22-May-2001 -- On May 22, 2001, my son, Rex Morgan, and I attempted to reach confluence 48°N 124°W. This is located in the Olympic National Forest, near the northwest corner of Olympic National Park, in Washington State. We were not successful, but we did reach a point just 0.53 miles from the confluence.
The accompanying photo is a view to the SSW from a point one mile north of our objective, at an elevation of 2000 feet. The confluence is near Goodman Creek, in a ravine south of the ridge shown in the foreground, at an elevation of 1600 feet. The ridge near the center of the photo, with clear-cut areas prominent on its east side, is west of the confluence. The line to the confluence is near the left edge of the photo.
We found a number of Forest Service roads in the vicinity to be marked fairly accurately on the topographic maps. Our plan was to drive on one of those that ended one-half mile north of the confluence, where the elevation is 1900 feet. Finding that road involved some doubling back because of minor errors in the maps, but much more significant was that at a point 3.0 miles from the confluence the desired road had been made impassable to all vehicles. So we hiked that road, covering about four miles (and approaching 2-1/2 miles closer to the confluence) in less than two hours. That put us 0.53 miles from the confluence, but the terrain beyond there was too rugged for safe access. Starting off-trail hiking from a point a half-mile or more north (where the photo was taken, for example) would seem to be feasible, but at the expenditure of more time and energy than we were prepared for that day. With that plan, an estimate is that four to six hours would be required for the off-trail portion, in addition to about three hours of on-trail hiking. Mountaineering skills would probably not be required, but anyone would be advised to use caution in trying to reach this confluence.
In the photo, two roads can be seen as interruptions in the vegetation on the foreground ridge, one very near the left edge and another near the center of the photo. We hiked the lower road, which ended about one-quarter mile beyond the point visible in the photo.
The clear-cut areas visible in the photo might permit easier access, and those areas might most easily be reached from a Forest Service road visible near the skyline across much of the photo. That road is at about 3200 feet elevation, but there is the possibility that it has also been made impassable to vehicles. (In many places we found that trenches had been dug across the roads at intervals of a few hundred feet, probably when logging from each road was completed.) It might then require as much as 10 miles of hiking on the road to reach the section of road shown, approaching from the northeast or northwest.
Scaling from the topographic map, the slope in the clear-cut areas visible in the photo is about 53% (28°), and it appears to be nearly constant all the way down to Goodman Creek. If the logged area does not extend to the confluence, the presence of tall trees in the bottom of the canyon might mean that a GPS reading cannot be obtained right at the confluence. Readings could not be obtained much of the time we were hiking, because we were on a steep hillside in tall trees.