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Old 07-10-2014, 11:04 AM   #1
GtiKyle OP
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Wink Two Tigers Prowling the Olympics

Two Tigers Prowling the Olympics

The tale of two Tigers: 5 days discovering the Olympic National Forest (and other such puns)

The bikes



My Triumph Tiger 800xc



Cameron's ride

The riders




GtiKyle



Cameron




And my copilot Jake


The next few posts will detail the days we spent riding the dirt/rock/mud trails of the Olympic National Forest, and surrounding areas. You'll see views like these:





Beautiful scenery:




Lots of these:




a couple of these




even some #selfies




and at the end of the day some much needed


So kick your feet up, enjoy the view










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Old 07-10-2014, 12:15 PM   #2
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:43 PM   #3
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Great pics.



Looking forward to more.

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Old 07-10-2014, 08:32 PM   #4
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Yes! Great pics!!
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:03 PM   #5
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Planning: I'd like to say i had all these backroads highlighted on some dusty forest service maps, or hints and tips from some crusty logger at a dive bar in a Podunk town, but i must give credit where credit is due. The route we ran was part of a tour that David at GripTwister put together. GripTwister has this Olympic route, as well as a Baja (and guided tours!) all planned with GPS routes. The GPS tracks/routes came with a booklet, basic navigation setups, and current road conditions. David rides the route every year and updates it. So kudos up front to the man that made our trip very effortless. If you're interested in the details of the route, drop him a line. I guarantee with all the legwork and planning he's done, the price is WELL worth it.

www.griptwister.com

Day one started with departing from my home in Tacoma on July 3rd, and traveling West towards Hoodsport, the launching point of this trip. This section would end up being the majority of the pavement rode in the 870 miles we logged during the trip. We ate at a small cafe in Hoodsport, fueled up, and headed into the woods. In typical PNW style, the weather decided to turn drizzly for our first few hours as we ascended the dirt hillsides and encountered our first obstacle.





A recent slide had blocked the majority of the road. Between the misty rain and slick sharp rocks it made a great beginning to the trip. After picking up what stones we could and creating a makeshift path we continued on (with a real close call to a dropped bike).

Passed through to a small lake:



arriving at our first of many bridges and streams to be seen:





The path continued on and connected with a new road that led us up the east side of the Olympic Forest to an overlook of the bay:



And of course an opportunity for some artsyish pictures of the bikes (you'll see lots of them, sorry Tiger haters)







Selfies:



And of course Jake


The scenery started getting greener, but the clouds were moving in as we went higher in eleveation. We soon approached a point in the route that had an optional side route, and not wanting to miss the viewpoints because of the clouds, decided to burn some time on the side route.

A quick note here. GripTwister describes the route as "A single-track trail.......easily doable by a competent rider on a 650 class bike, though panniers up the skill required a notch". This is one of very few hiking trails still open to motorcycles. Not wanting to pussy out on that challenge, and feeling high and mighty on our first day of exploring we decided to give it a go. It didn't take long for the narrow slick trail to take it's first victim:



Nap time. A rouge root managed to trip the bike. The path got narrower in places, with some small stream crossings. He wasn't joking when he said it was a single-track, not a great place with panniers!

Encountered a few wooden bridges:





With gorgeous scenery to boot



The hour was late, and the tigers clutches were starting to give off the scent of defeat, so we pulled into our accommodations for the night at the good ol' Bark Shanty right alongside the river.







We setup our camp and called it an evening.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:51 PM   #6
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Adventure at its finest!
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:01 AM   #7
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The next morning started off with conversations on what we should tackle next. We had made it about 2 miles into the 6.5 mile single-track, and things were starting to get a little more technical. A quick walk up the trail made up our minds; our 550+lb tigers had no place on this trail.





It got tighter, rootier, and turnier. Yes, those are all words.

In any case, we decided to face the demon we know, rather the devil we don't. So we loaded our gear and headed back.



The crisp morning air and the gentle breeze was calming and beautiful. The forest was so incredibly green, and the sound of gently flowing water really helped to GOD DAMN IT









My turn for nap time.



