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Trip Report

North Fork Quinault River and Halfway House, Whiskey Bend to Low Divide — Saturday, Jul. 21, 2018

Olympic Peninsula
Ready to head out, with 12 pounds packs and all!

Myself and 3 other women attempted the Press Traverse FKT for an unsupported all-female group. 

We dirt bagged at the trailhead on Friday night and got a few hours sleep. With fully-loaded packs, we took off at 0753 from the N. Fork Quinault trailhead. The trail is overgrown in some places, Salmonberry bushes were ripe but taking over a lot of the trail. There with some occasional downed trees, but nothing too bad before 16-mile. There is a very dicey crumbling section of trail which has washed out over a steep overhang approx 11-12 miles in. Upon reaching 16-mile crossing, we were pleased to find it was only knee-deep, and very refreshing! 

A few miles past the river crossing, there is a significant landslide that has left the trail unrecognizable. The size of those boulders and massive trees scattered down the hillside sure has a way of making you feel so insignificant! We climbed our way across this and pressed on. We reached Low Divide meadows at 1320, and stopped for a quick lunch and to change socks.  After this point, we were able to keep our feet dry for the remainder of our day. The privy at the Low Divide campsite was closed. 

We reached the first Elwha crossing at 1458, and refilled our hydration packs from the river. The log crossing is very sturdy, and will hopefully stay that way for a long time! The second Elwha crossing also has a log bridge. We came across a bear about 40 yards upstream here - so cool! Near Chicago Camp, there is a decent group of blown down trees obscuring the trail and requiring some climbing/navigating. Someone has hung some pink ribbon, and if you look for that, and the cross-cut logs from previous work parties, you'll find your way.  

Weaving thru the moss-carpeted trails from Camp Wilder to Camp Hayes was beautiful! The sunlight peeked thru the trees, and the trails are soft and smooth! I had not realized how many shelters were out there - and seeing them and the old cabins was really neat! 

Just before reaching Lillian river, we took out our headlamps because it was starting to get dark in the trees. Once it got dark in earnest, we tried to keep pace with a brisk hike for the remainder of the trail. We reached the Whisky Bend TH at 2341, 15h 48min after leaving from N.Fork Quinault. 

The rest of journey to the car was a slog down the service road, getting stalked by a beady pair of eyes in the dark (cougar?), and crossing temporary bridges over a raging Elwha. Met our ride at the Madison Falls parking lot, put on some dry clothes and have never fallen asleep so fast... :) 

Crossing 16-mile
Crossing Elwha footbridge
Loving the mossy single track!


Posted by:

Anna Roth on Jul 27, 2018 02:44 PM

Posted by:

Wanderlust Hangover on Jul 27, 2018 06:46 PM

Posted by:

Anna Roth on Jul 30, 2018 08:54 AM

DeathnGravity on North Fork Quinault River and Halfway House, Whiskey Bend to Low Divide

Nice work!
Think I met that cougar about 5 years ago going N to S with a 1000pm drop off @ Elwha

Posted by:

DeathnGravity on Sep 21, 2018 03:47 PM