with words like dungeness and royal, i find the Olympic Mountain range makes me feel hungry

Whenever I think of the word “Dungeness”, I think of Dungeness crab. Ergo, the Dungeness Valley, the Dungeness River, the Dungeness Spit: All of them, my mouth waters because they make me think of savory crab. The pictures below make me feel hungry, even. Because it’s the Dungeness area. Yes, “Dungeness” is a hungry word. It makes me think of a starved person wearing a bib at a seafood restaurant, the kind of restaurant where they dump your food on the table and make you eat like a barbarian. The various expansive views below are from the mountainside below Tyler Peak. What makes a few of these vistas even more electric is at your back is the brilliant blue of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

You’re basically looking straight up the Dungeness River in these pictures. The Royal Creek drainage (is it just me, or does the word “royal” remind you of little foil-wrapped chocolate candies with caramel centers?) veers more to the right (west) out of view. Although you don’t get a full-on view of Royal Basin, it’s located at the base of the mountains in one of the pictures below (i’ve pointed it out). Royal Basin is one of the Olympic Mountains’ fabled hiking destinations. I’ll be going there either late summer or Fall, with my friends the Kitsap Shutterbugs or possibly by myself if it doesn’t work out with them. It’ll be my first time backpacking in the Olympic Mountains! It’s 7 miles and 2,650 feet of elevation gain just to reach Royal Basin, so it does lend itself to being at least an overnight trip.

Sadly, this picture could have been so much more. I only took it for navigation reference purposes, it didn’t occur to me it could turn out to be one of my more interesting shots of the terrain (up high, the views are spectacular but I really liked how the distant mountains looked from the treeline). The “trail” basically disappears here as it makes its way out of the denser forest below and I wanted a rough visual aid for my exit into the woods on the way down. The hike down turned out be pretty easy-peas in terms of knowing where to go. It might’ve been another story if fog moved in or it started raining. Below Tyler Peak there are expansive open slopes. If you’re a dweeb hiker like me who often takes a ripped-out page from a guidebook along for the trip instead of a map, you may want to stick to doing Tyler Peak and Baldy on sunny blue-sky days! I’d be a pretty nervous nellie if I got caught up here on a foggy or stormy day. When I come back to run the ridge from Baldy to possibly Gray Wolf (I don’t have a good idea yet what exposure is involved with getting from Baldy to Gray Wolf), I’ll definitely be carrying a topographical map and my broken REI zipper pull compass.

Bear with me, I posted three very similar somewhat-underwhelming pictures in a row because they all show something different that I liked. And because this is my own crappy blog, I can post whatever I want! Anyhooie: The picture below is my favorite all-encompassing view. And even though I didn’t include the orange lichen in my DoF I found those rocks fascinating. It’s a harsh environment up here, not a good place to start a farm or a button-printing business.

This picture was originally a toss-up with the one above it. You’re looking straight up the Dungeness River, and you can take the Upper Dungeness River Trail in that direction. Camp Handy is a little over 3 miles up there somewhere. You could keep hiking and hiking (another 3 miles) until you reach Boulder Camp. Or Constance Pass, even. You can even reach Marmot Pass from the Dungeness.

And finally, I’m only posting this so you can get a better look at where Royal Basin is (all the way to the right, under the big mountains). In that direction is Mt. Deception, the second highest peak in the Olympic Mountain range (7,788 feet).

Here’s a westerly view looking down at the ridge I hiked along to reach Tyler Peak. The two blobby mountains in the distance are Baldy (the very broad-topped mountain on the right with two distinct east-facing snow slopes) and Gray Wolf Peak (to the left and further beyond- it’s not obvious here, but a ridge extends from Baldy to Gray Wolf).

This is a closer look (i hauled my 70-200 up) at the mountains that loom above Royal Basin. I believe that’s Mt. Deception in the middle of the picture, towering over everything else.

Visible in this view is Buckhorn Mountain and Marmot Pass. Good old Marmot Pass is the distinctive-looking v-shaped notch to the right-middle of the frame (geezus, does anything I write or say make any fucking sense?). It’s still really snowy up there! Last summer, from Marmot Pass I took the gentle west shoulder of Buckhorn all the way east to Buckhorn’s summit (which is the bulky mound in the left of the frame). Mt. Constance is the tall mountain to the right, it’s another 7,000-footer.

And to top things off for now, just a pile of Godforsaken rocks covered in lichen and chipmunk poop…..

One thought on “with words like dungeness and royal, i find the Olympic Mountain range makes me feel hungry

  1. Exciting post! Loved all the pictures. And, good job on identifying peaks and directions of view. Sometimes I’m left scratching my head when I get above the tree line – slightly uncertain of what exactly I’m looking at/towards. I would like to change that. And, I would definitely like to join you when you head back up this way. Those views are worth screaming knees.

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