Today was our second day in Olympic National Park. We had a grueling 23 mile day--with all miles either going up or down--but ultimately were awarded with a campsite near natural hot springs.
Today's walk alternated between rarely used trails where we encountered no one and high density trails that felt like we were in a parade. For one of the high density trails, we walked along a road for a few miles which ended at the trail head. The trail head parking lot was full of cars, an overflow lot was even required for a Monday. The trail itself was steep but wide and paved. We had yet to see a trail so wide and clear. Due to its condition, we probably encountered thirty people on the short paved section--after a mile, the pavement ended and we saw no one. I wasn't surprised by the number of people due to the trail's accessibility, level of difficulty, and beauty. It was one of the most beautiful stretches of trail that we'd encountered yet.
Due to the high volume of people, both David and Rachel were critical of the trail. At one time I would have agreed with them, but now I support this type of trail. For the past seven weeks we have walked strenuous trails, seeing practically no one. We have traversed 100s of miles that seemed to be maintained solely for us. Now we are in a national park, crowded with people trying to easily see some of our country's natural treasures. As a national park, these treasures should be accessible. If someone gets frustrated by the crowds and ease of use, he could hike any of the other 1,000 miles we have hiked on this trip. Who cares if there are some places that people can invest just an afternoon and be able to experience something breathtaking?
Over the course of our trip, we have become accustomed with our style of travel--hiking everywhere. This mode has become so natural that we occasionally find ourselves being critical of any non-ambulatory mode of transit. It is easy to get immersed in our world, but I'm going to be realistic: If everyone lived like we are, we'd be in the middle ages.
Mount Angeles or some mountain adjacent to it.
Trails are very easy to follow in this National Park...a big relief from all our bushwhacking.
Another clear trail with some nice wildflowers.
Photo taken with camera resting on a log.
Enjoying a view.