07-Sep-2001 -- Using a suggestion made by Walt Morgan and Rex Morgan on their previous attempt to this confluence (May 22, 2001), I planned my approach to the confluence from the West. On Friday, September 7 I ditched work and made for the Olympic Peninsula via the Kingston Ferry. I exited US Hwy 101 just after the Sol Doc River Bridge across from Klahowya Campground (elev 780 ft and 9 mi. past Fairholm) and drove 11 miles on FS-29, a winding, paved road that was overgrown and cracked. I then proceeded another mile on an un-maintained logging road that descended the ridge northwest of the confluence, stopping when the road became impassable in my car (elev 2490 ft). The confluence was 1.5 miles to the southeast.
I packed up, donned my REI adventure hat, and prepared for a wet and steep descent to Goodman Creek. I departed at 9:18am and continued east down the road until it terminated at a steep, forested hillside (elev 2120 ft). I could find no easy route down so I basically dove in headfirst and spent the next 55 minutes scrambling through the dense undergrowth that is the Olympic National Forest [photo 2]. The main problem, however, wasn't the slippery, wet vegetation; it was the downfall of small trees, often 3-4 deep, from an early logging operation, whose only concern was the removal of the old growth. The only thing motivating me to continue was the sound of Goodman Creek, onto which I finally emerged at 10:21 (elev 1300 ft). I vowed to find another route back up to the car for the return trip. The creek bed was too narrow and the trees too tall to get a satellite signal for my gps.
I spent a short time changing into my sandals for the hike upstream toward the confluence, which was a little over 1 mile south. The glacier-fed water was ice cold, but 10 minutes of carefully placed steps (and carefully placed expletives) was enough to numb my feet to the cold. Despite my right sandal breaking at the heel, I was determined to make the confluence, mainly so I wouldn't have to return for another attempt. Parts of the creek were level and clear, but there were several large sections where logs and rocks were piled 10-15 feet high that I had to climb over, usually on slippery rock. About halfway to the confluence, the valley walls opened up enough to get a weak gps lock. I was hopeful that the confluence would offer the same opportunity. It did, as more recent logging wiped the westward hill of trees. I was able to follow my progress the final .4 miles to the spot along the creek closest to the confluence, which I reached at 11:35 (elev 1440 ft) [photo 3 & 4].
The confluence lay about 200ft east of the creek. Unfortunately the walls of the valley were even steeper than my earlier descent, but I was determined to make it closer to the confluence. Luckily it wasn't steep enough to deter vegetation, which I used repeatedly to prevent me from slipping down the slope. After gaining about 40 feet, the slope eased and I was more easily able to make my way uphill and closer to the confluence. At 12:05, I decided to halt any attempts to appease the gps gods and found a nearby stump right on the edge of the valley wall that would provide adequate views. My gps indicated it was a mere 21 ft from the actual confluence point, with an accuracy of 37 ft. I ate lunch atop the confluence stump and took pictures standing on it [photo 1 and composite photo 5]. Unfortunately, the close-up pictures I took of the gps reading were blurry (I remember it being just shy of the confluence in both directions (N47.9995 and W123.9992 is what I remember) [photo 6].
After lunch and a short rest, I descended the steep slope and began my return trip. While marching through a section of the creek, a small bat flew gently past me from behind, fluttering just a few feet above the water. Initially I was curious what a bat was doing out at midday. This curiosity turned to fear as it came around and headed directly toward me, just as curious about me. I shooed him away with my hat and quickly left the area. I could not find another route that would take me close to my car, so I ended up ascending the same difficult hill that I previously descended; this time however I angled across the slope, which only helped slightly. I emerged onto the road extremely exhausted and reached the car at 2:38pm.