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Phil
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Phil
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PostTue Apr 15, 2014 7:09 am 
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Over the past few years I've been exploring the original route taken by the O'Neil party up the North Fork Skokomish, see trip report here.

I used an old pamphlet put together by the boy scouts, and I thought I would share that here.  You might get some laughs at the suggestions for navigation, see pics Oneil9 and Oneil10.  There are only two BSA historic trails in our state, the O'Neil and the Press trails.  I think I have the Press trail pamphlet laying around somewhere I'll post it if I find it and if there is interest.


Oneil1
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Here is a pic of the 5 Stream crossing...much like the above drawing!
5stream
5stream
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Oneil14
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RodF
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PostTue Apr 15, 2014 9:16 pm 
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This is wonderful, Phil!  Thanks for sharing it.

The O'Neil Pass route remains a mystery to me... what route did O'Neil use on Sept. 11, 1890 to get pack mules from Camp 15 down to Enchanted Valley?  They couldn't have cleared and built trail all the way over to White Creek in one day... that modern trail route doesn't seem to appear on maps until after WWII.  Suspect they followed and improved the elk path straight down the chute to EV?

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Phil
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PostWed Apr 16, 2014 7:50 pm 
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That is a puzzle, Rod.  I had to re-read that section.  As I read it , they cut a zig-zag path down Upper O'neil creek.... but how you could do that in a day I don't know.  Did they report the time-table incorrectly?

Another puzzle for me has always been why they struggled with Jumbo's leap for a week when a little ways up 5 stream you can simply walk across.

Finally, how to find a viewpoint of Honeymoon Falls has frustrated me for years.  When I went through I crossed 6 stream just above the falls.
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Ancient Ambler
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PostThu Apr 17, 2014 6:41 am 
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Thanks very much for sharing this, Phil.

RodF wrote:
The O'Neil Pass route remains a mystery to me... what route did O'Neil use on Sept. 11, 1890 to get pack mules from Camp 15 down to Enchanted Valley?  They couldn't have cleared and built trail all the way over to White Creek in one day... that modern trail route doesn't seem to appear on maps until after WWII.  Suspect they followed and improved the elk path straight down the chute to EV?

Per Robert Wood (Men, Mules and Mountains, pages 295 - 303), it appears that Camp 15 was located in  or quite near to the Upper O"Neil Creek basin, southwest of what the expedition called Grand Divide, now known as O'Neil Pass, and west of what the expedition called Mount Arline, now known as Mount Duckabush.  After lunching at Camp 15, the men "resumed their work, which consisted primarily in following the elk trail and 'cutting a log out here and there.'" (ibid., p. 295).  After stopping to shoot a bear, they "completed the trail that day as far as the rocky point over which the route descended", then camped for the night (ibid., pp. 296, 297).

Apparently the next day,

Quote:
O'Neil joined the trail workers .  The Quinault was 3000 feet below, 'and the descent almost perpendicular, but by zigzagging - making nearly five miles to gain three quarters'-the men finally reached the river bottom.  By noon they had 'completed the trail to the Quinault...connecting onto the elk trail that followed down the stream.'  Although this route gave the long legged elk no difficulty, 'many logs had to be removed 'before the mules could travel it.'   

(ibid., p. 297)  It's pretty clear that the stream referred to in "the elk trail that followed down the stream" is Upper O'Neil Creek, as Wood indicates in his maps #16 and #17 at the back of Men, Mules and Mountains.

Upon reaching the Quinault, the men cached some supplies and ascended their just cleared trail back up to Camp 15, where they were joined by other members of the expedition (ibid., p. 297).  On September 13, Colonel Linsley led a party down the newly cleared trail, describing the new trail as a "long and tiresome descent" and the men's knees were "weak beyond controll" (sic) when they finally reached the Quinault (ibid., p. 303).  Colonel Linsley's group went on to descend the Quinault to Pyrites Creek, ascend Pyrites Basin over to Bretherton Pass and from there make their way toward Queets Basin and beyond. Where the newly cleared trail down Upper O'Neil Creek reached the Quinault, Sergeant Heffner was left to await the arrival of the mule pack train.

If I'm reading Wood's account correctly, it appears that it took them a couple of days to clear the Upper O'Neil Creek elk trail of logs down to the Quinault, a still very impressive bit of work, as the topo map for that area demonstrates:


Upper O'Neil Creek topo
Upper O'Neil Creek topo
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Kim Brown
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PostThu Apr 17, 2014 7:18 am 
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Yowza! Invaluable!
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Phil
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Phil
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PostFri Apr 18, 2014 6:59 am 
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Would be a real adventure to look for parts of that old trail down to the Quinalt valley!   This summer, maybe, I've had Lake Ben area on my list for some time.
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RumiDude
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PostFri Apr 18, 2014 11:04 am 
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Phil wrote:
Would be a real adventure to look for parts of that old trail down to the Quinalt valley!

Ha!  I've had that on my mind since reading about the O'Neil explorations.  I have also wanted to go up Goldie Creek and then over the top like the Christie expedition.  There are a few other historic Olympic Mountain routes I would like to explore, though age is catching up with me.

I wish you luck if you attempt it.

Rumi

PS: Thanks for sharing the pamplet and your story.

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Valhalla Outdoors
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Phil
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PostFri Apr 18, 2014 9:55 pm 
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Well if I do head up to that area I'll let you all know, would be a fun adventure to team up on.
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ranger rock
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PostTue Jul 25, 2017 8:17 pm 
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Thank you!
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InFlight
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PostWed Jul 26, 2017 10:20 am 
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The Boy Scouts have had a youth protection based two-deep leadership policy since at least the 1980s.

This first text page with a maximum group size of 8 to 11 with at least one Adult Leader was surprising.  I never had less than three registered adults come along on high adventure

With scouting groups you have everything from 13 year olds to 17 year olds on high adventures.  That a big difference in physical size, and back-country experience.  A thirteen year old (with not exactly light weight gear  and some troop gear) will simply not keep up with a 17 year old carrying the same weight pack.  Keeping a diverse group of abilities somewhat together on a trail is not the easiest job.

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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...”  ― Henry David Thoreau
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ranger rock
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ranger rock
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 5:18 pm 
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We made it to Jumbo's Leap and could find no signs of disturbance.  Seems like if they really cut down all the timber in the area it would have shown.  Fun hike anyway.
http://mosswalks.blogspot.com/2017/07/four-stream-at-crossing-anyone-who.html
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ranger rock
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ranger rock
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PostSat Aug 19, 2017 9:16 pm 
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The log crossing at 5 steam is gone.  You might have been the last person who got to cross on that log.  I will post a trip report tomorrow.
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Phil
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Phil
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PostSat Oct 07, 2017 10:04 pm 
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Good recon!   Your pic is same place I was all those years ago
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Forum Index > Pacific NW History > O'Neil Historic Hiking Trail
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