Saturday, August 22, 2009

Humes Ranch Hike

This was absolutely a perfect day in the Pacific Northwest with temperatures in the upper 60s, sunshine and bright blue skies.  We could not have asked for a better day for our hike upstream along the Elwha River.

We jumped in the car with Tony and Diana this morning and made our way up the narrow, single-lane gravel road all the way to the end.  We made one  stop along the way at Glines Canyon Dam.  Gene and I had seen it earlier in the week, but wanted to share this beautiful spot with our friends.  This dam, along with another one closer to the mouth of the river, is scheduled to be removed in 2011.  This major project being undertaken by the National Park Service is an effort to restore the entire Elwha River to the spawning salmon.

Goblins Gate, a slot canyon
By connecting the Geyser Trail and the Elwha River Trail we were able to create of loop for our easy to moderate 6.5 mile hike.  We started high above the river, then dropped down several hundred feet for a mile or so along the bank of the river, then back up to the Humes Ranch.  Mr Humes and his brother and a cousin came out from New York heading to Alaska during the gold rush.  They stopped here for the winter and never left.  The house has been restored by the park service and it is a popular place for a lunch break as we soon found out when we were inundated by several hikers also looking for a lunch spot.  After a refreshing break, we continued our gradual uphill climb back to the truck.
Humes Cabin
As luck would have it, we met a ranger who spent several minutes talking with us about the Humes’ brothers and shared pictures of the homestead as well as visitors to the area around the turn of the last century.  Apparently at that time, this was the main climbing route up Mount Olympus and Mr Humes  and others led hikers up the mountain.

Besides all this information, the ranger also gave us information on the best places to get Dungeness Crab and blackberry milkshakes.  It didn’t take us long to decided a blackberry shake would be just the ticket to round out our otherwise perfect day.
A llama pack just returning from a trip
We are going to give our feet and knees a break tomorrow and take the opportunity to launder the hiking clothes.

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