Progress report

Posted by Ken Campbell March 15, 2010 0 Comment 961 views

It’s been over 18 months since I first thought of the Summit to the Sea idea, following the nine largest Olympic rivers from their sources to the ocean. The idea was (and still is), that a system of hiking and boating through the largest watersheds on the peninsula would be a fine way to begin to get a handle on how the different parts fit together, and might be a pile of fun.

The thing is, I get a lot of ideas. Many of them never see the light of day, but with the ones that do get started, it’s important that I periodically review how they are progressing, just to make sure that I still see them as worth doing. Motivations and interests, like the tides, rise and fall over time.

Of the nine river systems that I’ve identified as goals of the project, the Dosewallips is the only one that has been completed. The Elwha and the Quinault are getting close. The only parts of the Elwha that remain to be traveled are the final summit portion (windfall and high temperatures kept me from the top last summer), and the canyon stretch between Lake Mills and Lake Aldwell. In the case of the Quinault, the only section I have left to complete is the lower part of the river, between the lake and the ocean, and I’m hoping to do that on a paddleboard next month.

With the Duckabush, I’ve seen the whole lower section of the river, from Big Hump to Hood Canal, but the highland parts of the river are still undone. Likewise, with the Skokomish, I’ve traveled from the National Park boundary to the Canal, with paddles on Lake Kokanee and down at the delta, but everything above that still remains.

When it comes to the others, the Wynoochie, the Hoh, the Queets and the Bogachiel, I haven’t made much progress. I suppose, if I looked back over my notes, I have touched on some of them during the course of the past couple of years, but I haven’t made any concerted effort to follow them on their downhill routes.

I didn’t really put a time limit on the project, which turns out to have been a good idea. This year has already been claimed by other pursuits – most notably the Olympic Grand Circle – and I’m not sure how much other time I’m going to be able to dedicate to this particular goal. But if being a Packer fan has taught me anything, it’s that there is always next year. And another year after that.

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