|The Enchanted Valley Chalet is located within Olympic National Park in Jefferson County, Washington. It is in the East Fork Quinault River Valley, about 13 miles hike from the Graves Creek trailhead at the end of South Shore Road. The estimated coordinate at the structure's south corner is 47°40'16"N, 123°23'21"W. This coordinate was obtained on July 28, 2014 using Google Maps. The satellite image appears to be from summer, 2013 judging by the distance between the Chalet and riverbank. 1 There are no restrictions on releasing this location. The Chalet will have been temporarily relocated 50-100 feet northeast by mid-September, 2014.|
|Olympic National Park, National Park Service, Department of the Interior. 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362.|
|This structure most recently served as backcountry ranger station and emergency shelter for Olympic National Park, but it is presently closed.|
|The Enchanted Valley Chalet is historically significant as an example of rustic architecture and recreational development in the western United States. Today it is the largest log structure in the Olympic Mountains and is the only surviving example of backcountry commercial developments within the park. It is significant to the local communities in Quinault and the Grays Harbor area because of its historical association with longtime residents such as the Olson family and members of The Olympians hiking club. Architecturally, the building retains a high degree of integrity in its remote location, setting, vernacular design, materials, fine craftsmanship, and feeling. Furthermore, the Chalet is a valuable illustration of how people impacted the Olympics throughout the nineteenth century, including exploration, settlement, resource exploitation, recreational development, national defense, and wilderness stewardship.|
|Charlotte Helmer, Engineering Technician (Architecture) at Olympic National Park. This report was completed in September, 2014.|
Project Information: This project was supervised by Ellen Gage, Historic Architect at Olympic
Nation Park [ONP]. Research and writing was completed during the
summer of 2014 and headquartered at ONP. Editing was done by Ellen
Gage; Dave Conca, Cultural Resources Program Manager; and Paul
Gleeson, former Chief of Cultural Resources. Additional guidance came
from Christine Avery, Historian for the National Park System [NPS] and
regional HABS/HAER reviewer.
Historical report: ONP staff members who contributed to the archival, bibliographic, and primary research for this project are Gay Hunter, Curator; Jacilee Wray, Anthropologist; Larry Lack, Trail Supervisor; Jason Benson, Backcountry Carpenter; and Jonathan Schmitz and Daniel Leckie, both interns to the Historic Architect. The historian also consulted John Olson, son of Ignar and Jessie Olson; Ernie Vail, former ONP Trails Supervisor; Al Gregory, Historian of the Olympians; Duck Houk, former ONP Backcountry Carpenter; Daniel Pontbriand, former ONP Ranger; and Paul Gleeson, former Chief of Cultural Resources.
Photographs: Lani Doely, an independent photographer, took HABS standard photographs of the Chalet in May, 2014. She was assisted by Terry Doely, Jonathan Schmitz, and Charlotte Helmer.
Drawings: Charlotte Helmer prepared elevations, plans, and a section drawing based on photographs, two site visits, and previous drawings by The Olympians, Inc. and Leah Over. These drawings assist with documentation of the Chalet but are not intended to fully comply with HABS standards.
|"ENJOY THE OLYMPICS at Camp South Fork with Olson Bros., Olympic Guides. OPEN JULY 3. Rates $4.50 a day at camp, everything furnished. Saddlehorses $3 a day. Special trips 3 to 5 persons, $6 a day each; 6 to 9 persons, $5 a day each; 10 or more, $4 a day. Includes food, all camp equipment but blankets, and transportation for 35 pounds of baggage. Fifteen cents per pound for extra baggage. Trips to all parts of the Olympics" 24|
"Dear Sirs: [...] We have been in the packing business since long before there were even
any Forest Service trails built at all, and we have been to the heads of all these rivers with
horses in those days when we had to make our own trails and have followed it right thru the
pioneering stage and I believe we should be given a fair trial to prove what we can do and to
reap some of the benefit of our time and troubles. We have fifteen first class horses on hand
now and fell equipments which will be practically useless to us if we are turned down on our
East Fork applications. We have had an application in on these sites ever since early last
summer but have not yet gotten any real action. We are anxious to start work this spring and
be ready for this year's tourist season and we are ready to start construction soon as permit is
At about the 21 mile post on the East Fork Quinault the trail suddenly breaks from continuous timber to a great open park extending along both sides of the river, flanked by rock walls but particularly on the north side by miles of imposing precipices, and rugged escarpments. Hundreds of small waterfalls in moister season, shoot, trickle, cascade, or otherwise pour over these cliffs into a scenic masterpiece. At a very rough estimate, some of the falls cascade down 1500 to 2000 feet, all in full sight of the observer. In dry season these give way to perhaps 20 to 30 small streams, still alive with spectacular cascades and falls. This, together with the wonderful background of snow peaks and glaciers, and immediate foreground of open, elk-trimmed, grass-floored, hardwood parks, makes a most wonderfully attractive scenic playground. 26
"One of my brothers, Teander was up there with his team and hauled the logs in getting
them off the hill [..] Criswell was quite an old man. But his son did the scoring and then
Criswell would come in and he would just [..] knock off these slabs. He had a broad axe,
but the darn thing must have weighed fifteen pounds[..] He started right down that score
line and just drove from one end to another and when he was through he would have a
board that would run anywhere from a half an inch to maybe three quarters of an inch."
There are essentially two approaches to the valley that are feasible for most civilization adjusted
mortals. [...] From the Dose Forks with its elevation of 1,817 feet, the hiker climbs for 5 miles
steadily to 2,814 feet elevation at the Diamond Meadow shelter; on upwards for four more miles
to Anderson pass shelter at 4,464 feet elevation, and then drops some 2,300 feet in six miles
before reaching the Chalet at the lower end of Enchanted Valley. [...] What makes this approach
the less feasible is the abundance of snow that covers the trail for several miles on either side of
Anderson Pass until very late in July or even late into August some years.
