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TheWanderingIndian
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PostWed Dec 30, 2020 2:52 pm 
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For the past few months Reyes and I have been deciding on where we would go for our 2020 end-of-the-year finale trip. We knew we wanted to go for multiple days and we knew for sure we wanted to go into the Olympics! Well three days before we were supposed to head out for our trip we settled on the destination. The enchanted valley!

We had 3 days, and good for us, the weather looked almost perfect for this trip! We expected rain only for the first hour of hiking then nothing but sunshine with minor clouds......how did we get so lucky during the rainy season of a rainforest!😂

We arrived to the parking lot on Sunday around noon. Definitely not the earliest start but weíll make the most of it, we thought.

Turns out itís kinda hard to make good mile times when youíre checking everything out, Foraging for mushrooms, and taking pictures hahaha. itís ok though, we really wanted to study this Quintessential  Olympic temperate rainforest! I packed my Olympic field guide and we put it to good use on this trip!

We were in shock how big these trees are in this old growth temperate rainforest!


At 3.5 miles we found a campsite that looked to perfect to pass up! This is where we made base camp. A riverside setting next to the powerful quinault, with waterfalls near. We attempted a fire, had a small one going for a few minutes but ultimately the wetness of everything beat us. Itís ok, we had wagyu steaks to keep us warm! What tasty meal and a great day to be in the rainforest!


On the morning of day 2 (after 10 hours of sleep) we awoke to a beautiful blue sky day! The air wasnít to cold. Really a perfect morning. We grabbed only the essentials, leaving a majority of our pack weight at camp, and we were ready to set out for an 18 mile day!


After a few miles from camp we encountered the bogs! Pretty much the trail would turn into a river and then sometimes a small pond. Some off trail maneuvering was needed to get around these with out getting completely soaked.


As we continue, Reyes begins to spot mushrooms everywhere, he even found a healthy sized chicken of the woods. An edible mushroom. The fiend guide is coming in handy!


Right about the time we reached O. Neil camp, the sun began to poke out above the ridge and the forest suddenly came alive! Everything turned to a golden green! The forest began to steam. The warmth from the rays of sun soon filled us the energy and excitement!


With the mountains starting to show themselves high above the tree line, we knew we were getting close to the chalet.


Donít you just love a nice a reflection picture!


As we continue, we began to enter the legendary enchanted valley maple groves! A truly magical place!


About 2 miles before the Chalet we encountered some very light snow. This made the forest even more enchanting!
These next pictures come to you Courtesy of Reyes! He was ahead of me and saw an avalanche in the valley! What a wicked way to enter the final part of the enchanted valley. After a quick history lesson on the Chalet we headed back for our 9 mile walk back with 1.5 hours of daylight left.

Donít molest the Chalet!


About a mile from the chalet, on our return I heard 3 very distinct very faint wild animal calls. The first time I heard it I knew immediately what it was....the Olympic elk.. Reyes didnít catch the calls, and wasnít sure I was really hearing elk. He thought it might be marmots or pika- but I know theyíre far underground by now. We continued hiking and another mile down trail we spotted the heard! The grand Roosevelt elk right across the river. The whole reason I wanted to come into this valley! I couldnít hardly handle my excitement!


As the sun set we prepared for the cold of night and the darkness, but with our headlamps on we soon entered the new world of the rainforest at night! As all the moisture on everything began to freeze and the frost began set in, the light started to shine back at us in a sparkling glittery fashion. Of course the enchanted valley is enchanting at night. It was at this moment we began to think ďare we going to start seeing fairies, pixies, gnomes, and trolls?Ē


We arrived back to camp around 7pm, we Quickly put on dry warm clothes and cooked up a delicious well deserved tortilla soup! How delicious and filling! I added some ramen to mine for a little extra calorie punch! We snacked on tiger butter and hot coco for the next few hours before once again falling asleep to the soothing sounds of the rainforest! The next morning we quickly packed up camp, and headed out for a quick 3.5 miles back to the car, I was hoping to spot more elk on the way out. But a few fellow wise ravens were the only wildlife seen.


One of the coolest things I saw this entire trip besides the Roosevelt elk and the steaming forest, was this unique formation of frost. Itís called frost flowers or feather frost! Absolutely amazing formations!


Reyes even spotted a very large cauliflower mushroom aka sparassis radicata!


The quinault river on the drive out! Iíve seen this river on maps many times, but itís definitely much larger in person!

