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Appleton Pass-Cat Lake Traverse,  Olympic National Park,  Sep 8, 2008 - Sep 12, 2008     page 1 / 71

September is a wonderful time for hiking. Warm days, cool nights and few bugs are common. The fall colors are seen in the hills and there are typically fewer people in the backcountry. This September was no disappointment.

In some Septembers I have embarked on solo trips into the hills. This year, however, I asked my Dad to join me for a five day trip. We pored over maps and decided upon a loop trip in the northern part of the Olympic National Park.

We would begin our trip at the Sol Duc river trailhead. To avoid excessive climbing, we made our first couple of days short. Our first day consisted of a hike up the Sol Duc river trail to Sol Duc Camp 4.

After a leisurely morning, we hit the road. We made a quick stop in Port Angeles for our camping permit, then continued our drive to the trailhead, arriving around 12:30 PM. It was great to return to the spot Tom and I had begun our 65-mile trek through the Bailey Range in 2007. I wondered what glorious views and experiences we would encounter on this trip.

We laced up the boots and started hiking. The first mile is nearly flat, allowing us to quickly reach the Canyon Creek Shelter at Sol Duc Falls. Incidentally, this is one of only 22 shelters in or near the park considered historically significant enough to maintain for future generations. Unfortunately, many other shelters, including those at Low Divide and Upper Duckabush have not been found as worthy, despite being in locations much more deserving of backcountry shelters.

Canyon Creek Shelter