Saltwater Creek

A few time a year a handful of my buddies like to get together to hit the outdoors with cameras and other gear in hand. It really doesn’t matter where we meet, Washington is full of beauty, but in this case we elected to meet at Saltwater Creek Recreation County Park. That’s a mouth full but it’s worth it. Located west of Port Angeles and on the Strait of Juan de Fuca it has to be one of my favorite parks.

Not only does the park have a ton to offer in it’s own right; it’s heavy wooded, has private campsites, multiple trails, and beach access, but it sets you up for a great jumping off point to the Olympics. In addition there’s the rich history of the area which you can explore in the Joyce Museum.

I arrived a day early, but eventually Matt and Brad showed up to share the campfire and adventure. We were a bit all over the board when it came to our camps; from my glamping Lance 1757 to Brad sleeping in the back of his civic. But really we weren’t in camp much with the exception of in the evenings.

Okay, this might be a slight exaggeration when I compare the Obstruction Point drive to Bolivia’s death road, but not by much. Or at least, not in some sections where you have a drop of hundreds of feet with no room to pass an oncoming car. Just ask my passengers!
It takes a lot of rainfall to keep this rain forest green.

Elwha River

I took off a day early so had some time to do some exploring solo while I waited for the rest of the group. The removal of the lower damn on the Elwha River made national news but I hadn’t had a chance to check out since the removal.

Looking at the topo map I released that there was a second bridge closer to the mouth that I was unaware of. I’ve been coming out here for over 20 years and never released its existence. Map in hand I took off to see if there might be a good photo op at the bridge.

I was totally awed by what I found. Not only was their a vehicle deck but suspended below it was a pedestrian bridge as well. The fall colors lined both banks and there were some massive log jams down river that were very photogenic. I imagine this place is stunning no matter the season. If you’re in the area it’s well worth a side trip to get out there

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Hurricane Ridge

As part of my solo day I also took drive up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park. This is a very popular destination with incredible views of both Port Angels and the heart of the Olympic Mountain Range. I’ve been here a handful of times bringing out of town guests, but I had never really noticed the narrow double track with the sign announcing Obstruction Point 9 miles. Probably to busy chatting. I noticed it now but decided to wait for the crew to show up and explore together.

Next day we rode up in the late afternoon. We were opening to catch a sunset as well as check out where this gravel rode led. I’ve seen many a show on the Bolivia Death Road with its narrow track and sheer drop offs. This felt every bit as intimidating as I’ve seen. Just ask Brad who was having multiple heart attacks in the back seat. Not a drive for the fate of heart but worth it.

Not only does the end of the road give you access to multiple trail heads that lead of to various mountain lakes, but the views here are even more stunning the Hurricane Ridge if that’s possible. If you’ve got a beefy suspension you should give it a try.

Steve Weileman

I've been lucky enough to have some of my work featured on CNN, Outside TV and, National Geographic. Join me as I continue to both learn the art of film-making and document the exciting new modern world of citizen-science. His work has been featured on CNN, National Geographic, and OutsideTV, as well as numerous local outlets.

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