After being cooped up for way too long, we, Orion and I, decided to head out. Birthday is coming up on Sunday, but we thought better to go out during the week. We looked at the map and decided that Lake Quinalt, in the southwest corner of Olympic National Park would be a good target.
Headed out on I-5 at 7am until we hit Tumwater. I had intended to turn west earlier but missed some turnoffs. Anyway, west to Aberdeen and then north on US-101 to Quinalt. Took a little over 4 hours. On the way back we took 101 south until we met the Columbia River and then hugged the north shore, back to I-5 at Longview, and then back home. Got back 10:30pm. Love these long summer days! When I left Lake Quinalt I considered going on to Hoh rainforest, only 50 miles away. For another day though. Temps for most of the drive up were in the 60’s and 70’s with some drizzle as I dodged around mountain ranges. Once I got into the valley around the lake temps were in the 80’s and it was pretty dry overall. I want to come back when it’s wetter, and more rain-foresty. At least I have a good idea of what it takes to get here.
Quinalt Lake has some resort cabins and inns, nothing fancy. Spotty cell service. Best bring your own food if you want to eat healthy. The lake is nice, clear, and swimmable. There are South and North Shore Roads along the shore. They meet further up the Quinalt river, which feeds the lake. The north road is less populated and has hiking trails off it. Aside from serendipitous walks along logging trails, lake parks, and forest meadows, I only took one “official” hike. That was to Lake Irely, about 2.2 miles round trip. It’s a bog lake at the upper end of the glacier-carved valley, which has Lake Quinalt at the lower end.
Along the North Shore Road, just before it splits at the bridge to the South Shore Road, there were several fields of huge ferns, out in the open, unshaded by trees. This section was significant enough that the road was paved, instead of gravel.
Traveled light on my hikes, even though the car was loaded with gear. A collapsible canoe would have been nice for paddling on the lake. Could have taken the kayak, just don’t like to take long trips with it. And, it covers up the sunroof 🙂 Used the Garmin InReach to keep SJ updated via satellite texting.
Here are the pictures. You should maximize the slide viewer (in the top left corner) to properly appreciate them. These were taken with a Nikon D5300 and a OnePlus 5 phone. The pictures are in high resolution and take a few seconds to load. You can click on the “+” in the top left corner to zoom in. The HDR on the One Plus works well – it’s crazy how some of my phone pics come out better than the Nikon’s.