A grand notion

Posted by Ken Campbell June 18, 2008 0 Comment 495 views

I have been thinking about the Summit to the Sea. I’ve always thought it would be an interesting study in contrasts to descend the length of the Hoh River, from its beginnings in the glaciers of Mount Olympus, through mountain streams and cascades, and emerging finally at the place where the clear mountain water mixes with the salt of the sea.

I still think that would be a great trip, a unique combination of alpine climbing, kayaking, hiking and canoeing. But now I’m looking at other possibilities as well. The other major river systems in the Olympics, each of them, would make a fine adventure. After giving it a good three minutes of careful consideration, I have decided to visit them all, to see them for myself.

I had blocked time in August to go to the Hoh. I was planning on climbing Olympus and exiting by canoe, from a point as high into the watershed as possible. It’s a long river and a long hiking/climbing route, so I figured on taking at least seven days to get it done.

Now that I have decided to add to the agenda, however, I am changing my approach. Instead of the Hoh this August, I’m going to stay on the east side and travel down two rivers instead of one. They are shorter trips, with good trails, and I think the relative straightforward nature of these two will help later, when it’s time to put the longer routes in perspective. For my first two Summit to the Sea journeys I’m going to be going to the Dosewallips and the Duckabush.

The Dosewallips begins in the snows of Sentinel Peak while the source of the Duckabush is the mountain that shares its name. I’m planning on climbing them both and following along the river route as much as possible to their ends in the waters of Hood Canal. Although I still have to plot out the actual mileage and route options, I’m pretty darn sure I can make both of the segments fit into the time I had already allotted for the Hoh. Beyond these, I think an autumn run down the Elwha is also possible.

I believe it will be a good start to what has become an ambitious project, to make journeys down three of the nine rivers in the series. There are other possibilities with this plan that make it even more interesting. Side climbs up Mount Mystery and Mount Deception, perhaps. Or Mount Lacrosse or Lost Peak. Lost Peak. That just sounds like a story, doesn’t it?

When you stand at the beginning of a long journey, it is important to plan for success. Little bricks make big buildings. Likewise, a little success early makes future success inevitable.

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