Saturday, September 30, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

The run was planned as a loop out of Sol Duc along the High Divide with a side trip to the summit of Mt. Carrie. Robert McIntosh and I took off Thursday afternoon and made it to the Sol Duc resort restaurant in time for dinner. We spent a restful night in his VW camper, except for one errant mouse, with Robert setting his alarm for 4:20 in the morning. Fortunately, he slept through the alarm and we woke at a more civilized 7:00. On the trail at 7:30, we made it about a mile before Robert realized he forgot his water, and ran back to get it. The weather was promising as we ran the 8 miles to Heart Lake where we broke into a beautiful open valley of heather and huckleberries and one bear. Instead of going to the right to the High Divide, we broke left on a trail that skirted Cat mountain with outstanding views of the Hoh river valley, however clouds covered Mt. Olympus and the Bailey Range. To thirds the way around Cat Mountain the trail ends, and the mountain goat scramble starts. A knife edge ridge with sick drops on both sides, called the Cat Walk, is the bridge to Mt. Carrie. Would have been more fun if it wasn't wet. There's no real trail up Mt. Carrie, mostly scrambling up rock and scree, through misty clouds. Our main concern was losing visibility on the way down, but it cleared up a bit at the summit. After a couple of photos, we started down and immediately got caught in a small blizzard. It cleared up quickly, but it was slow going down. When we reached the cutoff to the High Divide, it was obvious we would be finishing in the dark, so we headed back the same way and reached the car around 9. All in all a great trip, the open meadows, glaciers and steep drops were amazing. Best of all, there were zillions of perfectly ripe huckleberries. When I'm reincarnated, I want to be a bear living in the upper Sol Duc!