Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Elwha Hot Springs

This has been one of the warmest days we’ve had since arriving in Port Angeles.  There has been a beautiful clear sky, as well, all day.  It would have been a perfect day for a great view from atop Hurricane Ridge.  However, the road up there is closed due to a slide which happened on Sunday.  The ranger told us it is expected to be reopened  tomorrow.
Madison Falls
After staying close to home and doing a few household chores yesterday, we were ready for a little leg stretcher today.  We started out doing a very short walk up to Madison Falls at the Elwha Valley entrance to the park.  It was a pretty little waterfall, but the most fascinating thing we saw along the way was a huge stump.  My kitchen is smaller than that thing.  Gene braved the spiders and got down inside to give an idea of how deep it is and he also stretched out on one side for an idea of how massive the tree must have been.

Our trailhead was 5 miles up a very narrow gravel road.  We got about half way up and decided we weren’t too keen on taking a chance of meeting oncoming traffic.  We turned around and headed back down.  We made one stop at the Glines Canyon Dam for a close-up look at Lake Mills.  It was beautiful and very peaceful in the early morning.
Lake Mills as we drove by in the early morning

Unwilling to risk the drive up the gravel road to the trail we had selected, we stopped at the ranger station for advise on other trails in the area.  The volunteer manning the office was very knowledgeable and almost too helpful.  He had many suggestions.  We finally decided on the Boulder Creek Trail which went to the Elwha Hot Springs.

Back in the day, the Elwha Hot Springs (spa and resort, I guess) was a very popular spot with folks from Seattle seeking adventure, rest, relaxation, and the soothing mineral waters of the hot springs.  When rules and regulations changed in regard to water purification and safety in public pools, the owners abandoned the resort.  Later, when the federal government acquired the land as part of the park, they demolished all the buildings associated with the Hot Springs.

Today, the Boulder Creek Trail follows the old roadbed, mostly paved, to the Hot Springs.  There are seven small pools, some so shallow you barely get your foot wet.  The seventh pool is the best and it is deep enough to sit down in with room for six or eight people.  The whole area was quite crowded today.  I would have made a few pictures, but many of the folks were so scantily clad I thought is best not to.  Besides, you couldn’t see the pools for the people.  We found a spot for our lunch break then headed back to the truck.
Lake Mills from above

On the way home, we stopped at Observation Point which offered a great view of Lake Mills several hundred feet below.

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