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September 2005

PERFECT DAY: Olympic National Park

In the Elwha Valley, tidal rivers collide with towering old-growth forests, creating an outsized multisport playground. You'll need a bike, a kayak, and a boatload of stamina to join Sara Gagnon, an area native and co-owner of Adventures Through Kayaking, on this rollicking tour.
Backpacker_Magazine_Olympic_NPOlympic National Park, Washington State Tourism

7:05 Launch off Olympic Hot Springs Road to kayak 3 miles of the class II-III Elwha River past moss-covered canyon walls.

9:41 Take out at park border; pull bike off shuttled car and ride Olympic Hot Springs Road 7.5 miles (to end).
10:22 Hike 2.5 miles on the Olympic Hot Springs Trail; pick blackberries.
11:33 Arrive at hot springs. Follow trail to the top pool – the warmest and most private. Lunch and soak.
2:28 Return to car and drive 20 minutes to Freshwater Bay. Launch and paddle northwest toward Bachelor Rock.
2:45 From Bachelor, go west for 2.8 miles along sandstone cliff walls.

4:18 Beach at Mystery Cove; comb sand for agates, watch for passing gray whales.
6:30 Return to car and drive to Lake Crescent Lodge. Watch sunset from veranda; enjoy freshly seared ahi tuna.

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