Finally Finding the Gravel

Olympic Circumnavigation Day 4

August 10, 2020

The small restaurant in Amada Park hit all the marks: it was open early, the staff didn’t seem too angry, the portions were generous and the food tasted okay.  My rule number one on these types of multi-day endeavors is to eat everything put in front of me, but on this day I was beaten by the Mt Everest of hash browns.  I tried, just couldn’t do it.

At 85 miles the wasn’t going to be short, but this was the day I had been looking forward to as the route was primarily on gravel and paved backroads as opposed to highway slogging.  Once again we were on our own with respect to food and water as we didn’t anticipate a fuel or water stop anywhere along the route.

After a short roll down Highway 101 through the hamlet of Neilton we turned left onto an old logging road that rendered a shortcut to Donkey Creek Road.  Donkey Creek is one of those mysterious beautifully paved wonderfully wide road in literally the middle of nowhere. 

Steve accurately described today’s route as a giant W, we were now heading up the second leg of the W towards Wynoochee Lake and the abandoned town of Grisdale.  I never actually say anything that looked like a town in the vicinity of where Grisdale was supposed to be but no big deal we were once again on rolling tarmac heading down the third leg of the W.  I was starting to feel the sun when I caught up with Steve and Blaine waiting for me at the gravel turnoff leading to Cougar Smith road.

This is some great riding, cruising along not much of a care in the world.  We continued past a few houses that must constitute Deckerville and then onto Matlock where we were surprised to find a small general store.  I had been rationing my third water bottle and was super happy at the opportunity to get a Coke and a Nutrageous bar.  Steve bought some chips and we all replenished lost sodium.

We now were heading due east with the assistance of our trusty tailwind.  As we neared Shelton we passed by the Washington Corrections Center where the entire fence line is interlaced with stainless steel concertina wire.  Prisons seem to exude negative energy; no doubt too many Americans wake up each day behind walls and concertina wire.

We turned left onto Highway 101 north of Shelton and new we were cruising downhill towards our reserved campsite at Potlach State Park.  Potlach is a few miles south of Hoodsport on the southern tip of Hood canal.  In general the camping area was nice, with several good clean showers, but to boil it down to one word our campsite sucked.  The area designated as our camping site didn’t have an inch of level ground, luckily Blaine noticed the two unoccupied first come first served hiker/biker spots across the road.  Both spots had perfectly level tent platforms; time to move.

Steve and I took a taxi to Hoodsport where I went to the grocery store while Steve went to the local hamburger shack.  The hamburgers cost us twice their value in taxi wait time, but what the heck, this was our last night out so why not splurge. 

And splurge we did.  Steve had ordered hamburgers, chicken strips, spicey chicken wings, onion rings and French fries.  We ate, drank beer and felt fortunate for such a cool adventure.

Olympic scenery
Steve and Blaine on the gravel
Old logging road between Hwy 101 and Donkey Creek Road
This is what I came for

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