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Monday, July 1, 2013

Wait... we have marmots?

So recently I read an article describing this hike as [paraphrasing] "If you can only do one hike in the Olympics, this is it". Since one of my Internet friends is planning on a touristy visit soon and loves hiking, I mentioned this place, aptly named "Marmot Pass", because I guess there are marmots! So, I also decided to try it myself, but I knew this was pretty much going to be beyond my current abilities. I love to hike, but I'm not a "hiker". I don't have all the gear, and I don't overnight camp. I knew 11 total miles would be hard, especially going up 3500 feet in the process, but I was trying to psyche myself up for it. "Just take lots of breaks" "You can do this!" because apparently the views at the end are incredible. Plus, I wanted to let my friend know how the hike was.

I was also going at it alone because [sad panda face] no one I know wants or can go with me. Mom was very worried for me, but I knew I would be okay. On the rape and murder scale, I figure Upper Big Quilcene Trail (the actual name) is about a 0. Why? Well, several reasons:

1. It's located in Olympic National Forest, so it requires at least a $5 day pass.
2. It's about a 20 mile drive from the nearest town (Quilcene) to the trailhead, on National Forest roads no less, which include a lot of one-way roads at a max of 30 MPH.
3. No rapist in his right mind would climb upwards of 3500 feet to do his deed.
4. There was no where to hide. The Quicene River was always to my left down an embankment, and to the right was the other side of the embankment. (This also meant no where to pee if need be!) Plus, it's a popular trail and I often ran into other hikers.

I'm not dumb, however. I'd never hike a place like Banner Forest alone. Besides the possibilty of bears (which has been an issue there in the past) it's a huge forest with many trails and lots of places to hide. It's depressing that I can't even hike at a popular place like Pt. Defiance Park either, though.

The hike itself was beautiful. I was in awe of the splendor. I got several shots of the river, many of which were not sutible for posting, but still okay pics. It was a well-made trail with only a few issues of slippery rocks or muddy paths. I did have to cross three creeks though, which made me incredibly glad that my hiking boots are water resistant! 
<---- this is one of them. There was no way to avoid getting your feet wet!

Well anyway, long story short, I didn't reach the end. When I finally decided to turn around 2.8 miles in, I was angry and disappointed in myself. I did have several reasons for doing so however, and by the time I was .5 miles heading back the way I'd come, I was extremely glad I'd turned around when I did.

I was very ill-prepared for this type of hike. I didn't think 5.6 miles one way would be that big of a deal - but I was wrong. I didn't pack enough food or water. Blisters were forming on the heels of my feet, and on the decent? Oh, that was even worse. I have hard-toe hiking boots, and my toes were being crushed. That seemed to hurt even worse than the blisters and made my decent (of probably around 1200 feet) incredibly slow. On top of that, I had to pee. And actually, that was the worst problem of all, because although I was thinking "okay, I have ways to combat these problems I'm having", I've got no solution for needing to pee. As I stated above, there's not a lot of privacy out here, at least in the first 2.8 miles. How could I, or anyone, possibly make it 11 whole miles?!

On the plus side, I splurged on these Zensah compression sleeves for my calves that I'd read would help with soreness recovery time, and they seem to be working wonders. Since my hike at Pinnacle Peak had me sore for a good 5 days, I thought I'd give these a shot. So far, they're basically a miracle. I have a muscle fatigue issue where the calf starts shaking uncontrollably and I feel as though I might collapse, which was almost a non-issue this time. Also, they kept my legs cool even though it was a good 80 degrees up there in the sun. I have a good feeling that I won't be sore nearly as long this time either. We will see!

I do want to try this hike again, but I obviously need better equipment and more training. I'm hoping hiking poles will take some of the stress off my toes on my decent. I also think I need to splurge on some good wool socks and mole skin for my heels or some kind of wrap. Once those problems are taken care of, I should be good to go!

PS - If anyone has any hiking tips, I'm more than open to suggestions!!


  1. The calf things sound good. A coupla times now (particularly after over-doing it) I've bitten the bullet and sat in a cold bath (absolutely horrible but helps a lot)

    The pictures you posted are beautiful. Shame you had no-one with you - they could've been your lookout while you did a 'wild wee'. Hiking with someone is always more fun if it can be managed.

    (yes to thick socks and hiking poles)

    1. Thanks for the comment! And yes, it is more fun! I need to find some people to hike with, but I also need to be able to finish a hike! I'd hate to invite someone along, promise beautiful views and say "welp, I can't make it!" lol I did this hike on Sunday, and along with keeping my protein up (which helps muscles recoup as they use the protein to rebuild themselves) the sleeves are helping a lot. I'm sore, but not overly so - as in, I'm not hobbling around like a pathetic wimp. So, so far so good! :)

  2. Ooooh don't give up. Seriously, I love to hike and miss it. We have tried to hike while carrying 45lbs of Boo on my back. Not quite as much fun. My husband always wants to get to the top. Me? I'm content with the hike. Usually about mile5 in I am ready to turn back. But then I always regret. it. You need better equipment (and toilet paper--trees are the new outhouses) and a buddy to go with to pass the pain, I mean time with.

    Oh, and I am with you if a rapist wants to hike 3500 feet then he is more than weird.