A November day hike

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IMG_2984I am nothing if not predictable. Fall is the time when I resolve to do more day hikes, to get out regardless of the weather, to fight back against whole weeks where every daylight hour is spent indoors with a good spell of walking and breathing mountain air.

So it was that by midweek last week I was suggesting a Saturday outing. The Dosewallips River Road was once a popular access point to Olympic National Park, but a storm in January 2002 washed out a stretch of the road about five miles shy of it’s end. So now instead of being able to drive to the campground and trailhead, you drive to the washout and then walk. It’s not far from home, but we had never ventured up because the prospect of a long road walk was awfully unappealing. We were so wrong.

After a little more than a decade, the forest has reclaimed most of the road although the trail retains the gentle grade. We started out in the fog and mist that feels mandatory for a forest so heavy with mosses and such, but the sun broke out higher up showing off the first snows about the tops. The river is it’s own enchanting shade of green, and the ghost campground was fascinating and an excellent spot for a picnic.

And the picnic! Mostly it was the sort of lunch that you cobble together from what’s in the fridge. But on a whim, I decided to pack our big thermos full of hot ginger tea heavy with lemon and honey. Honestly, I thought it might be a soggy day but that didn’t come to be. But mid-hike tea! A hot beverage in the wilds, with no effort! I don’t know how the wonder of this escaped me for so long… so simple, and so indulgent. I know exactly what I’ll be carrying on any future cool weather day trips.

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