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Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
The Elwha River, Olympic National Park on 04/19/2009 23:50:10 MDT Print View

Well after months of cabin fever, gear modification and more cabin fever... The weather and the majority of things cooperated enough to get out and take a backpacking trip. Initially the hike was going to be the weekend after my birthday, but it wound up being easter weekend. So we postponed the hike for the following weekend.

Basic rundown, Jesse and I went to the Elwha River trail off of whiskey bend road and set out to reach Elkhorn ranger station and setup camp. Well we made it there, and the really good spots were already filled, so we hiked between 1/3 to 1/2 mile to the semi-adjacent camps further up river to scope out a campsite. Rough approximation for mileage was 23.5 miles out and back. What a great way to kick the season off.

more about the trip and gear will be posted on my blog this week. rooinater.blogspot.com

My assorted grub for the hike.
food for hike

My gear ready to be stuffed.
gear to be packed

Me at the trailhead.
Start

Jesse at the trailhead.
start

Micheal's Cabin
micheal's cabin

Jesse in a clearing.
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Me alongside the Lilian River.
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Jesse and I alongside the Lilian River.
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Jesse alongside the Lilian River.
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Lilian River bridge
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Lilian River
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Jesse hiking up to the second switch back after Lilian River.
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Jesse finding a better way to cross the bridge (not using it) after I about ate it into the creek. The bridge was crooked and slick, worse than last year.
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Some random fungus on a tree.
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More water...
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Colorful plants... I want to say Oregon Grape, but I'm sure that I am wrong.
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Mossy forest.
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Jesse near some water cascading down a rock face along the trail.
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Same spot, but me.
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Crossing a tributary of the Elwha to get out to the main river for a looksee.
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Jesse and I out on the bank of the Elwha.
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A view upstream of the Elwha.
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Jesse taking another route back to the mainland.
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More wooded trail...
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Me with a partial shot of Mary Falls in the background.
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Mary Falls
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more water cascades
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Jesse alongside the Elwha near canyon camp.
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Such clear water...
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Wishing it was fishing season, and that I had a fly rod with me.
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mmm... ClO2, treating some water.
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Taking one last look before getting back on the trail.
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more water
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Jesse at Elkhorn
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One of the 5 or 6 deer we say.
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Camp and cooking
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The Ultra20 quilt and NEOair.
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The cold and brisk morning after, about 36 to 37 degrees outside.
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My Myog vest that was keeping me very warm.
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On the way to Elkhorn
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Elkhorn
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Trail shot after Elkhorn
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Nice view
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scott burgeson
(DrDystopia) - F

Locale: Upstate NY
nice on 04/27/2009 22:52:53 MDT Print View

Great shots, looked like an great first trip of the season. That first mossy forest pic is sublime.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
The Elwha River, Olympic National Park on 04/28/2009 10:23:43 MDT Print View

Thanks for the trip report and photos! I was in that area in 2007 - it brings back some memories.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: The Elwha River, Olympic National Park on 04/29/2009 21:53:00 MDT Print View

What section of the park does the Pacific Northwest Trail go through? I remember seeing some of your pics on flickr. The trip was great, glad you guys like the photos.

Mark Bishop
(mark_b) - MLife

Locale: Northwest (WA)
Elwha River Hike on 04/29/2009 22:11:38 MDT Print View

I love hiking in the Olympics - thanks for posting these pictures.

You going to report on how you liked the Neoair? I'd be interested if the Ultra 20 and Neoair combo was warm at those temps.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: Elwha River Hike on 04/29/2009 22:32:10 MDT Print View

There is a quick bit on it in my gear overview from after the hike on my blog, but overall I was really warm. The biggest problem I had with the quilt was user error and I won't be blaming the product for not using it correctly. Basically I have to learn how to vent it correctly. The radiation of heat from the neoair and the insulation of the Ultra 20 when it's buttoned up made me sweat like a pig (I was only wearing boxers and a beanie also). So I need to learn a happy medium with the venting. The other problem I had was also user error. I loosened the lower strap to vent my heat and I forgot about it until after I went to the restroom and fell back asleep... So I got a chilly breeze till I remembered about the strap. When the Jam2 disappeared from under my feet in the night and I got a little chilled through my feet, I went to a fetal position on my neoair and tucked the quilt by my feet and I was back to sweating to death. Basically I can't blame the quilt for my own learning curve on the proper use and venting of a quilt. It seems to take a little more fidgeting and trial and error to find how you sleep best and comfortable with it. The neo air was very comfortable, and the first supportive but not rock hard mattress I've slept on in the woods. The quilt made more noise than the mattress in most all instances.

In another trial in my grandma's basement I had to switch from the neoair to the regular queen size air mattress my girlfriend was sleeping on because she was cold (the queen size mattress had 2 wool blankets on top...) and when i switched to the regular mattress I could feel the heat suck out from under me, but my girlfriend was cold and needed to share my body heat. The window was open so there was a freezing breeze blowing around in the basement.

Overall the neoair and the golite is staying in my sleeping system. They are comfortable and light, I just need to get more time under the quilt and learn to vent before sweating to death. Without the straps on the quilt though I wouldn't have brought it out at that cold. I liked the fact that I could control the movement of the quilt by cinching it down to the pad. A side note, I'm also a warm sleeper, and if I was expecting to camp on snow I'd bring another closed cell pad to lay under the neoair, but without snow directly on the pad it sure insulates very well. Temperature was measured with my mini thermometer from REI. I found a wind meter and thermometer at the puyallup WAC show I might buy for gear testing reports, since it was barely over an ounce.

Edited by rooinater on 04/29/2009 22:42:48 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
The Elwha River, Olympic National Park on 04/30/2009 13:03:27 MDT Print View

> What section of the park does the Pacific Northwest Trail go through?

The PNT followed a route of trails as well as dirt and asphalt roads through Olympic N.P. Click the image below for a larger, more legible version:

PNT Olympic NP