The more likely approach to Enchanted Valley is from the reverse direction. [...] From the Ranger Station at Graves Creek to the end of the road is about 3 miles; and from there by trail to the Enchanted Valley Chalet is 10.9 miles. 65 O'Neil Creek Shelter is about the half-way point, and many hikers spend the night there, hiking the remaining distance the next day. The trail is a gentle one, following the left bank of the Quinault to Pony Bridge where it crosses a box canyon. It then follows the other bank of the Quinault until it recrosses the river just below the Chalet. Along this trail the hiker will ascend from about 700 feet at the end of the road to about 2,000 feet at the lower end of Enchanted Valley. The grade this far is about 5%. The trail above the Chalet rises rapidly in the next five miles to about 4,500 feet, or a grade of 10%. The trail into the Chalet is virtually free from snow the biggest share of the year. This is the trail taken by the majority of hikers and wilderness enthusiasts who visit Enchanted Valley. 66
|You're watching a waterfall and suddenly it just stops. It'll plug up with fresh snow up above and for about twenty minutes it'll build up a lake behind that. When it blows it'll blow your mind, because it's like thunder. When it breaks, that snow comes down and the impact on the valley floor just shakes. I get goose bumps telling you about it. [...] Sometimes that whole bank up there, which is about three-thousand feet elevation--a wall of snow [...]will come down, I mean its huge and the impact is so drastic. [...] It turns it right into ice-it's incredible. [...] When the snow caves crash in, you can see the water go backwards up the waterfall like four hundred feet. [..] When it hits and caves right in and the stream goes-- you see water shoot up about four-hundred feet high and then come back down. 72|
|Packing in such an awkward fixture as a bathtub has never stopped amazing visitors to the Chalet. [...] The feat was accomplished by harnessing a horse and a single-tree to a wedge mechanism that skidded along the trail on two runners. Behind were two v-shaped poles to guide it. One of the brothers led the horse and the other attempted to guide the tub. It seems that the whole procedure was quite a strain on the arm muscles and the bathtub was deposited besides Pyrites Creek for the night while the two men went on to the Chalet. It must have been a rather incongruous sight to trail hikers suddenly coming upon a bathtub beside a turbulent little wilderness stream. 74|
|The relationship between the Park Service and the Olympic Recreation Company was not always on the highest terms. Funds for trails and telephone maintenance were not always available in the amounts necessary. Snow in the high country kept the backcountry trails shut until late in the season. Although the Park Service offered the organization the same permit that they had received from the Forest Service, it was not always possible to maintain the same standards of trail maintenance that was possible under the period of CCC appropriations for such purposes. The purpose of the National Park Service was to reserve the area intact as wilderness in character. For ultimate survival, the Chalet needed a road, and it was against Park Service policy to build one. Neither was the park responsible for the depression of the coming on World War II which finally finished the operations of the company. The Olympic Recreation Company was a commercial venture, interested naturally in returning a profit to its stockholders. The Park Service was interested in making available, without charge, a wilderness area for the people of the United States. 88|
|The AWS posts had to be manned by two people to provide 24-hour, daily observation. They had to have telephone or radio communication to their army filter centers and to their supervisory headquarters. Generally, all of these observation posts in Region Six, covered the areas quite thoroughly, from the Pacific Ocean to the Cascade Mountains, and From California to the Canadian border, and along the Canadian border to Idaho. Keeping the AWS posts supplied with food and fuel as well as keeping communications working in the winter with deep snow was difficult at times. [...] The purpose of the Aircraft Warning Service was to prevent Japanese planes from attacking the U.S. The observers had to report every plane they saw or heard to their filter center immediately. Private planes were banned from the area, so the only planes to report were military or commercial passenger planes. If an observer failed to report a plane that should have been within 6 miles of his post, the Army called it a miss. Two misses, and we had to go to the post, sometimes on snowshoes, to see what caused the miss, such as observers absent, communication failure, or could not see because of storms. 91|
|This valley has meant a lot of things to me; it's meant knee deep mud, irate scout masters, blisters, bear attacks, skunk attacks, nettles, picking up trash, cleaning the privies, two straight weeks of rain, and shoveling horse shit--but it also meant sun heated water falls falling into basins, views too beautiful to describe, living in a three story Chalet, being the 'Enchanted Ranger', more berries than I could eat, fantastic people from all over the country, 50 different types of wildflowers, a hanging glacier just outside my window, some of the largest trees in the world, getting my body back in shape, getting my mind together, and much more that I can't even describe and probably don't even realize. 107|
|The National Register of Historic Places has been consulted, and no properties located in Olympic National Park are listed. [...]The comprehensive inventory required by Executive Order 11593 is scheduled for completion by the spring of 1975. All properties meeting the criteria for the National Register will be nominated in compliance with Section 2(a) of Executive Order 11593. [...]Existing and potential National Register properties will not be affected by the wilderness proposal. 118|
|The 32-person facilities, each with a supporting ranger station and caretakers quarters, would be located at Enchanted Valley and at Diamond Meadows. Construction of the hostels would require site clearance for the buildings, water and sewer lines, and associated disturbance of vegetation and soils.[...] The hostels would offer a backcountry experience to people who are not equipped with backpacks, sleeping bags, and camping equipment for independent overnight trips. Since the hostels would exceed the minimum facilities permitted in wilderness, two 20-acre enclaves from the proposed wilderness would be required. 119|