May 7, 2018 · Olympic National Forest
Check out the route in detail on AllTrails.
5 miles down the road from the rangers station was the Colonel Bob trailhead. I cooked lunch/breakfast in the parking lot, packed up, and started hiking up the trail. Patches of snow started appearing about 4 miles in (just after the shelter). As I got higher along the trail, snow patches became more frequent, some of them covering parts of the trail. It was still easy to navigate though. Up over the pass, and down a little along the trail I found the junction that connected to Pete’s Creek trail, an alternate route in. The other trail looked pretty rough and had lots of downfall blocking the trail. It seemed that approaching Colonel Bob from the Quinault side was a good move.
Up along the connecting trail the snow became more consistent. Small patches of trail were now the norm. Eventually it was all snow. I camped on snow where Fletcher Canyon Creek ran through. There was one other tent a little up the ways, but I never ended up saying “hi”.
We got up around 5:30am, had granola for breakfast, and then headed up to the summit. The ranger at the station had recommended I bring an ice axe for the steeper parts because of all the snow, and I was glad he did. It added a little bit of confidence to the relatively steep and difficult route up to the summit.
After taking a few photos at the top and taking in the amazing views, we headed back down to the campsite, packed up, and headed back to the trailhead. It was nice eventually getting off the snow and plodding towards the car on a dry, beautiful trail.
Back at the car I enjoyed some cheese and crackers in the back of the car while my feet dried out. A car with 3 folks from France who were on a 10 day driving vacation asked me about the route and if it was practical for them to do it in a day. I was encouraging but told them that there was lots of snow.