Even though we were off trail and on our way out, the rainforest decided to treat us a few more times to its beauty and wonder. After only a few miles of driving we found another herd of elk on the side of the road! So close to us it weíd crazy! What magnificent animals! I can see why Theodore Roosevelt wanted to protect this unique wonderland and very special large elk!


The rainforest wasnít done yet! A wicked waterfall right off the side of the road to!


What a great way to end a year of awesome backpacking!

I wonder where the first trip of 2021 will be??
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kitya
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PostWed Dec 30, 2020 4:31 pm 
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While frost flower/feather frost is the generic term for all thin structured frost formations, I think what you specifically have is a subset of it called "hair ice".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frost_flower

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_ice

Hair ice is specifically interesting because it is actually created by a fungus living inside dead trees - Exidiopsis effusa. Hair ice is always forms on dead branches of trees that are free from bark, and this is what you have on your photos. But it only forms if it is cold enough, only on wood of some specific broadleaf trees and only if the branch is being consumed by the fungus.

Here is another short article from wta about it:

https://www.wta.org/news/signpost/hair-ice-even-cooler-than-you-thought
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Pyrites
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PostWed Dec 30, 2020 4:41 pm 
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Nice to see all that winter sunshine.

How far was the chalet from the river bank?
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TheWanderingIndian
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PostWed Dec 30, 2020 6:11 pm 
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Dude awesome information! Thank your for the correction, I had no idea what it really was. But it feels way more special seeing it because it needs such specific conditions
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zephyr
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PostWed Dec 30, 2020 7:28 pm 
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Wow!  So many beautiful photographs.  Many are stunning.  What a magical place this is.  It's like hiking through a story book.  Thank you.   ~z

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Felpudo
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PostWed Dec 30, 2020 9:52 pm 
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What a great trip! Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
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Nancyann
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PostWed Dec 30, 2020 10:30 pm 
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Your last trip report of the year is spectacular! I love your style of storytelling and your pictures are magnificent, what a treat. Thanks for taking the time to brighten up our lives as a miserable year finally grinds to a close. smile.gif
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Bootpathguy
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 8:13 am 
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Thanks for sharing. What a great read. Love the images.

Elk cow calls are distinct. Its a really cool experience to be surrounded by 30, 40 or fifty head of cow elk all communicating to one another with that cute "mew" or "chirp". I can absolutely understand that sound being mistaken for a pika or bird.

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Experience is what'cha get, when you get what'cha don't want
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NWtrax
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 11:12 am 
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That is a magical area indeed. EV is the area that got me hooked for good on the Olympics and getting out into nature whenever possible. Thanks so much for your report!
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TheWanderingIndian
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 11:47 am 
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Yeah this trip was really awesome, every moment had something special to offer! The Olympics are definitely the place to be if you enjoy flora & fuana! I always see tons of wildlife in them, wether Iím on the Eastside mountains (from the buckhorn area to the brothers area) or the coast (from cape flattery to cape Alava) and now the rainforest (enchanted valley). That whole peninsula has so much to offer itís wild!
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Get Out and Go
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 5:32 pm 
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Love your magical photographical trip.  I was intrigued by the photo of the trailside log, as I feel I sat right there with a companion a few decades ago, though at that time it was not moss covered.  suuure.gif   Sheesh...could have been a thousand other different logs, but I choose to believe it was that one.  peace.gif


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"These are the places you will find me hiding'...These are the places I will always go."
(Down in the Valley by The Head and The Heart)

"Sometimes you're happy.  Sometimes you cry.
Half of me is ocean.  Half of me is sky."
(Thanks, Tom Petty)
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blendergasket
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PostFri Jan 01, 2021 4:02 pm 
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Thank you for the. Awesome trip report and splendid pics! I've been wondering what the valley is like in the winter.

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"He who would understand the Book of Nature must walk its pages with his feet"
~Paracelsus
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RodF
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PostFri Jan 01, 2021 11:54 pm 
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Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos.   up.gif

Do so wish the National Park Service applied the "Don't Molest the Chalet" rules to itself.  Tragically, it plans to demolish, stack and burn the Chalet.   frown.gif

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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 captivatedĒ - Vandana Shiva
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Gregory
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PostSat Jan 02, 2021 6:45 am 
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Love your trip reports the picks are awesome and the excitement is real. Thanks for sharing.
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TheWanderingIndian
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PostSat Jan 02, 2021 7:00 am 
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I had no idea the chalet is to be removed! Makes getting back there even more special!
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