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Royal Basin,  Olympic National Park,  September 11, 2011     page 1 / 46

For several years, I've taken some vacation time in September to head into the hills for extended backpacking trips. This year was to be no exception. Unfortunately, in August, I developed a medical condition which prevented me from doing so. I did a few challenging day hikes with Libby and thoroughly enjoyed them. Despite sharing the time with her, I also enjoyed the time in the hills alone; the freedom of hiking on my own schedule. Early days, and plenty of mileage didn't bother me. So I developed a plan: Do several day hikes with car camping each evening.

I decided on three days of hiking, in the Olympic National Park, one of my favorite destinations. The first day was to Royal Basin and back, described in the following pages. The second day was a steep climb up Mt Townsend. Finally, on day three I hiked from Obstruction Peak to Grand Pass. Each night I camped next to the car. All I needed for the hikes was some food, water, map, and camera. That and a few other essentials kept my day pack weight low, so I could fly along the trail!

I left the house just before 7:00am, arriving at the Dungeness River trailhead Sunday morning about two hours later. The air was crisp, so I began the hike wearing a jacket. I knew it wouldn't be long before I'd warm up enough to remove it, though. I quickly made it past the trail junction, taking care to stay to the right, to follow the Royal Creek trail.

Royal Creek, upstream of the Dungeness River junction