Type of HikeMulti-night backpack
We started out from Obstruction Point on the Badger Vally Trail and within five minute, we hit a fairly steep lingering snow patch. The snow was soft and stiff boots and trekking poles would probably have sufficed, but, since we were carrying ice axes for use later on, we busted them out here and were glad to have them. After another short stretch of trail and a quick glissade, we were in the lovely Badger Valley. Soon enough, we saw a black grazing happily and very nearly on the trail ahead of us. After watching it for a while we made a broad uphill detour to go around the bear. The undemanding path through Badger Valley carried us into Grand Valley and a series of three lakes. If you are headed this way, be sure to go at least to Moose Lake as it is much prettier than Grand Lake. Beyond Moose, little Gladys Lake is perched into a sublime valley filled with frolicing marmots and friendly deer. The next day, we left our base camp at Gladys and headed out toward Grand Pass. There is still a fair bit of snow on the trail in this area. We followed snatches of trail between snow patches. Where the trail finally leaves off, you'll want to head to the right and then up the right side of the snow slopes toward Grand Pass, where you'll find spectacular views into the heart of the Olympics. From Grand Pass, there is a short side trail up to Grand View Peak which is aptly named and certainly delivers for the small amount of additional effort required to get there. Be careful on the side slopes out there. When we came back from Grand Pass, we saw a tumult of snow that had come down a valley wall while we were gone. What I'll remember most about this hike were the lovely pairings of wildflowers. In one stretch, the trail was lined by two kinds of spiky flowers, the bright magenta elephant's head lousewort and the brilliant white bog orchid. Both have such exquisite little flowers, so the effect was stunning both from a distance and up close. Near Gladys Lake, cheery yellow buttercups bloomed beneath pale white pasqueflowers. On one steep slope, the broad blooms of cow parsnip towered over the slender paintbrush in the grass. And, those are just a few of the great blends, as no less than two dozen species are currently in bloom. Here are a few more we saw: penstemon, aster, alpine daisy, phlox, fawn lily, shooting star, avalanche lily, saxifrage, queens cup, lupine, bistort, and fringecup. All this, and I think the wildflower show is about a week ahead of its prime time.