Olympic Adventure Trail – OAT Run

Trail: Olympic Adventure Trail – OAT, Olympic Discovery Trail Adventure Route.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Date: 4/04/2015

Distance: 26 miles, out and back/return trip.

Trailhead: 200 feet approx.

Highpoint: 1200 feet approx.

Elevation Gain: 1000 feet approx.

Trail Difficulty: Easy.

Trail Notes: Many gentle inclines with occasional undulations of 8% grade with a couple of slightly steeper sections. You earn every bit of downhill.

Pass/Parking: None required.

Weather Conditions: Mixed! Upper 30’s to mid 40’s F, bright skies turned to overcast and drizzly. Totally calm/no wind.

Trail Running Details: A very well maintained and clearly marked trail with direction blazes and milepost (MP) markers to use with map. There’s a gradual incline for approx 3.5 miles then you attain a ridge with open views to the South showing majestic snow and cloud capped Olympic mountains. Looking West the valley gives delightful views with just a hint of traffic noise coming from Hwy 101 in the distance.

After MP6 the trail meanders further away from the road and all is quiet. There are sections of dark forest, wide open ridges, DNR unpaved roads/trails and generally a 3 foot wide trail elsewhere.

Soon after mile post 10 the first views of Straights of Juan De Fuca to the North appear between openings in the trees.

Mile 11 to 13 seemed unceasingly uphill and the weather had turned chilly and drizzly, I back tracked about 1/2 mile to where the trail crossed a DNR access route to have “lunch”. My fingers were very cold and I was only just able to open the sealed plastic wrapping of my cheese/salami sticks. Three guys arrived in a truck and started setting up their mountain bikes. I wasn’t able to unscrew the top of my energy performance blend because of cold fingers and had to ask one of the cyclists to pop the top for me. Once sorted out and refreshed I started my return journey.

I set off ahead of the mountain bikers and ran well back to MP9. The mountain bikers whizzed past me several times because they kept stopping for unknown reasons while I jogged continuously. By MP8 I was starting to slow a little and told myself I’d rest at a table and bench I remembered near MP6. Somewhere between MP7 and 6 I took a wrong turn by misinterpreting one of the sign post blazes as I was not wearing my glasses! I sensed I’d gone wrong but probably went at least 1/2 mile before being sure and then back tracked to pick up the right direction.

By the time the table and bench came into view I was definitely ready for a rest after 20 miles of near continuous trail jogging. I ate my Cliff Bar and carefully drank some water, leaving enough for a little later. My body had nicely warmed up again by wearing my thin fleece and wind proof since my “lunch” stop. Lower elevation and no more drizzle also helped.

I wearily set off again becoming slower and slower until after 23 miles of jogging there was no steam left in my engine; I walked the last 3 miles back to my car. It had been a good trip even though it kicked my butt. Originally I set out for a 3 hour run total, but I got lulled into the enjoyment of being somewhere new and would have really liked to have done the through route, all 25 miles of it to Lake Crescent. Logistically that wouldn’t work with only one vehicle/one person. So I opted to run just over halfway and back leaving a similar trip to run from Lake Crescent another time. The next trip will take me from MP25 to MP13 to complete the OAT traverse – in both directions.

Jogging Time: 5 hours plus 45 mins hiking, plus 30 mins for photos and nourishment stops.

Running Gear: Breathable long sleeved tee-shirt, shorts, Drymax socks, Montrail Mountain Marauder running shoes, phone/camera, light long sleeved fleece, light windproof jacket and leggings, Camelbak back pack.

Food and drink: 1 quart water, 1 PowerBar performance energy blend, 4 cheese sticks wrapped in hard salami, 1 Cliff Bar.

Trailhead: SR 112 a couple of miles NW of Hwy 101 junction and 0.3 miles west of Elwha bridge. (West of Port Angeles, WA)

Sign at SR 112

Sign at SR 112

 

Map of OAT

Map of OAT

 

First view looking South

First view looking South

Looking West

Looking West

Typical trail

Typical trail

Straights of Juan De Fuca

Straights of Juan De Fuca

My turn around

My turn around

Drizzle ended but cloudy

Drizzle ended but cloudy