Upper Dungeness River Trail ONP

7:52 p.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
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After a week of gorgeous weather here in Seattle we were looking forward to go dayhiking at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park on Friday. However the weather had different plans.  Not wanting to battle high winds and possible snow we retreated to a lower elevation trail which leads into the park.  We picked the Upper Dungeness River trail.  It primarily travels next to the river and is sheltered by old growth.  We decided to hike into Camp Handy which is about 3.5 miles up the trail.  

Camp Handy still has one of the old fashion trail shelters which used to dot the Olympics.  At one time there was over a 100 shelters.  Now due to different forest/wilderness management practices, vandalism, and lack of resources ($) there are only about 30 or so left.  

As we hiked up the gentle trail we got to look at all the different types of mosses, fungess, ferns and mushrooms which grow in this very wet enviroment.  Ironically this part of the forest is called the dry side because it is in the "rainshadow" of the Olympics.  It only gets about 50 inches of rain a year compared to the west side which gets considerably more.  

The trail gains about 600 ft over 3.5 miles but given the down pour we were happy to make the shelter.  As we cooked lunch the sky cleared for a short time and we got to see the snow covered peaks which surround the valley.  The sun was short lived and as we packed up the rain started to come down again.  

We made pretty good time to the car as the trail was all down hill.  The weather kept the crowds away and we only saw two people the whole day.  This can be a very busy trail during the summer.  The temp began dropping as we hiked out and it started spitting snow when we got back to the car.  Overall a great trip for a very rainy day.

On a side note.  Make sure you double check you gear for cotton/poly blends. I had a shirt I wore on summer trips summer which I used  as a base layer on this trip.   Because of how it looked and  dried during the summer I assumed it had no cotton in it.  Big mistake, I was soaking wet after a half hour of hiking. When I finally changed my shirt I looked at the tag and discovered it was 45 percent cotton. Total rookie move.  I am glad  I had packed other clothes.  I felt pretty stupid telling my wife and nine year old after drilling it into their heads not to bring anything cotton on hiking trips. I have some pictures of the trip which I will upload later. 

12:30 a.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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12:33 a.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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12:35 a.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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12:36 a.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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12:38 a.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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1:13 a.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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Really nice pictures, Garth.  I love it when families enjoy the sport together.  I fought a forest fire in that park a bunch of years ago--so nice of you to bring back the memories of being there.  Glad you folks had fun!

2:36 p.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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Looks like a good day with the Fam, thats always a good thing. I was up there in ONP with the Fam back in 2005. We camped in the Heart O Pines campground(I think) for a few days and did some day hikes..... absolutly gorgeous area!

Seeing your TR brings back good memories and makes me want to get back there.

 Nice pics, Thanx for sharing Garth

3:43 p.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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I love this! Great to read reports about "home". I love the mountains and that is what I miss most about the PNW. Thanks for bringing me a little bit of God's country!

6:25 p.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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Nice pictures, reminds me of Cascade Canyon in the Tetons except the camphouse. I love those log bridges with the railings.

9:44 p.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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Making me once again know why someday before I die I need to either visit Washington/Oregon for several weeks or even live there...

9:10 a.m. on November 14, 2011 (EST)
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Gary:  Here is another log bridge.  Hard to tell from the pic but the log is almost double around compare to the other log bridge I posted earlier.

9:30 a.m. on November 14, 2011 (EST)
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This is breathtaking!

5:59 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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azrhino said:

Looks like a good day with the Fam, thats always a good thing.

 I agree with AZR here. I deeply enjoy solitude in nature but some of the best times are so because they were enhanced from sharing.


Thanks Garth...

5:28 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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Dangit he's letting the secret out!  Washington has pretty much everything you could want in hiking; rainforest, desert, mountains, coastline, alpine climbing, everythig except malarial swamps and tropical beaches. 

Kidding aside, Garth, its always a good thing to remoisten the webbing between your Seattle-area webbed toes.  Don't let a little rain spoil your trip plans. (This, comming from a guy who lives three hours from Seattle and has to suffer a WHOLE SEVEN INCHES of rain per year)


11:58 a.m. on December 18, 2011 (EST)
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Just Spotted this trail report, Great Trip Garth! 

I did this trail many years ago, back in the 80's during the spring.  Back when I lived in PA.  I ended up sleeping in the shelter because the medow still had a foot of snow on it.  Great place to enjoy the wilderness.  I think that log bridge in your first set is from before even then!  Nothing like good old Doug Fir!  Thanks for the bringing back some great memories.


April 23, 2018
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