PNT day 64 – Hayden Pass & Elwha River Trail


Dose Meadows Camp (1071.4) to Mary’s Falls Camp (1089.3)

17.9 miles

It was around 5 am when I had to leave my tent for a bathroom break. I couldn’t believe I had been sleeping like a stone the whole night. Back in I curled up in my sleeping bag again. Way too soon it was 7 but I couldn’t get up. My legs and arms were too heavy! And Nate has kind of “infected” me by telling me that he would be around camp until past lunch. I wanted to stay just a little bit longer…

It was finally quarter to eight when I left my sleeping bag and began with my morning chores. Nate came over for a chat while I was packing up. It was nine when I finally hit the trail.

From Dose Meadows Camp the trail went up and across a mountain meadow before I had to climb Hayden Pass – my last mountain pass for this season. Climbing up across meadows and through trees I told myself again and again that it was the last time. It didn’t make things easier.

After a while I could see Hayden Pass well above me and the final switchbacks going up the mountain side. It was far from being as steep as the passes I had done the day before. My climb up was sweetened by some of the best Huckleberries I had on this trip. The mountain side was full with them!

I turned around the last switchback and under the grace of Sentinel Peak climbed up to the top of Hayden Pass. There was not much on the pass and the trail went straight down again. Nevertheless I dropped my pack and sat down in the shade to admire the beautiful mountain scenery one last time.

I was thankful two be here while I watched two eagles gliding in the thermal upwinds. I was thankful for the good weather of the last days and the chance to climb safely over all these mountains. I didn’t take it for granted.

One last time my eyes went across the mountains in the distance, the beautiful alpine valley, the perfect color combination of different greens, brown and a bright blue sky. Then I shouldered my backpack again and started descending down through a burned area. If at all possible this burned area was the most scenic providing some stunning views of distant snow covered peaks including Mount Olympus.

I descended down towards the Elwha River and I realized that it was a very long but gentle descent. Slowly the landscape around me changed and the burned trees turned into a healthy and lush green forest with big trees and moss covered grounds. Once the biggest part of the descent was done the trail followed the Elwha River although I didn’t see the river itself for a long time. The trail mostly stayed away from the river and went through forest or jungle-like underbrush.

I passed a few campsites, an old cabin and unmanned ranger stations until I finally arrived at Mary’s Falls Camp. I knew that it was the destination of Adventure Muffin and it worked out for me as it was already 6:30. Time to settle down and enjoy a relaxed evening around the camp fire!

4 replies
  1. Rae Morris
    Rae Morris says:

    Perplexed as to “why” I’m reading September 5, 2019 posts when it’s not even that date yet? Are those really huckleberries or are they blueberries? Sure look like blueberries.

    • lifetimetrails
      lifetimetrails says:

      Oh! I think that is because my website is on a European time zone. Sorry for the confusion! Good to know that those are blueberries – I am always confused and cannot tell the difference. But does it really matter? As long as they taste good…


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