<< The Steelhead of the Soleduc

04/02/07 - Elwha Trail Report

Whiskey Bend Road is usually open all year round, but it has been closed for a while due to fallen trees and nasty ruts. It isn't much of a road by some standards, but it has a good solid one and a half lanes, and the dirt is pretty firmly packed and the drainage is good. In fact, it is so good that there are lots of neat waterfalls that flow down to and under the road. Just a few days ago, we noticed that the Park Service had taken Whiskey Bend off the list of roads that have been closed, and today we rode out in our trusty Honda and had a spectacular hike along the Elwha Trail.

The road itself, as we noted, is in good shape, and so is the trail. There were a number of recently sawn logs by the side of the trail, including one monster on the climb up after Humes Ranch. We only made it to the first crossing, about an hour or so hike from the parking lot. The little stream in the canyon was running full, despite two large trees which had collapsed across its path into the canyon. Our special surprise was the first trillium of the season, blooming early in the shelter of the canyon.

The first trillium of spring

Just pretty

On our way back to the car, there was a blue grouse sitting in the middle of the trail. We had been hearing the deep booming of the male birds lekking, that is, staking out good sites for their bachelor pads. We sometimes see blue grouse on Hurricane Hill, but rarely on a wooded trail like this one, but today was different. The grouse were definitely about and not one bit shy.We even saw another blue grouse crossing the Whiskey Bend Road on the drive down.

Keywords: elwha, flowers, birds, hurricane hill, spring, trillium, grouse, waterfall