Eight Stream Bridge
North Fork Skokomish Trail 5/4/13
North Fork Skok Trail 5/4/13
NE Face of First Divide from Home Sweet Home June 2012
- Rating: moderate to difficult
- Route: The drive from Olympia North to the Duckabush River TH off Hwy 101 will take 2-3 hours because we need to leave a vehicle at Staircase Ranger Station (exit point).
- Gear:In addition to 10 essentials and overnight camping gear the following items are required
- Teva sandals or other suitable footwear for fording rivers
- Ice axe
- Backcountry Permit (available at TH)
- Gaiters and Gore-Tex shoes are recommended.
- Carpool: Rendezvous at 9:00 AM - Westside Olympia Food Coop. We will carpool from the Coop to trailhead at Duckabush River with a side trip to Staircase to deposit a vehicle. We leave on time and do not wait.
- Please bring $15 -25 cash per person to reimburse drivers and pay for permits and entrance fees.
- Links: How to ford a river w/ John E Hiker http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XbRRD6zewk
- Backcountry Permit required ($6.00 per person)
- NW Forest Pass required for vehicle(s) @ Duckabush TH
- No dogs allowed in National Park
Disclaimer: We will be in the wilderness. Serious injury or death can occur. We are not professional guides nor do we claim to be experts. It is not our responsibility to get you to the listed destination. We hike at our own pace. By attending this hike you are assuming responsibility for your own personal safety and we will not be held responsible.
UPDATE: (5/6/13) An exploratory trip up the Skokomish River revealed extensive trail damage with many trees toppled across the trail (see photos). A phone conversation with the Park revealed their trail crew will NOT be clearing the Duckabush or Skokomish River trails before June at the earliest. The Forest Service reported their trail crew has cleared the Duckabush Trail up to the Park boundary (six miles).
Therefore, participants should be prepared for a fairly "athletic" hike requiring many small detours and much squirming over, under, and around fallen trees. In addition, I am adding some group gear that participants will be asked to take turns carrying including a lightweight hatchet, bow saw, and some rope.
One of my favorite early-season treks through the SE Olympic Mountains for about 33 miles. We begin hiking 17.6 miles up the Duckabush River. Next we climb up and over First Divide (4688') and down into the Skokomish River valley. Then out to Staircase RS along the North Fork Skokomish River. There are two obstacles along this route.
• Spring ford of the Duckabush River - A challenging ford in May at least 60' wide with swift water over knee deep. See photo below.
• Climb over First Divide - Totally snow-covered in May (see photo above). Ice axe required. If you've ever slogged up to Panorama Point or Camp Muir on Mt Rainier than you can probably climb the 500' NE face of First Divide. It's an easy climb if you are comfortable on snow and crampons are NOT ALLOWED. On the other hand, if you've never used an ice axe or practiced the self-arrest than this hike is not for you.
This trip is NOT recommended for novice hikers. Participants will be required to sign a liability waiver at the trailhead. Guests are not allowed on this event - you must be a member to join us.
DAY01 - 10m / Duckabush TH - 10-mile Camp 5/24/13
DAY02 - 7.6m /10m Camp - Upper Duck Camp 5/25/13
DAY03 - 5.6m / Upper Duck - Nine Stream Camp 5/26/13
DAY04 - 10m / 9 Stream - Staircase TH 5/27/13
What you can expect
• Duckabush River ford - This is a serious crossing in springtime. The river will be fast-moving, sixty feet wide, cold, and at least knee deep. For a thorough explanation of river fords on video see enclosed link
- Duckabush River Crossing 7/5/11 - will be deeper in May
• DAY03 will be in snow (no trail) throughout the day and the group will hike together.
• Low avalanche danger in late May
• A true wilderness experience (unlikely to see other campers)
• Long days - only a month to solstice!
• Bear wires at all campsites
• Success!! Event Host has crossed First Divide multiple times in spring snow conditions.