The story of this trip actually begins back in 2014. After doing a section of the JMT a year prior Bob, my long time hiking partner, and I decided to do the complete JMT trail. ¬†We did all the preparation: training, food drops, etc. ¬†After the second day, I noticed Bob moving a bit slower. ¬†He was reluctant to divulge that he was in pain initially since he knew we had prepped and taken the longest amount of time away from work in our careers. ¬†By the end of the day, it was clear my friend was struggling. ¬†We made the decision on the third day to abandon the trip and head back to the PNW where I’m from. ¬†After some recovery time, we decided to take a trip to Olympic National Park. ¬†Our plan was to Hike the High Divide – Seven Lakes Basin Loop. ¬†Bob and I grew up together in the Midwest. ¬†I moved out west after college and despite the distance our friendship has remained strong as we have taken a backpacking trip together every year (2020 being the exception).

While I had never done this trip, I’d heard enough good things about this loop that I was excited to experience it with my good friend. ¬†I’m proud of where I live so I was excited to introduce the area to my good friend. Unfortunately for us, the weather didn’t cooperate. ¬†We had rain and fog so thick you couldn’t see any of the neighboring peaks. ¬†I forgot about this loop in the years since that trip since it wasn’t a very memorable experience.

Fast forward to 2022, wildfire smoke had captured much of the Cascades but the Olympics in their westerly position on the peninsula were an exception. ¬†Clear skies and good air quality was in the forecast. ¬†I packed my backpack and grabbed my camera and set off to see this area for a second time. ¬†What a difference with good weather! ¬†While I’ve spent most of my time hiking in the Cascades, I’ve under appreciated the Olympics. ¬†What a mistake. ¬†The diversity of this park is truly unique. ¬†For this hike, I started out hiking through rainforest. ¬†As you hike through the rainforest it seems like such a healthy environment with its old growth forests and lush green plants. ¬†Then as you ascend into the alpine area you experience the glaciated mountains. ¬†It was as if I was experiencing this hike for the first time as everything seemed new. ¬†You know that feeling of gratitude you get after an amazing experience? ¬†Well, that’s how I felt after this trip. ¬†Now, I have to bring my friend so he could experience it as well.