Name: Kim Kovacs
Location: Portland, OR
Occupation: Systems Engineer
Total Mileage: 410.6

Other Interests:
Kayaking, XC skiing (although I'm not very good at it), snowshoeing. Beyond the outdoors, I like arts events (plays, orchestra concerts, opera) and I love to read.

Favorite Hikes:
Paradise Park on Mt. Hood in mid-August; Goat Rocks; Ruckle Ridge Scramble

Favorite Gear:
Garmin GPS, K2 external frame backpack, Osprey Talon day pack.

Enchanted Valley

 Enchanted Valley

Enchanted Valley

07.11.2011 - 07.15.2011
36.3 miles

Day 1:  We hiked from the Graves Creek trailhead uphill about two miles along a long-abandoned road, eventually reaching a beautiful overlook of the East Fork of the Quinault River above Pony Bridge.  A half-mile long downhill took us to the bridge itself and more gorgeous views, after which the trail wound uphill again.  It continued with short uphill and downhill stretches for the next five miles, after which we arrived at O'Neil Creek Camp.  We were the second party to arrive, but by the end of the day every available spot was taken -- it was a very busy place to be.

Day 2:  The trail for this next stretch was much more gradual, although we still had about 1400' of elevation gain over 7.2 miles.  Needless to say, it was quite pretty.  We passed the well-known landmarks of the trail (the gate before the valley, the bridge crossing, and of course the chalet) before reaching our camp.   We did see one bear on the other side of the Quinault every morning and evening while we were there, and a herd of elk was present throughout our stay as well.  It seemed all camp sites were full, but things were spread out enough that it didn't feel overly crowded.  We certainly weren't lonely though!

Day 3: We were hoping to get as far as Anderson Pass, but weren't sure what we'd encounter in the way of snow.  The only reports we'd had were older.  So, up the valley we went, enjoying beautiful views along the way.  We hit a rapidly weakening snow bridge which we did opt to cross, but a little farther on we encountered a damaged bridge over White Creek, which we decided looked too risky.  (It was a narrow log over a high whitewater gorge with an immediate drop-off, and it looked unlikely that someone would survive a slip off it.  It used to have a handrail, but that was no longer present.)  A ranger later told us that we wouldn't have been able to get much farther, as we'd have soon encountered snow.  So back to camp we headed, round trip distance 7.1 miles.  Camp was much less occupied. Many may have left because it was so wet out (we'd had rain each day, and all day Wednesday), or perhaps Wednesday is simply the least-populated night to camp there.

Day 4:  Back down the valley to O'Neil.  We saw a western tanager and a family of harlequin ducks at the camp.  This camp again appeared to be full.

Day 5 and out.  Due to the near constant rain, the trail was very muddy.    There were lots of people on their way in, bound for both O'Neil and Pyrites Creek camps.


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By kendalla on 07/18/2011  10:24

Thanks for the report. I saw on the Park Service web site that they recommend bear canisters for food and garbage. Do you use one? It sounds like it might be a convenient way to carry food on any backpack trip, not just in bear country, but I'm curious what your experiences are.


Total Posts: 14

By erlall on 07/21/2011  11:31

Sounds like fun Kim! We hiked the trip over the extended 4th of July weekend. I concur, the trail is busy, but very pretty. Next month, one should be able to do a complete walk through to the opposite trail head. Regarding: kendalla and bear canisters. Personally, I cannot say I have ever used one. I simply bring some parachutte cord and hang my food away from where I am camping.... never had an issue. Cheers.


Total Posts: 50

By Forrest on 08/05/2011  13:10

I own a couple bear canisters...we only generally bring them if there are bears or racoons in the area, but they make overnight food storage nice and easy and they make pretty decent chairs!


Total Posts: 315

By PDXHiker on 08/22/2011  11:43

Rats, I didn't realize I had comments here! Regarding bear canisters, they're a really good idea in the Olympics simply because there are so many bears around. Otherwise, they've got their advantages and disadvantages. They make great chairs and it's great not having to search out a bear hang, particularly where it's difficult to find suitable limbs. However, they're extra weight. We opted to take ours to the Wallowas, but in retrospect the additional weight wasn't worth the convenience they provided.


Total Posts: 53