Thursday, September 1, 2011

7 Lakes Basin Loop to Shi Shi Beach and Point of the Arches

We started off our adventure, on the Sol Duc River (Sol Duc Falls pictured above) in the Olympic Peninsula. The hike was an ambitions 18 mile loop that took us on the High Divide Ridge trail that separates two drainage basins. While on the High Divide section of the loop you can look down and across to Mt. Olympus and the mighty Hoh River.

We came across lots of flowers and lots of wildlife. Pictured above is a tiger lilly. We saw 2 pika, 2 frogs and from the High Divide Ridge we spotted 7 elk and 5 black bear. These were my first bear sitings, which was quite exciting. We hiked along the Sol Duc river coming out of mountains and in a low spot near a river we walked about 20 yards from the last bear that we came across on the trail. The bear was walking lazily on a log eating berries. I was ready to high tail it out of there, but my fearless companion was less alarmed.

There were so many amazing alpine lakes. We came off our ridge and dropped down 500 ft for lunch at the appropriately named Lunch Lake. I jumped in to the freezing cold water, slammed a samich and was back on the trail.

Here's a picture from High Divide when the clouds lifted her skirt for a moment and showed us the goods. The picture is of a glacier next to Mt. Olympus.

After a 20 mile hike, our feet felt like they were caned and we were as tired as bear cubs. We passed out in the middle of a logging road about 10 miles off the Sol Duc and woke up the next day and headed for the silky smooth sand of Shi Shi Beach.

We hiked down the beach and camped next to Point of the Arches. They are these big hay stack rocks out in the ocean.

We set up camp at high tide and coaxed the sun out with peer pressure.

The tide went back out around 2 pm and we played in tidal pools and looked for rocks on the beach.

The rock formations were amazing.

Sunset proved to be absolutely breathtaking, so we sat on driftwood and watched the show. I gathered wood and had a small fire, we cooked a quick pasta dinner and I passed out in about 7 seconds.

I woke up at sunrise and went back out to the arches. The tide was going out, so I explored in the tidal tunnels of the rocks.

There were lots of sea anemone and...

Star fishes!

The tidal tunnels are tucked inside of these haystacks. This is a perspective view of Point of the Arches.

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