Short Tour Olympic Peninsula
I wanted one more tour this year, so I decided to revisit North Seattle and Olympic Peninsula to see how things have changed in the last 8 or so years, and as progress is made on the Olympic Discovery Trail.
Day 1, Seattle to Kingston, 20 miles
My train arrived in Seattle sort of late in the day, and assuming I remembered a route to Edmonds WA to get the ferry across Puget Sound, I felt I could make closer to 30 miles. You know what they say about “assumptions”…well I eventually made it to Edmonds to catch the 7 PM ferry to Kingston. Knowing I would not make it much further before dark, I asked around on the ferry for camping options in Kingston, and was fortunate to connect with a man who belonged to a local church. After confirming with the Pastor, I was invited to camp in the churchyard. I set up my camp in the only flat area, the kiddie playground.
Day 2, Kingston to Port Townsend, 40 miles
After a leisurely breakfast stop at the Cup and Muffin in Kingston, I proceeded onto the busy northbound Highway 104. Good shoulder but the big traffic was a little unsettling. I stopped at a visitor center for my break and then on to Chimacum. While taking another break at the local hangout, I was given guidance to the Larry Scott Memorial trail, which would get me off the highway for the remaining 7 or so miles into Port Townsend.
I shared an ocean side campsite at Port Townsend’s Fort Worden State Park with a delightful fellow traveler originally from Romania, named Flavia.
Day 3, Port Townsend to Sequim, 43 miles
I backtracked some on the Larry Scott trail, then headed to Hwy 104 then to Hwy 101. The Olympic Discovery Trail officially begins in Port Townsend (first section shared with Larry Scott trail), and still much work to be done on the section from PT to Sequim. Signage guides users off and on quiet side roads but some Hwy 101 must be ridden at this point. Shoulder is mostly adequate. Once I got to Blyn, it was a real trail all the way to Sequim State Park about 9 miles on.
I was happy to see Flavia also arrive to set up camp at Sequim. Another tourer, Colin, also appeared to share the hiker biker sites. I stayed 2 nights at Sequim State Park before heading towards Fort Flagler State Park.
Day 5, Sequim to Fort Flagler, 29 miles
The route involves a very dangerous section of Hwy 101 so when I got to Discovery Bay, I waited for a regional bus which got me to a transit center about 6 miles up the road. I then rode the hilly route out to Fort Flagler. Fort Flagler definitely warrants some exploration as it was an army fort guarding the entrance to Admiralty Inlet, and much of the military bunkers and artifacts remain. The biker campsites are the best! I had tent-side views of the beautiful sunset.
Day 6, Fort Flagler to Port Ludlow, 20 miles
Arrived in Port Ludlow and had several hours before I was expected at my Warm Showers host, so I basked in the sunshine, the last of which I’d see for the remainder of my trip. My Warm Showers hosts, Ben and Anne, gave me a warm welcome into their lovely home. Their love of cooking was apparent in the wonderful dinner they prepared for me. They have had many touring adventures and I enjoyed hearing their stories that evening.
Day 7, Port Ludlow to Seattle, 26 miles
I realized as I was packing up, that I had left my helmet at the restaurant, which wasn’t open yet. Thankfully, Ben was able to loan me one and later recovered mine. Traffic wasn’t bad on my route through Poulsbo except where I made a wrong turn. The rain came quickly but I was ready for it and stopped in a bus shelter to gear up. It poured rest of the way to Bainbridge ferry, which I was fortunate to board right away. A short ride to the train station and several hours early, gave me the time to dry out before the train ride home.
Another tour in the books. Already thinking about next years' tour options, maybe Natchez Trace or Chicago to Cincinnati to Cleveland to someplace...
Ha. No, I didn't! Only in my dreams. I did, however, have the opportunity to cheer the runners on a three day Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) trail work party. Party? Well, that's what they call it...
There were 11 of us including Jack, our crew leader. We were tasked with doing rock work on a section of the PCT to improve the tread to make it a bit safer. We worked hard for two and a half days, camped, and ate wonderful food provided by PCTA and prepared by our volunteer chef, Matt.
PCTA has been working sections of the trail during the Cascade Crest 100 for more than 10 years. We were provided the bib numbers so we could look up their names and cheer them by name as the passed through the beer gauntlet. Yes, we gently taunted them with beer and some even paused for a few sips before continuing on.
We also encountered a lot of thru-hikers on their way to Canada. Many stopped and we changed over to trail angel mode, offering beer and some of Matt's great food.
Trail work is a great experience. Consider joining a work party with PCTA or Washington Trails Association (WTA) or one of the other many trail advocacy organizations. You'll be tired at the end of the day, but you'll develop a sense of pride and ownership. And, you're sure to have some great fun!