The stream crossing was a little slick and i got my tire moving the wrong direction. No matter, we picked it up and moved on. Our decision the night before to hold off on climbing the summit of the mountains ahead, and taking the single-track trail paid off in glorious returns as we reached the top.





Our morning continued on as we snaked up and down FS roads, dipping into valleys and ascending steep mountain sides.



The straight of Juan de Fuca, and Vancouver island can be seen in the background. CANADA!




Next stop was Port Angeles to fuel up and get some breakfast. A couple of strong cups of coffee later and we decided to head up Hurricane Ridge. A popular destination, Hurricane ridge was on our docket last year when we circled highway 101 on our way down to California, but the weather was not cooperating. This year, things were looking good. .... A little too good in fact. I failed to mention at this point that today was July 4, and with the weather in good check the line to head up to hurricane ridge was excessively long. The decision was made, however, and we weren't going to miss the view.


The Majestic Olympic range



The other side wasn't quite as impressive, but on a very clear day you can see a large chunk of the straight as well as Canada.



After 20 minutes of being around hundreds of people we grew wary quickly, and longed to be on desolate, rarely used FS roads again, so we departed and headed west towards Crescent lake. We had to make a quick stop to adjust my brake lever, which was starting to get sticky.





We soon left pavement and dry weather behind and began climbing service roads again. Now was a good time to stop for a nap.





The roads got slick with the misty weather, and hill climbs became a wild ride. We rode all the way to the top of Kloshe Nanitch lookout, and despite the weather, the views were STUNNING. I didn't get any pictures as it was still very misty, and we were beginning to get grumpy. I found some pics from another ride report here, and I hope Deanman doesn't object to me using them as reference. Original found here






Sadly, due to vandalism, the structure was torn down, and now looks like this.



Regardless, the area is now a "Viewpoint", and still worth the drive up.

Moving on, we descended back down to Hwy101, and found ourselves a camping spot right on the Sol Duc river.







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Old 07-11-2014, 10:19 AM   #8
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Very cool report so far! Looks like you guys had an awesome time and the views were well worth the Tiger naps.
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:09 AM   #9
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Beautiful pics, great riding and scenery. Makes me wish I didn't live in terrain and trail challenged Chicago.
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:14 AM   #10
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Great pics and report!
In fact, so motivating that I'm going to get on my Tiger and take myself a ride in our wonderfully hot, sticky South Carolina Lowcountry morning weather!
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:45 AM   #11
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Great views! I'm on Vancouver Island, two blocks from where I can look out over the water to the Olympic Mountains. While you were taking the pics with Vancouver Island in the background I was waving at you from the beach. You didn't wave back. Thanks.

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Old 07-12-2014, 11:48 AM   #12
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The next morning began with a little adrenaline, as we had parked our motorcycles down a grassy bank and now combining the morning dew needed to work our way back up it to the road. Minutes later we were rolling further into the hills.



It wasn't long on our ascent up a steep cliff side that we encountered our first big hurdle. A slide with a sheer drop just 1 foot to the left

Standing at the top, looking down





It's tough to tell from the pics, but between the large rocks to bounce off, the grade (in which you have the choice of speed or burning your clutch) and the sheer cliff to the left as you're ascending made for a very stressful situation. I chose to pin it and hang on. Cameron wavered a bit with clutching, but we made it out alive. I have some GoPro footage that i will be putting together later.



But first, let me take a selfie



Picture of the beautiful tigers



The route continued on to the clearwater



Another stream



We soon came across a very steep grade with smooth large rocks on the path. It was everything i could do to fight the bike from careening out of control; locking up the rear (ABS) and feathering the front to avoid dumping it over. After 1/4 miles of battling the grade, we took a break as our forearms were on fire.





The scenery got interesting as we got into the thick of the woods





We figured we were a little ahead of our schedule at this point, and was looking forward to relaxing and taking a load off. The rain decided it was a good time to return too, so we settled into the Quinault campground. A little out of the way, it's currently under renovation so there was no charge to stay, and view couldn't be beat.



