PNT – Part 1 – Cape Alava to Port Townsend

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Boulder Creek Hot Springs

Distance:  232 miles (373.3 km)

Time:  10 days (7/2/11 – 7/11/11) ……including one rest day in Port Angeles

Daily Average:  23.2 miles (37.3 km)

Highlights:

  • Olympic coast: Sea Lions, bald eagles, gorgeous sunsets, fascinating tide pools and a myriad of wave-sculpted sea stacks. Possibly the last time I will see my beloved Pacific Ocean for the next eighteen months!
  • High Divide/Seven Lakes Basin: The scenery was amazing, but in hindsight I could definitely have done with an ice axe and perhaps a pair of microspikes. Somewhat surreal seeing the Seven Lakes Basin frozen in summer.
  • Olympic Hot springs: After traversing the the snowbound High Divide and Appleton Pass, this place was a godsend. A series of hot pools along Boulder Creek; an absolute must for any self respecting PNT thru hiker!
  • Port Angeles: Whilst resupplying in the town of Port Angeles, I had the good fortune of running into Nancy Huber. A PCT thru hiker, class of 2009, Nancy had been hiking the Olympic coast over the past week and was enjoying some well earned post-hike R & R. Great meeting you, Nancy, and best of luck for the CDT in 2012!
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Cam Honan at Cape Alava | Starting point of the PNT and 12 Long Walks.

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Olympic Coast

Lowlights:

  • Road Walking: Both on gravel and cement. A sign of things to come. The sections which come immediately to mind are the stretch between the Olympic Coast and Bogachiel State Park and the final miles into Port Townsend.
  • The Outhouse: Speaking of crappy, I should make brief mention of the night I spent in the Obstruction Trailhead toilet block. This was the first night I have ever slept in a lavatory. A combination of fog, rain, wind and the fact that it was “colder than a grave digger’s arse”, made the decision a bit of a no-brainer. In addition, the facilities were clean (due to the heavy snows, I don’t think they had been used in quite a while), sported a hand sanitizer dispenser and when I had to got up to go for a pee in the middle of the night, I only needed to take half a step to find relief. In fact, I’m not even sure why I’m putting it in the Lowlight section………….hmm, I wonder if that’s a sign you have spent too much time in the boonies when you start talking about a toilet like it’s the Waldorf Astoria?

Notes & Musings:

  • A Snowy Summer: Snow levels in both the Olympics and Cascades were extremely high due to a combination of a heavy winter and an unusually cool spring. After some sketchy moments along the High Divide, I headed into Port Angeles to resupply and at the same time picked up an ice axe for the rest of the Olympics. The guys at Brown’s Sporting Goods store were kind enough to rent me one, which I subsequently sent back to them upon reaching Port Townsend.
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Seven Lakes Basin – High Divide | Olympic National Park.

  • Thanks: It is difficult to pull off one long distance hike, let alone a series of them, without the help and support of others. In my case, I’d like to send a big thanks out to my family back in Australia and three dear friends here in the States, namely Mike Towne, Genna Painter and Anat Razon, all of whom have been kind enough to help me out with maildrops, storage and a place to stay when I’m not on the trail.
  • World’s Great Coastal Walks: During the PNT a couple of people asked me how the Olympic coast section compared with the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.  Although I enjoyed them both, I would have to give a slight edge to the Canadian hike. The question got me thinking about other great coastal walks around the world. Here is a list of my favourites. Click on the hike in which you are interested to see photo galleries and associated trekking notes:
    1. Thorsborne Trail, QLD, Australia
    2. West Coast Trail, Canada
    3. South Coast Track, Tasmania, Australia
    4. Cinque Terre, Italy
    5. Corcovoda National Park, Costa Rica
    6. Cliffs of Mohr, Ireland

 

 


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