Trip Report    

Basic Backpacking Field Trip - Duckabush River

An unexpectedly rainy and wet backpack up the wild Duckabush River valley. Awesome crew saved the day!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

After an easy ferry ride to the Peninsula, we met under grey skies with scattered showers at the Duckabush TH.  The trail as far as Five Mile camp is well maintained, with some recent evidence of trail work by the WTA.


We were also cheered by a wide variety of wildflowers, from tiger lily and paint brush, to sedums and the native rhododendron.


We hiked past the viewpoints on Big Hump, amazed by the rocks, with fingers crossed that we could catch some of the views on the way out that clouds obscured on the way in.  After many switchbacks down, we arrived at Five Mile Camp.  It had many level spots, but also so many fire rings, and overall felt a little too loved-to-death for my tastes.  We set up our tents, and then decided to hike up the trail a ways further, as it was not raining.  We went about another mile up, but then the path got more brushy, and with the rain, the shrubbery was pretty wet, so we turned back.  Of course, by the time we arrived back at camp, it was raining.  We hunkered down for supper in the small area under an overhanging rock.  Not very comfortable, but there was lots of interesting conversation.  No campfire at night, but a couple of us did boil up water for the Nalgene to make for warm and comfy sleep.

Overnight, the rain picked up, so that I woke up to a small lake under my tent.  I was dry above, but we all enjoyed a quick and wet breakfast before packing up soaking wet gear and beginning the hike back to the cars.  We agreed we were happy to start the cold morning with a hike up and over Big Hump.  The views we had hoped to enjoy on the way out (per the earlier forecast) never materialized.  

We made fast work of the return trip, and of course, the rain was lightening just as we hit the cars.  The one big takeaway was to plan to bring dry clothes, shoes, and socks for all future trips.  Overall, despite the weather, our fearless group really rose to the occasion, and brightened what would have otherwise been a rather gloomy backpack.  Thank you!


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Bruce Barcklow
Bruce Barcklow says:
Jun 11, 2023 07:08 PM

Thank you for a steady-handed, realistically honest description of a an outing that resists the temptation to indulge in toxic positivity,
unlike so many others, while acknowledging the lessons learned and bright spots. This is a trail report for mature adults.