Day 3: Press Expedition wades through mountains

EDITOR”S NOTE: This is the third dispatch from Roger Harnack, Peninsula Daily News’ local news editor. Packing a laptop computer and satellite telephone, he is sending back daily reports from the 12-person, five-day, 46-mile “Across the Olympic Mountains” expedition to Lake Quinault this week. His full reports appear each day in the Peninsula Daily News. Click on “Subscribe” to order your PDN delivered to your home or office.

LOW DIVIDE, Olympic National Park — Day 3 — It’s still raining.

And everyone is wet and cold.

The trails to Low Divide were muddy, and two days of rain has swelled many of the creeks crossing the trail.

Walking through them is more akin to wading a flash flood than hiking.

We were also pounded by waterfalls from uphill runoff as we trudged up switchbacks on the lower flanks of Mount Seattle.

Through the mists and curtains of rain you could look back across the raging Elwha River to stands of dense green forest.

You feel enormously isolated.

By late Wednesday afternoon, as we reached Low Divide, the highest point of our trek (3,662 feet) and about 31 miles from our starting point Monday at the Whiskey Bend Trailhead, we were drenched.

There’s a small ranger’s cabin just below Low Divide, about the size of a hotel room. It has two bunks and a wood-burning stove.

We borrowed it for a few hours and took turns, in small groups, drying our clothes next to the stove.

Our group isn’t a bunch of mountaineers up for an Olympic version of “Survivor.”

We’re 10 journalists, a tourism executive and a park ranger accompanied by a chef and packers with horses and mules hauling our tents, gourmet food and other supplies.

City folks. Tenderfeet. And things are a bit tougher than we expected.

More in News

The Port Angeles School District is expected to sell its former administrative services building to Olympic Medical Center in February. (Paul Gottlieb/Peninsula Daily News)
Olympic Medical Center buying school’s site

Building across from courthouse

Kathy Ryan checks on salad greens at the Quimper Grange food-bank garden, one of 10 plots that provided thousands of pounds to local food banks last year. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Food bank gardens in a growth spurt

Expansion in works for Food Bank Farm Gardens

One place where COVID-19 testing is available in Port Angeles is the Olympic Medical Center drive-up testing facility at the former Wells Fargo Bank at Front and Race streets. Intake forms must be filed out before testing is done. The form can be found at (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
Peninsula COVID-19 cases grow by 407 over weekend

Peak expected in about two weeks

Navy plans security exercise

Naval Magazine Indian Island will conduct security training exercises… Continue reading

Vacancy opens on board formerly known as SARC

The Clallam County Park & Recreation District No. 1 has… Continue reading

Sequim’s Kiwanis Club disbands, joins Port Angeles group

Last grants support local organizations

DOT cancels overnight Hood Canal Bridge closures for fourth time

New closures set for next week; if those are canceled, disruption will be scheduled for following week

Mark Willis enjoys a day at the beach with granddaughter Bryn in 2020. (Willis/Harrington family)
Former Sequim schools administrator recovering after strokes

The family of a fixture of Sequim schools is raising… Continue reading

Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro.
Work plan for Port Townsend lacks workers

Staffing, bidding a challenge

Most Read