Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Backpacking: The Enchanted Valley

The Enchanted Valley Chalet

Dates hiked: Friday September 15 - Sunday September 17, 2017
Location: Enchanted Valley in Olympic National Park
Miles Hiked: 32.5 miles
Elevation Gain: >2000 ft
Notable things we saw: Enchanted Valley Chalet and the world's oldest Western Hemlock (it's a tree)
Permits & Passes: Walk-up permit can be obtained at the ranger station for $8/per person, per night. National Park parking pass needed. No cap on the walk-up permits for this trail!
Bear Canisters needed

Goal: Enchanted Valley

We originally had permits to hike the Enchantments 9/14-9/16, but the week before we were supposed to go, I got a call from recreation.gov (the website you book the permits through), and got a recording saying they had cancelled all Enchantments permits from September 3-16, 2017 due to the forest fires and trail closures. I was completely bummed! We had been looking forward to this backpacking trip all summer. Sarina, Cody, and I had already requested time off with work too. We all still wanted to go backpacking, so instead of taking 2 days off, we all decided to take 1 day off and head out to backpack the Enchanted Valley.

Friday September 15, 2017
We left Seattle around 5:30 AM for Quinault Ranger Station and pulled into the parking lot by 8:30 AM. We spoke to the rangers, picked up our permits, confirmed with them that we had bear canisters, and were on our way to the trailhead by 10:00 AM. We took one big break at O'Neil Creek Camp 6.5 miles in, and hiked all the way to the Chalet that first day and got in and set up camp before 6:00 PM. We filtered water, set up camp, cooked dinner, and headed to bed pretty early. Now that the days are getting shorter, when we camp, we end up going to bed before 9:00 PM.

Miles hiked: 13.5 miles

Night #1 Campsite

Saturday Septmeber 16, 2017
We slept in and got up around 8:00 AM that day. We made breakfast and decided to hike to the world's oldest Western Hemlock. It's about 2.2 miles from the Chalet, the opposite way of the trailhead. We left our tents up and carried light packs since we knew we weren't going to be gone for long. The tree wasn't actually that impressive lol. But cool to say we've seen the world's oldest! It definitely was not the biggest tree I've ever seen though. We hiked back to the Chalet, ate lunch, packed up camp, and decided we would hike back to O'Neil Creek Camp and spend the night there. It was 7 miles from the Chalet. We didn't want to do a lot of mile Sunday when we hiked out, if that hadn't been our mindset though, Pyrites Camp was way nicer looking than O'Neil. O'Neil Creek Camp ended up being a 1/4 mile off trail, and the spots weren't that close to the river (for easy access to filter water). We ended up setting up camping kinda close to the water, then I decided I wasn't happy with the spot because our tents were literally overlapping, and ended up moving out tents up the hill to a bigger spot. We hammocked, ate dinner, and called it a night.

Miles hiked:11.5 miles

Sunday September 17, 2017
This was the only morning we got up before 7:00 AM. Rain was in the forecast that day and we wanted to get back to our car as fast as possible. So we ate a quick breakfast, packed up camp, and were back to trailhead by 11:30 AM, just as the rain started coming down. Perfect timing!

Miles hiked: 6.5 miles

We drove out, grabbed a bite to eat in Aberdeen, WA and were back in Seattle before dinner time! Overall, this trail wasn't hard, just long. Some parts were a little boring, but the old growth forest was nice to walk through. No bear sightings for us this trip, but we spoke with some people who did cross paths with some deeper in the mountains on Anderson Glacier! Another great weekend backpacking.

Until next time Olympics!
 Crossing NoName Creek
 Neat handmade bridge
 We wondered why there was a gate right before we reached the Chalet?
Another bridge crossing
 Built in the 1930s
Old Growth
World's Oldest Western Hemlock
Edible fungus! Nicknamed "Chicken of the Woods"
 I was not happy with this tent setup, shortly after we moved location
 O'Neil Creek Camp
Hike out of the Enchanted Valley
Victory Meal at Lighthouse Drive In in Aberdeen!

No comments:

Post a Comment