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Mt Carrie, Cat Peak, Cat Lake,  Olympic National Park,  Sep 21, 2009 - Sep 25, 2009     page 1 / 80

This year I had eleven days of vacation at the end of September. I was anxious to get into the hills, but did not decide where to go until about two weeks prior to the trip. Eventually, I decided to return to the Bailey Range. While the trip Tom and I had done in 2007 was grueling, it was also extremely gratifying. Having seen photos of the area in the fall, I knew it would look considerably different than when we had previously visited.

I began making lists of gear and food I would need to take. I shopped while I was home and began building piles of the gear and food in our house. It looked like a lot of food, but I wanted to be ready for eight days in the hills. Tom and I had used up nearly all of our food on our previous trip, and I wanted not to cut it quite that close.

Rather than do a car shuffle, as we had done before, I chose to enter and exit via the Sol Duc River and the Catwalk. While this would require longer time on tough terrain, I considered it a reasonable trade off.

I got my gear packed and headed north on Monday, the 21st of September. I was on the trail by 11:00am. The weather forecast was for clear skies for at least a week. The sun was shining, though it was cool in the old growth forest.

I quickly made it to Sol Duc Falls. I took a very brief look, then continued up the hill, along the Sol Duc trail. I stopped briefly at Sol Duc Camp 1 for a quick bite to eat. No sooner did I take off my pack, and I heard the bugle of an elk. Very cool! I hoped that I would see plenty of those majestic animals on this trip.

I hiked swiftly in the cool forest air. I reached Bridge Creek and found that the bridge had collapsed. I have a photo of Kevin sitting on this bridge from 2007. Fortunately, the creek was quite small this late in the season, so the bridge was unnecessary.

Broken Bridge at Bridge Creek