Mt Stone '05 / Lake of the Angels, Olympic National Park, Aug 12, 2005 - Aug 13, 2005 page 1 / 39
Libby, Chris and Kevin were visiting family in Dallas and Tom was finishing a week-long bike trip with the Boy Scouts, so I headed to the hills for a quick return to Lake of the Angels. I had visited the lake a year earlier during a scout trip, but had not climbed Mt. Stone since 1994. I was anxious to try it again.
I hit the road about 8:30AM. I stopped in Hoodsport for current trail information, even though most of the trail is just outside the national park boundary. I was disappointed to discover that the Hoodsport Ranger Station had been closed. We had stopped at this facility for years prior to hikes in the southeastern Olympics! The building is now operated solely by volunteers who are able to provide very limited backcountry information. They can sell the Northwest Forest Parking Pass to those who need it as well.
Disgusted with the latest park service budget cuts, I continued the drive north on highway 101, then proceeded up the Hamma Hamma river road to the Putvin Way trail. I began my hike around 11:30AM. See the map.
Having hiked the trail many times before, I was aware just how steep it is, so I deliberately set a slow pace. The hike to the road crossing was uneventful. While hiking through the forest above the road I was often pestered by flies, though. I could not remember encountering so many flies while in the woods! I could barely stop to rest and grab a handful of trail mix without being swarmed by the nasty critters. As a consequence, my breaks were few and brief.
I arrived at the lake around 3:00PM to my surprise. Despite the short 3.5 mile hike, 3400 feet of elevation had been gained in just 3.5 hours. I guess the new lightweight gear I was carrying really helped!
I knew there were only a few good campsites near the lake, so I made a beeline for the site on the small bluff, near the lake's northwest side. I sat down on a rock to rest and eat. I noticed a couple across the lake at the water's edge. They seemed ready to depart, but were seated, enjoying a few more minutes of this heavenly location.