I am hitting the rewind button and heading back to my first hike, which happened to be the perfect kick off to the summer season- Memorial Day weekend; let me tell you, it was amazing! It was spent in the Quinault Rainforest heading to Enchanted Valley.
I would like to point out two things before we continue: first this was my first hike in about 5 months and second it was an overnight camping trip, which meant carrying a backpack that held more than just my water bottle and some snacks!
None the less, I was extremely excited when a my wonderful friends, Brittany and Matt, proposed the idea of a camping trip for the holiday weekend! I had been anxious to get out and start getting more miles in while also getting to camp with my new gear (which I had done a ton of research on, and I must admit I am very pleased with my purchases)!
It was decided that we would head to the Enchanted Valley in the Olympic National Park.
If the Enchanted Valley is not on your bucket list, it needs to be! You are hiking through the Quinault Rainforest following its beautiful river. It truly is one of the most beautiful places I have been in Washington. Plus, this trail is great for everyone; from beginner hikers to advanced backpackers, this area has it all.
The Quinault Rainforest has well marked trails for the Enchanted Valley and is a relatively flat hike (there were a couple hills that were a doozy!). It follows closely to the Quinault River through old growth rainforest and into a glacial valley. From beautiful river views, to assorted wildlife sightings – this trail basically has it all.
I was honestly so excited when I heard that Black bears were a common sight while traveling to the Enchanted Valley! But to my dismay (and most likely my mom’s delight), we did not encounter one while we were there.
We climbed over trees with roots as large as houses, carefully danced through rivers and trekked through miles of breath-taking backcountry with paths lined with massive trees.
Seriously, this place was like a fairytale.
The trailhead sign says its 13.5 miles to get to Enchanted Valley, but when I did a little research its closer to about 15 miles. Unfortunately, we only made it 9.5 miles in, which honestly was perfectly fine with me.
Let’s remember it was my first hiking trip and my pack weighted about 35 pounds!
It was getting late, and we were getting exhausted. So after a little while longer of wandering around, we found this perfect spot right next to the river to set up camp!
We had so much fun; it was beautiful, and challenging and completely exhausting! But listening to the river all night long, being in the forest with your best friends, and drinking our coffee right in front of the river was totally worth it!
Next year we will make it the whole way!