Hiking Mt. Ellinor
| January 28, 2017 |
Another September weekend of adventure brought me to Skokomish Valley for my friend’s surprise birthday camping party! We headed to Hip Camp for a weekend of riverside relaxation, eating BBQ chips, and telling stories by the campfire. Who could ask for more from a group of friends?
I followed this up by a sunrise hike to Mount Ellinor! I rose early in the morning to make it to the trail and finally summit the quintessential Olympic Peninsula hike. I had heard stories of its glorious views and steep path…
I really loved our setup at Hip Camp. There was a giant tarp overhanging a the fire pit with various logs and sofas creating a homey sitting area. It was located right next to the river so we could wander down to skip rocks and watch the dogs fetch sticks in the water. Correction: Bowie would bark at Millie to get the stick in the water, Millie would bring it to shore, and Bowie would proceed to take the stick from Millie. It was a sight to see!
I also attempted fly fishing for the first time. The sound as I flicked the fly into the water was mesmerizing and meditative. I think I’d like to give it another go some day 🙂
Length: 6.2 miles, roundtrip (from lower trail head*)
Elevation Gain: 3,300 feet
Highest Point: 5,944 feet
Location: Olympic Peninsula – Hood Canal (click to see map)
Parking Pass/Entry Fee: Northwest Forest Pass
I was THRILLED to finally do this hike! I woke around 6:30am to head to the lower trailhead of Mount Ellinor. Once I arrived, I confidently started the hike through a forest, and quickly realized I had no idea which way to go. Nobody else was around to help me, so I went back to look at the map. I thought, hmmm… maybe I have to walk on the road for a bit? So, I walked on the road. For about 8 minutes. With no additional trail head.
Oh goodness… What are you doing, Kristen?
I turned back around toward my car and reevaluated the map at the “lower trail head” (or what I thought was?). As I was really not confident, I decided to drive up a little further and begin at the upper trailhead. ‘Twas a good decision! I wanted to get a quick, sweaty workout in this morning, and the 3.2-mile round-trip hike to from the upper portion was just what I needed. My favorite part was undoubtedly the 2,444 feet of elevation of gain in 1.6 miles leading to the summit. I’ve always loved uphills, even when running cross country in high school. I’m always thinking, “Eyes up, spirits up,” and climbing my way up… up… and away.
As I continued the climb, the sky turned from blue-ish to a hazy, cloudy mess! Lake Cushman completely disappeared behind the clouds the further I ascended and, at the summit, I was completely engulfed in clouds. Other hikers began appearing at the summit, disappointed by the lack of a view. For some reason, I knew it was wise to wait. I just knew a view was in the cards that day.
So, a few of us waited… and waited…
When I looked to my right, there it was: MOUNT RAINIER. The majestic beauty was emerging behind the thick clouds in a holy display! In another half hour, more peaks began to appear in the distance… it was miraculous, and I’m so grateful I decided to stay for the views.