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Trip Report

Lower Gray Wolf River — Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

Olympic Peninsula

Trip Report By

WTA Member


Type of Hike


Trail Conditions

Minor obstacles posing few problems


Road suitable for all vehicles


No bugs


Snow free

I recently moved to Clallam County, and this was my first backpacking trip near our new home. With short days, this was a lovely trail for a chill overnight trip.

The road is bumpy in a few spots, but nothing major. On sunny Sunday when I started, there were about 10 cars at the trailhead. I saw a number of groups on trail, since most folks seemed to be headed out as I was headed in. Pretty much everyone had a face covering.

The trail is muddy in places and a few trees are down across the trail. Only one required a bit of acrobatics to get over. (I almost would have fit under, but crawling under a log with an overnight pack is not my favorite.) 

I stopped at the campsite a bit before the end of the trail. All the sites are near the river (technically, they're all a bit too close for Leave No Trace, but they're the obvious spots to camp as they're already impacted.) The river did make for a lovely soothing backdrop noise. I stayed overnight and then, the next morning, hiked to where I think the trail ends from this direction. It looks like it may wind on a bit more, but I stopped at what appeared to be an old slide and turned around there. 

It's a lovely trail, the last part was probably my favorite because it was near the river quite a bit. It's a lovely river, with lovely greens and blue bits. And the trail features every shade of green you can imagine.

On the way back, I ended up taking the Cat Loop Trail, which was pretty, and had a slightly different feel from the main trail. It drops down lower and then you climb back up to meet the main trail. (This also meant I missed my family who had come out to surprise me. Oops. But we all got a nice hike out of it.)


That's it for trip report. But carry on if you're curious about my backpacking goals this year. For a number of years, I've set once-a-month goals. The first time, it was to hike with one of my friends every month. We set dates for an entire year, and we got in a hike each month. It totally changed the way I think about hiking — it's never been a seasonal thing since then. After that, I set goals to camp each month and then backpack each month. Last year, I didn't set a goal and, especially with the challenges of the pandemic, maybe that was for the best. This year, however, I wanted the fun of a new goal. So, I'm returning to backpacking. This time, however, I want all of my trips to be within my own county. Clallam County has some great backpacking, so this shouldn't be too hard. The winter months will be the most challenging, of course. 

It was nice to get out — and I was glad I did. I also know I wouldn't have without this goal. It's why I enjoy setting a goal to do something I like. Backpacking takes work, and a little goal like this encourages me to make sure it happens.

Like a lot of folks, I am working at home now. So is my spouse and so we're home, all the time, with our daughter. Alone time is very rarely. So, this was a solo hike. And it was lovely. I appreciated a chance to just be by myself. I listened to a book for awhile, drank many cups of tea, and just watched the hill across the river from my camp. I marveled at how many shades of green are in the northwest.

I went to bed when it got dark, read my book and went to sleep early. I boiled water to pour in my nalgene, and I slept great with a cozy hot water bottle. 

I'd like to return to this trail again — maybe it will be my trip in December. I'd also enjoy heading out for a trail run here — it's not far from home and would make a lovely day trip.