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New Meetup: Winter Backpack Trip - Duckabush

From: Ryan M.
Sent on: Saturday, January 10, 2009 5:10 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Pacific Northwest Backpackers!

What: Winter Backpack Trip - Duckabush

When: January 31,[masked]:00 PM

Where: Click the link below to find out!

Meetup Description: Hike Type: Out and Back
Distance: 22 miles (less depending on snow)
Duration: 2 Days
Departure: Friday Jan 30,[masked]:00pm (noon)
Return: Sunday Feb 1, 2009 (late afternoon)
Starting Elevation: 400 feet
High Elevation: 1800 feet
Elevation Gain: ~2,000 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Hikers Allowed: Novice to Experienced
Location: Duckabush Wilderness (Olympic Rainshadow)
Dogs: Yes
Hazards: Winter camping, bears (unlikely), unexpected lowland snow, possible couple miles of night hiking Friday
Cost: Split gas cost with driver(s), Ferry

The Duckabush River follows a long and remote valley deep into the heart of the southeastern Olympics. Its lower reaches flow through the Brothers Wilderness. The trail begins on an old road grade that climbs steadily through the forest to reach the top of Little Hump. It enters The Brothers Wilderness here, then constricts into a narrow path as it descends onto the flats that border the north bank of the Duckabush. The forest that occupies these floodplains is the lowest elevation plant community in the easter Olympics to be protected from logging, and it displays an astonishing diversity of species. The trail swings close to the water's edge, then crosses a series of gravel washes to reach the base of Big Hump. The trail turns inland here to begin the long climb out of this unusual terrain feature. The trail snakes northward through the forest, then steepens into a series of tight hairpins that drive up the hillside. There are several openings during the course of the climb that allow views of the Duckabush Valley. The best view is from a dome of bedrock high on the shoulder of Big Hump, which faces the craggy buttresses of St. Peter's Dome. The trail continues upward for a short time, then begins a long descent through a dense second growth forest. At the bottom of the grade a rather steep path drops to the riverside tent sites of Fivemile Camp. We'll make camp here Friday night. Fivemile Camp is set amid tall red cedars and Douglas firs.

Saturday morning we'll break camp and continue up the trail. The trail passes the foot of a talus slope and then reaches the base of an enormous outcrop of metamorphic rock. At the foot of this outcrop a short spur track runs to a rocky overlook at the water's edge. The Duckabush, fresh from a tumultuous passage through the rocky cleft, pours into a deep and quiet pool. The trail then surmounts the rocky obstacle, with is wall of rock soaring 100 feet overhead and a mossy, rounded face sloping away to the river below. Upon returning to the the bottom lands, the trail follows the river, which slides lazily amid bars of bleached cobbles. The trail follows into the brushy forest and continues to Tenmile Camp where we'll spend Saturday night. After setting up camp, we'll explore the area and possibly continue up the trail until we find snow.

Sunday morning we'll break camp and make our way 10.7 miles back to the trailhead.

1.1 Miles - Top of Little Hump
4.0 Miles - Top of Big Hump
5.1 Miles - Spur to Fivemile Camp
10.7 Miles - Tenmile Camp

- Expect wet weather - pack at least 2 sets of warm dry clothing. Store clothing and sleeping bag in waterproof bags.
- We'll pack several lightweight tarps to build shelters out of in case of rain.
- Bring a quality tent. Let me know if I need to pair you up with someone for sleeping.
- Expect roaring campfires at night! :-)
- Due to sunset times, expect that the last few miles Friday will be in the dark - bring headlamps with good batteries.

Winter Backpacking is a lot of fun but requires keeping your wits about you, paying attention to what you're doing more than usual (wet slippery ground). Please let me know if you have any questions.

** Lowland snow will cancel trip **


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