Pacific Northwest - Day 3 - Olympic Natl. Park - Sol Duc, Lake Cresent
Olympic National Park Travel Blog› entry 956 of 1090 › view all entries
Today we had two different sections of the Great Olympic National Park on our menu.
1) Sol Duc Valley
See it here on the map. Sol Duc is a 126-km (78-mile) long river in the park. The name should not be pronounced like in French, which I tend to do, but like Sole Duck. The section around the river is most famous for its hot springs. We had planned these as a plan B if the weather would be unpleasant. But, to our pleasant surprise the weather was just great! So we stuck to our plan A being visiting the Sol Duc Falls.
2) Lake Cresent
See it here on the map. Lake Cresent is 15-km (9-mile) long lake in the northern section of the park. It is in a valley that was once shaped by a glacier. This makes the lake very deep. Official measurements indicated 190 meters (624 feet), unofficial measurements go as far as 300 meters (900 ft). The lake's water is very low on nitrogen which makes it difficult for plants and algae to grow, making the water incredibly clear and deep blue.
Today we would make our first substantial hike. A very substantial hike as we later learnt, the hike to Mount Storm King, a mountain next to the lake. For me the second Storm King to hike. I had climbed (the much lower (410 meters)) Storm King Mountain in New York several times. The Storm King in Olympic is way higher (1372+ meters (4500+ ft)). A trail is maintained for the first 3.1 kilometers (1.9 miles) to an altitude of about 700 meters (2300 ft), after that it is rock scrambling. That first part is already quite a work-out. One ascends about 400 meters in 2.5 kilometers (1300 ft in 1.5 mile). The rock scramble initially looked easy but was pretty tricky, with steeps abysses. At some point the rocks became very steep. Fortunately someone had installed climb ropes that provided the needed support. We reached an elevation of about 775 meters (2550 ft) and then decided to return. The views were magnificent. We could see as far as Vancouver Island Canada, which is a small 100 kilometers to the north.
More pictures below!