This is the story of a backpacking trip in the olympic mountains just before the smoke from all the nearby fires came in. We hiked to Lake Angeles and slept under the most incredible starlit sky for two nights. It was such an amazing experience! 🏔
🌲 first days of fall in the mountains | travel vibes 🌲
On Monday morning I and my sister Danielle quickly packed a few clothes, toothbrush and other necessary items into our shared backpack. We had been planning a hike to Lake Angeles with our friends since mid August, but amid the uncertain fluctuating temperature of the mountains, we were ready to spontaneously jump at warm weather forecasts when they appeared.
On September 6th, we got a text from our friends. The weather looked good, so we planned to head out the next morning.
At 8am I and Dani got up, packed the rest of everything we needed and drove 30 minutes to the Olympic National Park visitor center. Once we arrived, we met up with the homies and packed everything I brought in my little backpack into a big camping gear packed hiking pack.
Then we got into our car again, and drove the gorgeous route up to the trailhead, where we would begin our hike. It was amazing scenery, but little did I know the views were just getting started.
At the trailhead we talked briefly about our personal safety, wildlife safety and secured the gear on our backs. We made a single file line of five, with me second to last. And embarked on the steep hike up the mountain.
I would totally be lying if I said it was easy. The trail was so steep at some points, it looked like we were heading straight up into the clouds. Thank god I built my lungs up for this hike by running a few times a week. But yeah, the above picture is what I looked like when I stopped and took a break.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity of walking up steep rocky narrow trails. We made it to the very top of the olympic mountains. It was an amazing feeling. The view felt like I was somewhere between earth and heaven. It was breathtaking.
Once we were all done resting, snacking, frolicking and jumping around the mountain top. We put our hiking gear back on, and headed down the mountain. Heading toward our destination, Lake Angeles.
Once we arrived at Lake Angeles, we took a few hours to rest and contemplate where we wanted to set up our camping spot, which we would be staying at for the next two days. I was surprised to see how blue the lake was, almost turquoise.
The camping area we decided to stay at was right by the lake. Tucked into the endless forest around us. We specifically chose the spot because it lead up to the cliffs, where we could jump endlessly into shiny blue water, and swim straight up to a little island, Tom Sawyer style.
Hahaa.. I forgot to turn this splash photo black and white. Oops. (enjoy the blue water)
We spent the days swimming, hiking, exploring and enjoying this beautiful place.
On our first night in the woods, we set up tents in our cozy camping spot in the forest by the lake. I and Danielle slept with only the mesh tent cover, under the starlit sky.
The next day we woke up with a plan. We had taken the somewhat long swim to the island in the middle of Lake Angeles a few times already, since we arrived. But we wanted more. We wanted to somehow get our stuff across to the island, and spend the night.. on the island. Sounds crazy know.
We made a raft, combining four logs, knotted together with sturdy rope. And kept adding to the structure until it looked durable. We then stuffed our sleeping bags and dry clothes into unattractive trash bags for the voyage.
Nathaniel has a ton of great video footage on his GoPro, from the whole process of building the raft + our island adventure. I couldn’t bring my camera to the island because of the possibility of our raft capsizing. I did, however, get these great shots when I brought my camera out for a moment, to capture a few of our last moments at shore before heading to the island.
Once we arrived on the island. Dani, Everest and I helped get the contents off our raft. Nathaniel and Ella, secured our raft. Then we all set up camp for the night.
After dwelling around the rocky cliffs, talking and debating about random subjects. We all went to sleep in our cozy sleeping bags under the stars.
We slept in a little longer. Awaiting the sun to rise higher above the cliff, to warm the water to we could swim back to shore.
At around 10am, we headed back to shore after an amazing night on the island. We were all hungry because we didn’t bring much food along with us. So although the water was cold, we were excited to head back to shore for some breakfast.
Back at mainland, we ate our everyday breakfast of cereal and hot cocoa. We spent our last hours by the lake swimming and fishing. Nathaniel caught a little rainbow trout, which Gabi cooked for us. It tasted a little slimy and needed some seasoning. But it was a pretty cool experience.
At 3pm it was finally time to leave camp. Me and Dani said farewell to the boys, whom were staying for an extra day. And we departed our campsite with Gabi and Ella. Heading through the forest, the opposite direction from which we came, to avoid the steep hills going downhill.
The walk back was so peaceful and serene compared to the grueling uphill hike a few days before. The creek ran alongside the trail for miles.
Our trek was pretty uneventful. Dani and I were quite tired and ready for a warm bubble bath.
Now i’m back home. And honestly this was such an amazing journey, that i’m so glad I got to experience. My childhood Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn dreams totally became a reality.
This is a trip I will never forget. And I just can’t wait until I get to go on another adventure.
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