Author Topic: Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section  (Read 1252 times)

Pdeering

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Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section
« on: December 14, 2016, 12:48:46 AM »
A small group of us is considering a ~200  mile hike through the Olympic Peninsula for late August/early September 2017.

We're pretty experienced trail hikers (Wonderland, Pukasksaw, Superior Hiking Trail, etc.), but carrying 5 - 6 days food is about our pack weight limit. Depending on the terrain a day = 10 - 15 miles. (We're all 60+)

We're from Minnesota, so we probably wouldn't have a car, but we have friends/family in the area that would be willing to do some amount of driving support.

Are there established places to send food caches along the trail or other resupply mechanisms hikers use?

Thanks is advance for any info.

Evan

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Re: Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2016, 05:03:47 AM »
Are you thinking about going eastbound or westbound?

The only real resupply opportunities in the middle of the Peninsula are Forks and Port Angeles, which both have good supermarkets if you don't want to mail boxes. This matches your food capacity and mileage pretty well. It's about 50 miles from Cape Alava to where the trail intersects the road to Forks (this can be shortened by 20 miles with a popular shortcut), about 55-65 miles from Forks to the Whiskey Bend trailhead or Hurricane Ridge (both spots to catch a ride into Port Angeles), and like anywhere from 60-100 miles from Whiskey Bend/Hurricane Ridge to Port Townsend depending on what combination of primary and alternate routes you take. A chunk of that last segment is road walking so could be shortened by hitching or driving if a friend could take you.

Hitching around the Peninsula is pretty easy as far as hitching goes. Getting picked up or dropped off at Ozette/Cape Alava would save a lot of time, and if you could get someone to bring food to you at Hurricane Ridge or Whiskey Bend that would prevent you from having to break up the Olympics experience by going into town. There's also public transit to get to/from the Peninsula assuming you're flying in and out of Seatac and don't have a car.

Pdeering

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Re: Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2016, 12:22:19 AM »
Evan:

Thanks so much for your answer.

Currently, we're thinking of a westbound hike. Reason? It just seems more epic that way...walking to the sea.

To me the only downside of the westbound direction seems to be that the first days will include lots of altitude change (which can be trained for, but nothing in Minnesota really gets you ready for the combination of constant up and down hill hiking and thinner air).

Is there any reason to favor an eastbound hike?

Thanks again.

Evan

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Re: Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2016, 12:18:14 PM »
Both directions are great. There's definitely something idyllic about ending on the coast, though going east wouldn't diminish the experience at all. And you'll get the elevation change either way ;)

Dylan Carlson

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Re: Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2016, 08:44:15 AM »
Here's a list of resupply towns and resources.

I would also recommend purchasing the Pacific Northwest Trail Town Guide by Melanie Simmerman - http://amazon.com/Pacific-Northwest-Trail-Town-Guide-ebook/dp/B01BKYYD3E

Depending on the amount of time you have I would recommend one of the following itineraries.

Discovery Bay to Cape Alava (option 1)
From Seattle, catch public transit via ferry and bus to Discovery Bay, near Port Townsend. Begin your hike here via the OLD practical route. This is the blue route on this mapset. When you get to Hurricane Ridge, catch an easy hitchhike down to Port Angeles, spend the night in Port Angeles and resupply. Then hitch back to Hurricane Ridge and continue your hike through the Olympics. When you reach Bogachiel State Park, hitch north to Forks and back to resupply.
When you reach La Push and the troublesome river crossing you can do a mini-resupply out of the gas station in La Push.
From Cape Alava / Ozette (official ending point of the PNT) you can hitch back to Sekiu and catch public transit to Port Angeles.
The reason this suggestion follows the OLD "practical route" of the PNT through Hurricane Ridge rather than newer route is that washouts have destroyed a lot of the road access in the Elwha River area making resupply from the Elwha river road ("Olympic Hot Springs Road") difficult and impractical.

