Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ozette Backpacking Overnighter

Now that the snow has melted and the skiing season is over, I'm looking forward to other outdoor activities. Like backpacking! Forrest and I took Jerry on his first backpacking trip: an easy, flat 6-mile roundtrip hike on the Olympic Peninsula.

The night before our backpacking trip, we camped overnight at Salt Creek Recreation Area. It was very windy on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Even though my sleeping bag claims to be rated down to 15°F and it must have been in the 30s, I was still shivering and waking up once an hour. :( Either my bag lies or I sleep really cold; either way, I need to upgrade my bag to something warmer.

We got a late start on Saturday, not getting to the trailhead until 2 PM. "Quick stops" at stores for last-minute forgotten items sure does add up to a lot of time! We only had a 3-mile hike out to Sand Point on the coast, though, so we weren't worried about the time.

It was quite odd backpacking on such a tame boardwalk trail. Forrest and I both felt that it was harder on the feet. At least the boardwalk wasn't wet; we had been warned that it gets extremely slippery when wet, which is all the time in a temperate rain forest. But look at how dense the bushes are: I'm grateful there was a trail hacked through it and permanently held open by this boardwalk, 'cause there's no way you could hike through there without a machete otherwise.

We set up camp in the trees just beyond the beach. They provided a good windbreak, but we still had an easy trail out to the beach. Or at least out to the driftwood.

While Forrest and Jerry put up the tents, I went down to the creek to filter some water for dinner. I had remembered the task being tiring and boring, and pumping the water through the water sure was taking forever! I finally wore out my weak little triceps and was about to give up when Jerry showed up. He took over and I went back to camp to update Forrest on our slow progress. Not very longer afterward, Jerry returned to report that he must be doing something wrong, because no water was getting through.

Forrest asked us if we had cleaned the filter. I hadn't, because on our previous trips a fresh filter had been good for several water bottles before it had needed cleaning. And Jerry hadn't, because he'd never used a water filter before. Forrest went back with us to the creek to show us how to do things properly. :) It turns out that the water was so tanninized from running through the forest leaves that it clogged up the filter twice per water bottle! No wonder Jerry and I had such trouble.

We had originally planned on hiking the full Ozette Triangle loop trail (9 miles total). But we didn't finish breaking camp on Sunday until almost 1 PM, the weather was windy and chilly, my feet were hurting (wimpy city-slicker feet!), and we were feeling generally lazy. So we decided to hike back out the way we came.

On the hike out, we started passing several "leaf vodoo" faces. We suspect the boy scout troop that camped next to us was responsible. :)

I'm glad we went on a little weekend backpacking trip. I had fun, and being in the outdoors is relaxing after a week in an office building. Hopefully we'll do more trips!