1000 Acre Meadow Trek
July 13-17, 2008
Crew Members: Ben B (13 yrs), Kitt M.(18)yrs), Casey P. (17yrs) Old Goats: Mitch Berndt, Tony Kennish
Day 1 Trailhead to Dose Fork:7 miles
Rolled out of the gravel lot early heading for breakfast at The Tides in Holiday Beach, north of the town of Hoodsport. Arrived at the TH at 9:15 AM. Hot and sunny. Made the 5.5 mile hike along the old road to Muscott Flatts campground about 11:45 for lunch and a rest. Into camp at Dose Forks at 1:45 PM. Set up tents and everyone took a nap with the incessant muffled roar of white water in the background.
Ben made dinner of teriyaki beef with rice and tortillas–only one pot to wash!. Fig Newton cookie bars for dessert.
Day 2 Dose Forks to Bear Camp: 9.5 miles
Up at 6:10 AM for BYO (BoilYerOwn) breakfast. Clear skies, cooling morning and on the trail by 7:40AM. Arrived at Deception Creek at 10:40AM for lunch and naps, resting for about 2 hours. We resumed hiking by 12:50 PM and pulled into Bear Camp by 3:15 PM. As the trail gained elevation and moved up river, we left the forest zones and entered several large brushy meadows. This was a little disconcerting as bear scat was common along the trail, and the brush was dense and high enough to restrict your vision.
Mitch made cheesey rice with chicken and a side of mandarin oranges. Snickers bars for dessert. Kitt and Casey slept in the Bear Camp Shelter; the rest pitched tents. In bed by 7:45PM after a long day.
Day 3 Bear Camp to 1000 Acre Meadow: 4.1 miles plus side trips
Up about 6:10AM, had to wake Kitt and Casey. Another BYO breakfast , with a cool morning that warmed up once the sun found us. Hit the trail by 8:00AM. Zones of patchy forest and brushy meadows into Dose Meadows. Lots of marmots here. Saw signs of Kitt and Casey, but they had continued on ahead past the junction with the Lost Pass way trail, up towards Hayden Pass. Tony, Ben and Mitch misplaced the trail leaving Dose Meadows and found it half way up the hill. Caught up with Kitt and Casey at the big switchback heading for Hayden Pass. They had already scrambled up the slopes to the NE and found 1000 Acre Meadow and came back. We all left our packs 100 yards off trail, stuffed lunch and water bottles in our pockets, and headed to the Pass about 10:30AM.
A demanding hike up long switchbacks, exposed to the sun and across numerous snow fields. Good to have light-colored long-sleeved shirts handy! Made Hayden Pass after about an hour of hiking for lunch and views of the Elwah valley, Mount Olympus and the Bailey Range, and back down the Dosewallips River. Only 20 minutes back to the packs! To find 1000 Acre Meadow, we had to bushwhack straight uphill through marmot heaven, then across a spongy meadow saturated with snowmelt. At 1000 Acre Meadow, the ground was covered with 2” tall woody stemmed plants. Full 360 degree views of the surrounding peaks and across the Dosewallips valley to Lost Peak. A creek cutting through the center of the meadow was lined with trees and provided a place to put up a bear line.
Ben and Mitch hiked around the meadow and saw a black bear about 400 yards away….Close enough! We all picked Avalanche Lilies for a dinner salad (Tony packed French dressing nearly 20 miles for this culinary opportunity.) Tony made Spotted Dog for dinner, along with cheese and crackers and pudding for dessert. Patches of snow provided the refrigerator and lots of ice cold water for drinking. There was a beautiful sunset behind Mt Fromme. Kitt and Casey slept out under the stars.
Day 4 1000 Acre Meadow to Deception Creek: 6 miles plus side trips
Up at 6:10AM to light dewfall on the tents and sleeping bags and a chilly breeze blowing across shaded snowfields. But as soon as the sun rose over the eastern rim, it warmed nicely. Yet another BYO breakfast and on trail by 8:30AM (later every day!). We bushwhacked our way back to the trail by 9AM and had an easy downhill hike to Dose Meadows under beautiful clear skies. Met NPS Backcountry Ranger Bruce at Dose Meadows. He talked Kitt and Casey into taking a side hike up to Lost Pass and Mitch tagged along. The side-trippers agreed on a 1 PM return time to Dose Meadows. Tony and Ben chose to head on down to Deception Creek to camp.
Took 35 minutes to make the steep climb to Lost Pass, less than a mile, but mostly UP. More great views and a great place for lunch. Mitch headed back down while Kitt and Casey couldn’t resist more climbing up a shoulder of Lost Peak. Left Dose Meadow by 1PM for a 2 hour hike down to Deception Creek and its bear rigging and outhouse.
We camped next to the creek and made a great campfire. That wood smoke is wonderful. Casey made Spanish Rice and corned beef for dinner. About 7:50PM, Ranger Bruce came hiking through the campsite and said he’d been called in for a missing person at the TH. He had hiked up to Hayden Pass and 1000 Acre Meadow and came down and was passing us in a single day. Apparently a mentally unstable lady had gotten herself lost on a hike. Not only that, she was packing an ice axe. Stories of waking up with someone purring in your ear holding an ice axe prompted Casey to break out the bear spray to sleep with.
Day 5 Deception Creek to Trailhead: 14.8 miles
Up about 6:30AM for another BYO breakfast. The beautiful weather and our lighter packs sent us flying down the trail about 8:30AM. Passed a pack mule train on the trail going up to resupply a NOLS party of backpackers who were out for thirty days. We also met up with Ranger Bruce again, as he was stopped on the trail doing containment for the missing person just upstream of Dose Forks. Made it down to Muscott Flats about 1145AM, hot and tired, having done about 9.8 miles so far.
Ben had half a dozen small blisters to treat and everyone was a little sore. It was noon and still 5.5 miles to the TH with nothing special to do.The base camp for the pack mule train was next door–a bit fragrant and buggy, so we decided to head for the truck instead of staying another night. Started down about 1:50PM. Ben and Mitch were Tail End Charlie and made it to the truck by 4:30PM. Here we found the worst mosquitoes on the whole trip–they just ate us up while we changed into clean clothes for the ride home.
Instead of Kitt’s well-travelled SPAM and cheesy noodle entree, we stopped for dinner at the Teriyaki Ice Cream and Burger spot in Hoodsport, and then it was back to much appreciated soft beds and flush toilets.