Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Backpacking the North Fork of the Quinault River

September is the month for backpacking in Washington! Many of our trails are prime now as the snow finally melts, and the grey clouds seem to be at bay. I just had the pleasure of spending six days in Olympic National Park, backpacking the North Fork of the Quinault River to the Low Divide, for a total of 34 miles and 3,000' in elevation gain. This wonderful hike leads from Lake Quinault and the rainforest 'Valley of the Giants' with world record Cedars and Spruce, to the subalpine meadows blanketed in a variety of wildflowers. The elevation gain is steady from Wolf Bar to 16 Mile, followed by a couple short segments of switchbacks, and then a moderate climb to the camp at Low Divide. This hike could be split up to be completed by hikers of nearly any ability and is easily navigated. For more info on this trail visit
http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/north-for-quinault.htm. The Washington Trail Association also provides a description of this and other trails statewide, http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/map.

I love backpacking for the personal challenge it provides, as well as the meditative state of walking all day. My next trip will be up in North Cascades National Park with a group of young women I mentor. It will be our third backpacking trip together, and they've become very vocal about wanting a "flat" trail this go around. It is wonderful to hear them talk about previous trips, taking pride in cooking their own meals, carrying their own gear, and so on.

And so I am reminded of this quote from
Booker T.Washington:

"Few things can help an individual more
than to place responsibility on him,
and to let him know that you trust him."

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