In us, there is a river of feelings, in which every drop of water is a different feeling, and each feeling relies on all the others for its existence…sit on the bank of the river and identify each feeling as it surfaces, flows by, and disappears.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
When driving US Highway 101, along Hood Canal, there are overwhelming choices for a great hike. The Quilcene River is one of the best for early spring. It is located toward the mountains, just north of Dosewallips State Park.
Winter can be a difficult time. The letting go of the autumn gives way to still contemplation, the cold, and hibernation so that we may bloom again with the spring.
In the spring the river is high with melted snow. The flowers are peeking out. The trail is nearly empty, (unless you count the birds and the insects). The air is so fresh, that a scramble over the odd downed tree or branch is a simple feat – which is a good thing in this ever changing environment.
Nestled in the eastern part of the Olympic Mountains, this trail passes through groves of majestic, ancient, trees and passes boulders and nurse logs covered in moss and young huckleberry bushes. The soundtrack is the rushing Quilcene River woven with trills of birdsong.
The hike can be either long or short – with several places to turn around or have lunch by the water. It can also be an overnight trip with some wide flat places to camp (if your destination is Marmot Pass – via the Upper Big Quilcene River Trail).
Enjoy a walk in the shaded forest, learn from the river as it passes beside you, and truly enjoy whatever gifts the season brings!