I hadn't been to Olympic National Park in a few years and decided to hike up the North Fork of the Skokomish River up and over First Divide, camp at a meadow area called Home Sweet Home, drop down to the Duckabush River trail, and go up it to Marmot Lake, and above that Hart Lake and Lake LaCrosse. And then come back the same way. The trip ended up being during a heat wave and only late one afternoon did clouds gather and last through the evening, clearing an hour after sunset. My camps were at Nine Stream, Home Sweet Home, Marmot Lake, and Two Bear campsites.
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North Fork Skokomish River trail to First DivideI arrived at the trailhead at an area called Staircase, the most southeastern part of Olympic National Park, after lunch and hit the trail just after 2pm. It was about 9.5 miles and only 1000 foot gain to the first camp at Nine Stream camping area, where I arrived at about 6:30pm. There were other campers but I got a very secluded site. I was off at 8:30am the next morning for the 2600 gain to First Divide. From there it was 20 minutes down to Home Sweet Home.
Home Sweet Home and along the Duckabush River TailI dropped down Today I had to drop 1600 feet down to the Duckabush River Trail and then go up 2000 feet to the lakes. The descent were easy switchbacks but the first section along the Duckabush was much rougher, with steep ups and downs across ravines. Then you had to wade across the river, though this was not too hard. Then it was 1000 feet up to Marmot Lake.
Three Lakes: Marmot, Hart, and LaCrosseThese three popular lakes are high above the Duckabush River. I ended up camping at Marmot Lake and hiking up around the other two during the afternoon. Marmot was slightly lower but had the best views and was a bit more sheltered as clouds moved in that evening. My view of Mt Steel was from the opposite side from when I was at Home Sweet Home. The hike essentially went from it's south side to it's north side.