Reclamation and Renewal on the Dosewallips

This entry was from the 2011 Celebrate Elwha! Writers Contest.

I think it’s a wonderful narrative and it makes me want to head

right up the Dosewallips! – The Incidental Explorer.

Story and photos by Mary Ann Kae

Road ends at the river washout

Road ends at the river washout

If you crave solitude on a day hike, it’s not difficult to find in the Olympics if you can work the geography, weather and calendar to your advantage. Head out on an off-season, mid-week day with the forecast threatening showers, and pick a destination in the Olympic rain shadow, where it’s likely to be driest. This strategy worked well on a recent pre-Memorial Day excursion to Quilcene.

The plan was to introduce my friend Yeshe to the Dosewallips River valley and see the transformations wrought by the 2002 flood which had washed out the road about three miles from the park boundary and the lightning fire in 2009 that obliterated the Lake Constance trail.

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White Water Rafting on the Elwha River


By Cara Patten

White Water Rafting on the Elwha River Pt1

I arrived at Olympic Raft and Kayak with three of my best friends for a day of whitewater rafting on the Elwha River. My nerves concentrated with anxiety and excitement. As the weather of Western Washington so often disappoints, we donned wet suits, rain coats and water shoes to combat the cold and windy, yet beautifully sunny day. After being fitted for life jackets and taking pictures of our ridiculously insulated selves, we were given instructions on rafting etiquette and set off for the river.

After a short drive, we pulled over and boarded the rafts, commencing the journey with our tour guide, Heather, taking up the steering at the back of the raft. After realizing that the Class II+ rapids which we were riding were not nearly the thrashing, murderous waves I imagined, I began to relax and enjoy the scenery. We were surrounded by forests of dense, green trees set against a background of snowcapped peaks of the Olympic Mountains, Mount Carrie appearing prominent and picturesque. The Mount Carrie glacier is responsible for the icy, yet clear and strikingly turquoise water of the Elwha River.

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