Elwha River to Neah Bay (option 2)
This option skips the east half of the park, which is honestly not as awesome. It spends more time on the ocean.
Take public transit to Port Angeles, the biggest city on the Olympic Peninsula, where all services are available. From here take a public bus to where the Elwha river crosses Hiway 101. You will need to walk into ONP. This road has been damaged by recent flooding, but is still accessible to bikes, hikers, and horses. Hike up to Olympic Hot Springs following the standard PNT route.
When you reach Bogachiel State Park, hitch north to Forks and back to resupply.
When you reach La Push and the troublesome river crossing you can do a mini-resupply out of the gas station in La Push.
At the end of your hike, continue hiking past Cape Alava and go all the way north to Neah Bay. You'll need to contact the Makah Indian Reservation for permits ahead of time. From Neah Bay, there is public transit back to Port Angeles.

Dylan Carlson

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Re: Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2016, 08:46:06 AM »
if you could get someone to bring food to you at Hurricane Ridge or Whiskey Bend that would prevent you from having to break up the Olympics experience by going into town.
Having a friend deliver food at Hurricane Ridge would be great.

There is no longer car access to the Whiskey Bend trailhead. The road is heavily damaged further downstream.

Evan

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Re: Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2016, 02:05:03 PM »
There is no longer car access to the Whiskey Bend trailhead. The road is heavily damaged further downstream.

I assumed it was going to be open by thru-hiking season next year since they were paving and have installed a new bridge but my info was a little out of date. From the November 16 news release:

Quote
The Olympic Hot Springs Road remains closed to motor vehicles because of safety concerns related to frequent intermittent flooding of the road. A side channel of the Elwha River has become more active since an October storm event, leading to flooding of the road in an area just upstream of the new bridge. Bicycle and foot access are permitted; visitors should use the bypass trail to avoid the flood-prone area.

Park staff have installed temporary stream gauges to assess the severity and frequency of flooding. A timeline for reopening the road has not yet been established, and will be based upon information gathered from the stream gauges.

Pdeering

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Re: Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2016, 03:12:08 AM »
thanks to all for all the great advice. I'm sure that I will have more questions as the trip gets closer.

Happy New Year with wishes for great adventures in 2017.

Dylan Carlson

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Re: Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2017, 07:32:59 AM »
Elwha River road access to Whiskey Bend Trailhead and Olympic Hot Springs trailhead has been re-opened.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/hot-springs-road-reopens-to-glines-canyon-overlook/

RodF

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Re: Resupply in Olympics and Pacific Ocean Section
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2017, 03:58:57 PM »
Discovery Bay to Cape Alava (option 1)
From Seattle, catch public transit via ferry and bus to Discovery Bay, near Port Townsend. Begin your hike here via the OLD practical route. This is the blue route on this mapset.

Note there is a significant error on the lower left corner of Map 09-A2.  The Lower Gray Wolf Trail mile 4.5 Footbridge collapsed in 2001, and a nearby windfall log used by the adventurous to cross the river was swept away 5 years ago.  Gray Wolf is a hazardous river to ford - even in late summer, the river is swift with holes up to waist deep.  Instead, use the Slab Camp Trailhead shown on Map 09-A3 to access the Deer Ridge Trail (or the upper Gray Wolf Trail). 

Frankly, I would suggest starting the hike at Slab Camp TH on the "old practical" or alternate PNT, or at the Tubal Cain TH on the official PNT.  The PNT routes from Port Townsend to either Mt. Zion Trail (official PNT route) or Deer Ridge Trail (old alternate PNT route) are incomplete, and meanwhile largely involve 3 days walking along roads or highways.  Not fun.  (One thru-hiker I met called that the most miserable slog on the entire PNT, although he did it in continuous rain and was soaked, so that may have dampened his enthusiasm, too!)  I'd skip that - time is better spent up in the mountains!

If you do choose the "old practical" or "shortcut" route, be aware no water is available in late summer on the 7.6 mile Grand Ridge Trail from Deer Park to Obstruction Point.  Suggest checking Olympic National Park Trail Conditions https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-trail-conditions.htm for updates before your trip.  Also do be aware that your chance of spending a week in the Olympics without rain is at best 70% even in August, so plan accordingly.  Enjoy!
- Rod in Sequim WA