm going to try to get closer to the trailhead for this. Parking is a $15 entry fee into the National Park.


Btw, the reservation is a place holder and more can be added as long as there is room at the site (I have 3 known joining me so far). Or, you can make your own reservations at 360-565-3100.


Bear canisters are insisted upon. Rentals can be had for a donation fee of $3 at the ranger station for the entire weekend.

Edited by TotemLake
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Wanted to note that there are actually 3 virtuals there in addition to the Ozette River Steam Donkey for those that haven't done any of them. They are:


Nylund's Grave GC7186

Roose Homestead GC16A6

Ahlstrom's Homestead GCGJGG


The last one holds the distinction of being the furthest west geocache in the contiguous United States.


I wish I could join the adventure, but I'm in Michigan until I secure my next job. Have an amazing trip!


- Mike (Team MEMILA)

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You posted just as I was writing this. I didn't have a map in front of me to ID the bay the ranger suggested. It is a boat in camp, but I looked at the trail system to get to Ericsons Bay and it can be done, but it's a bit out of the way. I'm cancelling that reservation in favor of staying at Lost Resort. It's a $15 stay for 4 in the campsite for the evening plus $5 for each person above that. http://www.lostresort.net/accomodations.htm

Edited by TotemLake
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I never include caches that are not on the trail as part of the HOTM. Nylund's Grave is not on the trail. That's almost a park and grab in comparison. :P


I didn't know the caveat. ;-)


I figured if someone was going to go all the way out there, they might want to visit it. It's an interesting spot as the forest encroaches on the grave area.

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What time are you thinking to start at the trail head? It's been a few years since I've done the Cape Alava hike. The plan is to meet at that trail head right? Still don't know numbers on my group yet, but I'm guessing 2-3 besides me.

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What time are you thinking to start at the trail head? It's been a few years since I've done the Cape Alava hike. The plan is to meet at that trail head right? Still don't know numbers on my group yet, but I'm guessing 2-3 besides me.

Considering I couldn't get a reservation for the North side of the river, we can get to camp on the south side of the river as long as you can make the Reservation headlands during the low tide period (peaks at 11:41 in La Push). I like to leave early enough though to try to get the best seat in the house. It's a long haul from 101 to the TH which is why I'm camping at Lost Resort the day before. Working backwards, I want to be on the beach trail by no later than 9:30 AM to make that headland, so we would need to leave the TH on the early side of 8 AM. That means we bypass the two virts and save them for on the way back. If we want to hit them on the way out, we have to leave earlier. When we get closer to the weekend, I'll give you a method for contacting me via satellite with your cell before you lose coverage.


Are you coming in on your own permit or do you want to be added to mine?


Cell phone coverage claims:

  • T-Mobile has coverage at Sekiu and via a partner at Lake Ozette.
  • AT&T has partner coverage at Sekiu and moderate coverage at Lake Ozette. (I personally don't remember having a signal there in 2007, but that may have changed since then)
  • Verizon says, What? Me worry? I think I know who the Makah Tribe contracted with. ;)
  • Sprint indicates your're off-network roaming, but covered through the area.

Edited by TotemLake
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I'll be staying up at Neah Bay at the Hobuck Resort, so will have a bit of a drive just to get there in the morning. I tried to get people talked into backpacking, but the group is definitely more of the car camping variety. :) I'm on AT&T and don't recall much coverage anywhere near Neah Bay last year.

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Ok. I'm intending to cross the river around 10AM or so on Sunday morning.


I also found out the Lost Resort has WiFi so I'll be able to post any pertinent info or changes on Friday and I'll post it here.


We'll probably head for the Steam Donkey TH by 10:30. I will have a radio tuned to FRS 2, so if we don't see you at the river we'll keep our ears on for you. I'm going to make an HOTM flag and will post it at the TH we find on the way in. I'm assuming it'll be on the far side of the forest camp site.


I also need to make a correction: Low tide on Saturday is 10:56 AM at La Push, making it about 11:18AM at Cape Alava. I don't think that's going to change my time schedule noted above.

