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Mt Ellinor '04,  Olympic National Park,  June 12, 2004     page 1 / 15

I was itching to go hiking again. Libby and the boys were out of town, so I had the perfect opportunity to head for the hills. I was recovering from a long string of work days, so I decided not to try anything too ambitious. Rather, I ended up returning to Mt Ellinor, on the southeast corner of the Olympic National Park. The forecast was for a sunny morning, with broken clouds developing in the afternoon. I made an early start and was at the trailhead by 8:45AM (elevation 3500 feet).

The trail gets your heart pumping fast right from the start, as it ascends quickly through the forest. I reached the first bit of snow around 4400 feet. Shortly thereafter I passed the fork in the trail. The sign points left for the summer route and right for the winter route. The winter route follows a long snow chute up to an elevation of 5700 feet, or so. It is not considered technical, though I was certainly glad to have an ice axe along, as were several of the other hikers.

The clouds had developed very early in the day, and I had been hiking through them since I left the car. The trail is easy to follow, even in the fog, due to its popularity, and the resulting tracks in the snow. The first portion of the chute narrows until one must hike up a small creek bed.

Looking down the foggy creek bed, one cannot see far