|Lunch lookout, Mt. Ellinor|
About a month ago, we went hiking with our friends Andrew and Wynne and their doggy in the Olympics and Andrew told us about the Mt. Ellinor trail, saying that it's a good dog hike and a bit tougher than the trail we did with them (Dry Creek). So, when our friend Matt came to visit, we took the opportunity to give Mt. Ellinor a try.
|Matt up Mt. Ellinor|
|Matt looking over the world|
Matt decided that since he had his summer off from teaching, he'd do a gigantic road trip from Michigan to California and stop and visit friends, camp, run 200-mile long relay races... the usual. So, he swung through WA to visit us, break in our brand new guest bed (our FIRST house guest!), and see the Olympics. He spent Tuesday night with us, then hung around the Olympics until Friday evening, then joined us for a weekend sleepover and a day-hike at Mt. Ellinor.
The Mt Ellinor lower trailhead is about 1.5 hrs from Olympia, west of Hoodsport. The trail is 3.2 miles to the summit. Doesn't sound so bad, until you realize that it's 3.2 miles straight upward -- with a 3500' elevation gain, after starting at 2,600'. So, we started hiking and our lungs immediately noticed that we weren't at sea level. But it wasn't so bad. I mean, it couldn't be so bad -- we were passing families with children and mothers with babies strapped to their backs who were descending as we were headed upward.
|Photo taken by Matt|
The trail wound its way through the forest. It was pretty steep, obviously, but had plenty of switch backs to attempt to make the gain easier. My right calf was bothering me a bit as we were climbing, but I tried not to let it slow me down too much. My main concern was setting a good pace because the boys let me go first.
Max Dog, meanwhile, was having a fantastic time. He was running up the trail, then running back to us and then taking off again. He got a great workout. We were a little worried a few times when there was a pretty steep drop-off next to the trail, but Max was a good doggy and didn't try to leap off the side of the mountain or anything.
Eventually, we reached the spot that the families must have all turned around: deep, deep snow fields up through some jagged rocky terrain. So, once we got to a flat patch, we did what any normal kids would do: we had a mini-snowball fight in our shorts!
|Throwing snowballs on a hot, summer day |
(Photos by Matt)
|Descending (Photo by Matt)|
By the way, going down took a fraction of the time it took to ascend. I think it took us 1 hr 15 minutes to reach our lunch spot and only about a half hour to make it down.
We remembered to bring extra shoes to change into when we got back to the car, and towels to wipe the dog off, but we neglected to bring extra shirts to wear home so we could change out of our sweaty ones. We're learning....
We stopped in Hoodsport for some malts before heading back to Olympia. When we arrived in Olympia, sweaty and dirty, we were all exhausted and crashed out a bit in the living room before even showering. It was a great hike -- tough but doable for we humans, and perfect for our in-shape doggy.