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Old 07-12-2014, 02:16 PM   #13
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We woke to rain falling at 5am. I'm usually an early riser so this meant nothing to me. We made some breakfast and watched the rain fall on the river, dreading packing up wet gear and moving out. We tried holding out the rain, knowing better weather was "predicted" (total BS). 7:30 rolled around and we'd waited long enough, so wet tents packed up, and we were back on the trail.

I decided after the prior night of not having a fire that i was done with doing without, so the Tiger became a pickup truck.





While we stopped to take in the view, the one and only motorcycle we ended up seeing in our 5 day jaunt around the FS roads rolled by, so we had a chat. I didn't snap any photos, but his name is Kyle, and he had recently started his own company out of Montana making custom military style top bags. Fed up with limited options out there on the market, and inspired by innovations he saw in his work material, he set off and made his own. I was pretty impressed, so take a look at his website if you're interested. http://motomontana.com/MT/home.html

We eventually found ourselves on some very interesting old tarmac roads used for logging. Based on the dates of some of the small bridges we crossed in the early 1980s, most of the roads looked as if they've long since been discontinued. But for a couple of guys on a dualsport adventure, they were the perfect changeup from the gravel and potholes we'd become accustom to. Scenery changed once again as we neared Quinault Lake. Here we crossed a small clackity bridge to enter into a sea of ferns.



Seriously, there was no ground to be seen. It was like a foreign planet...just ferns and trees.










You know what time it is





This place had a very magical feel to it, like the scene straight out of a book. This is definitely a revisit site for me in the future.





A few more gorgeous falls we encountered







Back up into the hills we climbed as we took a FS road off 101 again, leaving Amanda Park. Note: we should have fueled up to the brim here. More on this later.

A spectacular bridge emerged spanning the West Fork Humptulips river.





Pictures don't do much to capture the depth of the valley below, but some rider before us had obviously been there



Continuing on into the wilderness







The weather finally began to break











So nearing the end of our route, we realized a river crossing was coming. After inspecting the fording opportunity, we realized we were not going to have enough gas to do the next leg in our route. A small error made by us by NOT fueling in up Amanda Park meant we'd be stranded in a very remote area if we made the attempt. With the day getting close to an end, we decided to pitch tents alongside the river, head out early morning to the nearest town of Montesano (on hwy 101) to fuel up, and finish day 5 with fresh supplies and no worries about gas.





4/4 on camping by water. Not bad
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by squonker View Post
Great views! I'm on Vancouver Island, two blocks from where I can look out over the water to the Olympic Mountains. While you were taking the pics with Vancouver Island in the background I was waving at you from the beach. You didn't wave back. Thanks.




the Olympic peninsula rules.
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:20 PM   #15
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Starting off early, we headed back into town to get fuel and some food. The road between Wynoochee lake and Montesano was surprisingly fun in the morning. The valley had fresh pavement and nice sweepers making it a motorcycle paradise. Leaving early was the key to avoiding any traffic, but just fair warning that logging trucks do frequent this area.

After we got our petrol, we headed back up to start our last leg. This ended up being the hottest day of our journey, and the 4 days without showering were cresting well with the temp increase. Regardless, the sights we saw made this section quite memorable.











Maybe i went over the top with similar views.. but the combination of the beautiful valley and those tigers just make me drool







The road we had just come from



Of course we encountered some more really nice waterfalls









And a small lake



Saw lots of flora on the trip, but didn't manage to photograph a lot of it



And more gorgeous mountain top views



We also followed a recommended route on the GripTwister tour that snaked its way tightly to the peak of a mountain for an incredible 360 degree view. I don't think the literature was too clear on just how gnarly it was. It was severly overgrown, with giant rocks and burns waiting to swallow large bikes. Add in the heat and the weight of the tiger and it was quite the workout.











We descended back down in elevation to another very impressive bridge over the Skokomish River. This vast chasm again was hard to capture, but i did spot another "waldo".


I can cheers to that.

The route back down to 101 traveled through some farmland where we popped out at 101. This marked the end of our tour, and the shocking realization of traffic and PEOPLE again. 20 minutes into our slab home, and i was itching to flip a 180 and head right back into the woods. Hope you enjoyed our report. I'm working on a video segment that i'll post up later.




Peace.

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