But the great valleys of the Humptulips, the Quinault, the Queets-Clearwater, and the Hoh - reaching far back into the foothills of the Olympic Mountains - were still known only to the Indians and an occasional white man.
The overland approach to the entire Olympic Peninsula from the south was through Hoquiam (an Indian name meaning "hungry for wood"). Here tides from the Pacific forced salt water for miles up both the East and the West branches of the Hoquiam River. From the head of tidewater, the trail lead northward.
Easterners had but a vague conception of the physical endurance necessary to buck the tides in a rowboat or to tramp through Washington's virgin forests with their fallen timber, lush undergrowth, and poor visibility. Only on the higher ridges was travel comparatively easy. Along the coast the dense huckleberry, salmonberry, and other brush grew to a height of ten feet; and due to action of the ocean winds, leaned inland. These bristling branches aimed at a man's face presented a formidable barrier which made it almost impossible for him to make his way from the interior west to the seashore. The pioneer soon learned to follow streams through the jungle.
Sometime previous to 1880; Charles Stevens took a homestead in the Humptulips Valley on a prairie of some 400 acres. It was two miles long by a mile wide, covered with fern head-high, and ringed around by a dark wall of towering evergreen trees.
This spot was kept open by the Indians who every spring burned off the dry fern to kill tree seedlings. They coveted the huckleberries that grew there. Also, they had discovered that when a wind storm struck the woods, the elk, fearful of falling timber, would come out into the open to be easy prey for the hunter.
The prairie was first named for Stevens, who, in 1861, built a grist mill at Cosmopolis. Unfortunately due to insufficient grain production and an over-supply of dampness, the mill was not a success. Then in 1884 or 1885 he sold his 480 acres on the Humptulips to John Angelo who, in turn sold to Chsae & Ogden - who divided the acreage into lots for the Humptulips City townsite.