into the woods, and back out again

Lower Grey Wolf River trail

I was pretty excited about today’s hike, because I’ve mostly hiked out in the Cascades and the foothills east of here.  Going out to the peninsula and the Olympics was new.  It also involved a ferry ride, which necessitated getting up early.  I’m no longer a morning person, so 5 came pretty early this morning.  I got my pack together (complete with a thermos full of coffee) almost in time for K to show up.  I’m always glad when she doesn’t have to wait more than ten minutes for me.  (Clicking on pictures makes them bigger.)

We drove down to Edmonds, boarded the ferry, and headed upstairs for some hot chocolate.

All stairwells in all ferries look just like this.

All stairwells in all ferries look just like this.

Actually, this picture is us heading back down to the truck.  Anyway.

It was a longish drive out to the trailhead, and on the way we had to wait for the Hood Canal Bridge to do its thing to let some barges through.  I got a picture of the Olympics, though, so it was worth the wait.

hood canal view

We got to the trailhead at about 9:30 and were the first people there.  Which really means I cleared the spider webs from the trail for K and everyone else who showed up after we did.


The parking area didn’t look promising, but this turned out to be one of the prettiest hikes I’ve done in a long time.  The trail meandered through a meadow, then played peek-a-boo with the river: sometimes following the water, sometimes climbing up onto ridges just out of sight of the river.  I’ve never taken so many pictures on a hike before, and I’m only sharing a fraction of them here.

Grey Wolf River:




A charming little stream making its way to the river:


This picture doesn’t do it justice, but it looked just like something someone would pay to put in a very fancy garden.  The path right there had been shored up with a little rock wall, and here’s K:


We saw lots of plants I knew:

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts


Indian Paintbrush

False Soloman's Seal

False Soloman’s Seal

Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair Fern

Kinnikinnik (I think)

Kinnikinnik (I think)

Devil's Club

Devil’s Club

Figured out that I like Devil’s Club because it’s prickly, but actually very delicate and grows back slowly if damaged.  Kind of like some people I know.

We also saw rhododendrons, wild roses, columbine, and a bunch of mosses.  Should have known the names of the mosses, since Herr Baumgaertner taught them to me on our hike to Twin Falls, but I could only remember the snake moss.

Saw some new plants too:

Not actually new to me, but I don't know the name of it.

Not actually new to me, but I don’t know its name.




We also saw some wildlife!  We saw a deer on the road, but I couldn’t get a picture of her, and we saw this little guy:



We had to cross this bridge, which would have been more frightening if it had been at a height, or had anything scarier than a stream below:


We ate lunch by the river, on a mossy boulder.  I was happy to have my thermos:


And it was at this point that I realized that black yoga pants don’t hide mud any better than khaki hiking pants:


My backpack made a good leg-rest.

The hike back seemed a little extra long.  I mean, maybe it was, because there was a “loop” off the main trail, which we took and which involved a lot more mud and climbing and where I was nearly mauled by a beagle.  We figure we walked 7.5 miles (about 12 kilometers).  It’s the furthest we’ve walked in quite a while, so the truck was a welcome sight at the end.  I nearly fell asleep on the way back to the ferry and at this point I’m seriously doubting my ability to walk normally for the next few days.

I think a hot bath is in order.


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