Elwha Valley, Humes Ranch Loop, and Goblins Gate (A Six-Mile Hike)

It may have been less than six miles. Part of the route was washed out. I think. It was hard to tell. There were signs, there were counter-signs. Anything was possible and therefore nothing mattered.

It’s inside Olympic National Park, in the Elwha Valley area-thing.

Here’s the picture that I’ve decided I want to have show up at the top of the homepage (until I post another article at which point it will be replaced by that article’s picture):

Goblins Gate - Elwha River

You can almost *smell* the goblin!

Right, so that’s the Goblins Gate. Or Goblin Gate or Goblin’s Gate. I’m guessing the Parks Service doesn’t really know either, so I’m not gonna worry about it. Point being, it’s the best part of the hike and the only real Sehenswürdigkeit there. IMHO. Basically there’s this river and then it makes a sudden right turn and immediately after making this right turn, it has to go through this narrow part where the goblin is. But about half the river misses the turn altogether and has to seethe in fury, churning anti-clockwise in desperate agony just because it ended up in the wrong lane a half-mile back and there weren’t any signs saying that it was going to have to make a right turn eventually.

It’s like driving on the east coast.

Here’s a picture of the seething. It may not look angry, but, trust me, if you could *see* the undercurrents here…

Elwha River at Goblins Gate

It's like trying to get out of the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot.

So the part on the top of the photo is the raging vortex.The main river is coming from the left. That little stream pouring into the vortex is just a little stream that pours into the vortex. It’s not a good photo.

Here’s another picture of the gate, which I liked, and in particular a rock that makes up the gate, which I liked.

A rock at Goblins Gate on the Humes Ranch Loop Hike

Already pictured.

Other than that, though, the hike was like a well-written eulogy: gloomy but coherent.

There are trees and moss and clouds. It’s dark. In most places, yes, I’d call it a tree prison. Here are some trees with moss.

Humes Ranch Trail

But mostly the hike's not this pretty.

Just didn’t want you to get the wrong impression there. Mostly there are trees on either side of you and nothing to see but trees. When you’re down on the river, all there is is a river and then some mountains covered in clouds.

I suppose it might look different with better weather.

When I got off this trail, I decided to go down the nearby Mills Lake access trail. The lake will disappear soon as it was created by a dam that’s getting busted in the near future, though probably not by Lancaster bombers. The parks service isn’t that cool. The hike down to the lake was short but strenuous (read: steep). At the bottom, you mostly saw a river (the lake is further down as it turns out) and mountains covered in clouds.

There’s also this little fellow:

Waterfall at mills lake.

It's 15 feet tall!

IMHO: the only remarkable thing about this waterfall is that you have to walk through a knee-deep creek to get to it. The water there is cold in the winter. It had probably been snow a couple hours before I stood in it. I probably should have taken a photo of me standing in it. Battery was low though. Barely even got this shot off. And now you get all the benefit of being there without the hassle of having to later chip ice off your boots just so you can get your feet out.

And then I left there and ate at Wendys in Port Angeles on the way home. Am still amazed that you have to pay $4 to get over the stupid new Narrows bridge. Man. Seems like renting a private helicopter to airlift you over the Sound would be about the same price and, if you scheduled it in advance, potentially more convenient.

Nice to get outside though.



  • telkontar

    And who created that standard for eulogies?
    Some of us love tree prisons — it’s like being outside. I’ve been tracking squirrels through my attic with a CO2 handgun in my waistband and a German knife in my pocket. We’ll see if the trap works this time. It is frustrating when I can tell that the squirrel is trying to break into the trap after it has been tripped.

  • telkontar

    The vortex is a bad thing for Marines in Avatar.

    The Telks are trying to be edgy since a writing authority on the internet said one must be edgy to be read. We’ll see if our edginess works as well as peanut butter works on squirrels. We will see.