Marmot Pass // Olympic National Forest

Marmot Pass, Olympic National Forest
Distance Roundtrip: 11.5 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 3489 ft.
Highest Elevation: 6000 ft.
Location: Olympic National Forest
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Images taken with an iPhone6

I’ve been wanting to get Winston (our pup) out for his first overnight for some time now. We’ve been bringing him along on conditioning hikes and he’s slowly but surely building up his stamina. After seeing the weather this weekend was going to be in the 80’s we set our sights on heading back to Marmot Pass. I ventured there with Rose and Tyler about six weeks back in the snow.

Marmot Pass, Olympic National ForestWe got a lazy start Saturday, catching the 9am ferry out of Bainbridge, and arriving at the trailhead around 11:30. It was so hot, I think we started the trail sweaty. Lucikly the first part follows the river in the woods which helped to cool down the forest. Winston got pretty hot a few miles in and we stopped for a trailside nap. This was the first time he’s just plunked down in the middle of the trail to pass out. After eating some snacks (Winston too!) and drinking more water I carried him for a few hundred yards before he jumped ship and kept going on his own. The rest of the hike was mostly exposed which made it sort of brutal in the heat. We took a few more doggy water breaks and took our time.

Marmot Pass, Olympic National Forest

Tired pup!

Our goal was to camp at Marmot Pass but after hiking so long in the heat we weren’t sure if that was attainable with Winston. We stopped at Mystery Camp to fill up our waters (between the two of us we carried around 8-9L) and let Winston cool his feet off in the stream. Our vet mentioned that’s the best way to manage a dog’s heat—through his paws. Thankfully this trail had lots of stream crossings … great opportunity to keep those paws wet. We all felt pretty renewed after stopping for water and knew we could push on.

The last stretch to Marmot Pass is so pretty. The wildflowers are starting to bloom, there’s marmots running around and only one small stretch of snow to cross. Winston seemed to gain all sorts of energy on the snow crossings. He was all of a sudden frolicking and running around (on his long leash of course).

Marmot Pass, Olympic National ForestWe arrived at the top to find a few groups already with camps set up. A guy and his dog snagged an amazing site up Buckhorn. We went to the left side of the ridge in search for a camp. It was a little tricky finding a good site. There were a couple manageable ones that made us a bit nervous with a dog so we opted for one that was more sheltered by trees.

At this point it was still so hot and all we wanted to do was lay out our beds and chill out. The flies and ants were pretty annoying so we laid out in the tent.

After dinner, I convinced Dustin (and Winston haha) that it would be fun to climb Buckhorn for sunset. We went three quarters of the way up the mountain and drooled over some guys’ campsite. Jealous!

Marmot Pass, Olympic National ForestMarmot Pass, Olympic National ForestMarmot Pass, Olympic National ForestMarmot Pass, Olympic National ForestMarmot Pass, Olympic National ForestGetting down Buckhorn was a little sketchy. It’s really steep and all loose rock so sliding was a big issue. Not super fun but we managed. Winston practically whined the whole way down (I guess he was just ready to sleep). He ran back to camp and plopped himself in front of the tent. So cute that he knows that’s his home. Upon getting inside he attacked my sleeping bag, trying to form it into the perfect nest. He has a bit of an obsession with being covered while sleeping (maybe it’s a Boston thing?). We tidied up camp and joined him inside. He immediately decided my sleeping bag his and totally hogged it all night. I’m going to order him his own doggy bag because not all nights are going to be so hot I can keep it unzipped to fit him.

The next morning we awoke to the sun shining and heat rolling in. We knew it was going to be another hot day and decided to get an early start. It was so muggy coming down, we sweat the entire time! We were all so happy to see the car and change into fresh clothes.

On our way out of the lot we came across a bear on the road. This was our first sighting in the wild! I will happily take that from the comfort of my car.

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