Wilderness is a State of Mind – Olympic Mountain sojourn 2023

Wilderness is ultimately a state of mind, and yet, without the physical wilderness of virgin forests, pristine rivers, diverse ecosystems of flora and fauna roaming across peaks, valleys, and meadows, the richness of our human experience would be cheapened and threatened due to planetary degradation.  Why do monks and nuns still seek out remote places in the mountains to cultivate spiritual awareness? It is not merely for the quietude, but for the totality of existence laid bare. As a backpacker, the rigors and dangers of mountain travel make me keenly aware that my body is fragile, mortal, perishable. And yet the innate clarity of mind is awakened while walking miles across remote terrain, at one with the inner and outer landscape.

Dodger Point trail, Olympic National Park
Mount Ferry from the Dodger Point trail
In the tent with mosquito screen safely zipped up
Dodger Point. Too hot at 5pm to get into my tent, but a layer of ice on our tents the next morning!
Dodger Camp meadow
Dodger Camp below Dodger Peak
Mount Olympus
Warren Wambsganss, professional photographer enjoying his craft. https://www.warrenjpix.com/
Hurricane Ridge in the distance from Ludden ridge
Ludden Peak from the ridge
on the ridge to Ludden
on the ridge to Ludden
are you kidding me?
filtering water from melting snow – we had to dig out a little hole as the meltwater was mostly seeping into the soil
Mount Scott from near Ludden summit
Looking out towards the Bailey Range from near the summit of Ludden. Olympus center left.


Boot path from Ludden Ridge down to Scott-Ludden saddle. Trail gets thin and difficult to follow in places. Hug the edge of the slope near the Ludden cliffs when in doubt (Olympic Mountain Climbers Guide)


Avalanche gully with snow pile blocking the CCC trail from Scott-Ludden saddle back to Dodger. Looking down into the Goldie River basin
Elwha River at the terminus of the Grand Canyon, from the Dodger Point bridge.
Looking across the Elwha River from Dodger Point trail – wildfire haze in the air
Back at the trailhead – only 7 miles to go on bikes. Almost all downhill!
Mid-morning sun ray illuminates a fern in the ancient forest.
We used e-bikes to get to and from the old trailhead at Whiskey Bend now inaccessible to cars. Lovely scooting through low elevation forest. Reduced 2 days of hiking to about an hour and a half.


Setting moon over Lone Tree Pass in the Bailey Range, taken from Dodger Point just before sunrise.
Cruising while our skies are burning. Cruise ship from Seattle heading to Alaska during the beginning of the 2023 wildfire season. For more information regarding the global movement calling attention to the harms of cruise ships, visit https://seattlecruisecontrol.org/
Thank you to all bees and gardeners, and to all who produce, package, transport, stock, and checkout the food. Looking forward to a meal other than energy bars, oatmeal, or freeze dried beans.

1 thought on “Wilderness is a State of Mind – Olympic Mountain sojourn 2023”

  1. Wow! Gorgeous. Very happy for you and your friend to do this challenging and glorious trek.

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