Enchanted Valley Backpack – 06-13-2014 to 06-15-2014

Mountaineers B3 backpack up the Quinault River within the Olympic National Park. Even though the weather forecast was gloomy (80% chance of precipitation some days), we managed to have mostly dry backpack. This turned out far better than anyone in our party had anticipated.

Enchanted Valley Backpack – 06-13-2014 to 06-15-2014 (Fullscreen Slideshow)

We camped both nights at Oneill’s Creek camp. Mice were a small nuisance to some in our group. One mouse actually chewed a hole in one tent and ran up one William’s arm.

On day 2, we day hiked to Enchanted Valley, the highlight of the trip. There is a very interesting foot bridge crossing the Quinault River just before entering the Enchanted Valley. There are numerous waterfalls on the northwest face of the valley. In the lower valley on the way in, we saw a small herd of elk, or perhaps we only saw a few members of a large herd. On the way out, just after leaving the valley, we saw an even larger group, perhaps 40 to 50 members. Trail runners would probably miss seeing this herd – they are quiet and blend rather well with the environment. We also saw ducks, and a red breasted sapsucker. Thanks to Joanna and Barbara, who knew a lot about what we were seeing for identifying birds and plants, I learned to identify sword fern, bracken fern, licorice fern, deer fern, lady fern, and maidenhair fern on this trip. This region is so diverse with plant life that we could not identify everything we saw.

Thom Rose posted a well written report to WTA at Quinault River-Pony Bridge-Enchanted Valley.

Participants include Nicole Hansen (leader), Linda Kuramoto (co-leader), Joanna Berg, William Borrows, Thom Rose, Barbara Vane, and Rayna Weth. What a great group to share 3 days and 2 night with!
References:

Big trees, a narrow canyon, and a little taste of the Enchanted Valley Trail, a 19-mile path deep into the Olympic interior. Explore the same primeval rainforest valley that explorers of the 1890 O’Neil Expedition set out across. Witness a wilderness not unlike the one those intrepid souls experienced. Come here in the heart of winter and find yourself among one of the largest elk herds in America.

Driving Directions
From Hoquiam travel north on US 101 for 35 miles. Turn right (east) onto the South Shore Road, located 1 mile south of Amanda Park. Proceed on this road for 13.5 miles (passing the Forest Service’s Quinault Ranger Station at 2 miles), coming to a junction at the Quinault River Bridge. Continue right, proceeding 6.2 miles to the road’s end and the trailhead. Privy available.
Trailhead GPS coordinates (47.5728, -123.5699)

Hiking Stats:
30.00 miles, 3603 ft. gain, 2 days, 2 hrs, 15 min.

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