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Just wanted to say TotemLake that I have stayed at the Lost Resort and was quite impressed with the cabins. We showed up late that day but he opened up his place to us, cooked us a late night pizza and poured a couple beers for himself and I. He has a huge selection of beers at his business. I would join you but I have studying to do for work. Next time right??? Take care

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There's a strong chance my group and I will no longer be doing the hike. :( They like the idea of the Cape Alava hike, but I'm not sure I can convince them to go for the geocache as well as get up super early to make the drive over to be there on time. I'll let you know if anything changes, but I'd say don't plan to wait for us. :(

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Yeah, we can definitely stop by after our hike. It looks like Saturday is going to be the better of the two days this weekend. Hopefully that 40% chance of rain Sunday means the 60% chance of no rain is actually going to win. :)

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I thought you had realized we were at the river campsite, not the Alava. Sorry! It was an awesome weekend! The weather held out for us till we started hiking back out. It rained on us for about 15 minutes then it let up for the rest of the day. We saw eagles, river otter, deer, a rabbit ran across our camp site. I saw a bat flying about my tent on the first morning. Some guy pulled out 12-14 inch trout near the delta. And yes, that high tide will back up the river quite a bit. Couldn't get good pics of most of the wild life but it wasn't for the lack of trying.

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The hunt isn't that difficult. It does take planning, timing, and execution. There are some slippery rocks you'll need to scramble over if you choose not to do the rope climbs on the way to the river camp site, and one rope climb is particularly steep. I would recommend camping on the south side of the river instead of the north side. This reduces the need to carry your overnight pack through the river. It does have a strong flow and if you cross earlier or later than 2 hours from slack tide, you could have a fight on your hands. We seemed to have more privacy as well as a sheltered location for when the weather decided turn on us. Fortunately, we had a great weekend throughout except for the first 15 minutes on the beach on the return trip.


The day hike to the Steam Donkey is doable in less than 4 hours round trip time. The trail is pretty well defined except for one location where you really do need to navigate off trail. Set your waypoints for where you left the trail, crossed the gully, and found the trail to reduce your risk of getting turned around and you should be ok. Make sure your tracking is on.


This river crossing IS NOT for young children to attempt. The flow has the strength capacity of taking you out to the ocean should you slip. Timing the tide for 0.3 or less feet will reduce the depth you have to cross. We crossed at the sandbar directly across from the south camp site entry and it worked out just fine. At two hours before 0.3 feet slack, the depth of the crossing was thigh high.


Our itinerary:

Day 1 - Stayed at The Lost Resort. They have a general store, real potties, and hot showers for $3, and they have beer on tap. One night stay in a tent site is $15 and allows for 4 people. Over 4, and you pay $5 per extra per night.


Day 2 - Hike to the south river camp site. Timing is everything. If you think you should split this hike in two and make the hike to the river on Day 3, do so, and stay at Cape Alava. Be sure to break camp early enough to make the low tide around the reservation and the rocks. You should be on the beach traversing the reservation border no more than 2 hours before slack tide.


Day 3 (or 4 as your itinerary allows), take off for the Steam Donkey. The forest entry is less than 400 feet from the river crossing.


Day 4 (or 5 as your itinerary allows) Hike back out with the timing to be no more than 2 hours before slack tide to give yourself options.


I can provide waypoints of two water sources to stop at if you should find yourself getting caught by the high tide before you can clear the reservation.


National Park camping permits:

Reservations can only be made a maximum of 30 days in advance.

$5 application fee

$2 per person per night

$3 donation to use a bear vault. Hard sided canisters are required, but we were not bothered by any critters overnight.

Edited by TotemLake
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Mark your calendar for June 23 for the next HOTM. This one will be on the east side of the mountains so the wetlanders can actually dry out a little bit. More details on where we will be hiking will be posted soon by Patudles or myself.


I have two areas in mind for you all. The one I would like to recommend is "Wedge Mountain" This hike is only about a 3-1/2 mile round trip hike but it is quite steep and the path is sketchy in places. At the of Wedge Mt. you look down on a spectacular view into the Enchantments snow lakes area. But it just snowed up there a couple of nights ago and I don't know if it will be snow free in a week and a half. The elevation is about 6200 feet. The other area is not so steep but will be close to seven miles or more depending on how many caches you want to go for. This is in the Twin Peaks area of Wenatchee. First cache will be "Fairest View" GC294H5 and seven or more caches along the way. (depending on your energy) Take your pick.

Edited by Patudles
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I have two areas in mind for you all. The one I would like to recommend is "Wedge Mountain" and "Another Wedgie" This hike is only about a 3 mile round trip hike but it is quite steep and the path is sketchy in places. At the of Wedge Mt. you look down on a spectacular view into the Enchantments snow lakes area. But it just snowed up there a couple of nights ago and I don't know if it will be snow free in a week and a half. The other area is not so steep but will be close to seven miles or more depending on how many caches you want to go for. This is in the Twin Peaks area of Wenatchee. First cache will be "Fairest View" GC294H5 and seven or more caches along the way. (depending on your energy) Take your pick.

There's still some snow now, but if it warms up at all it should return to a state of melting rapidly. The road sounds like it's becoming a problem for regular vehicles. Here's a recent trip report. Check out those views.

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