The opening of that year saw considerable rush to locate claims in the Valley, and in the years that followed the settlers had claimed the upper valley to the farthest reach of "bottom land" from the head of the lake up both the North and East forks of the Upper Quinault. The spring of 1890, the Seattle Press-Times Expedition, which had started in the fall of 1889 from the Straits of Fuca, wintering at Press Valley, on the Elwha, came through the Quinault country. A special edition, covering the explorations of this party, stimulated considerable interest in the section.
The next expedition, which was made by the Government, came over the hills from Hoodsport, under command of Lieutenant O'Neil. With this expedition came Sergt. Marsh, who is still in this section of the world. Also, while not connected with this expedition but following its trail, came a man who was destined to do more than any other single man to build up the territory lying from the Harbor to as far north as the Queets. Following the O'Neil trail came that sturdy character whom all Old Timers knew as A. V. Higley, with his son, O. L. Higley, better known to you all as Orte.
A veteran of the Civil War - with a heel shot off at the battle of the Wilderness, one of Sherman's Bummers' on the March to the Sea. An expert riverman on the Pennsylvania rivers, he soon began to 'run the river' and opening up a store, and was for many years guide, philosopher, and friend to any man who passed his way.
He loved to have people around him, and being a fiddler who would have warmed the heart of Henry Ford, he soon organized an orchestra composed of himself and Orte. All the Old Timers can well remember when we "danced all night, 'till broad daylight" and went home with the girls in the morning, for the very good reason that it was impossible to travel the footlogs and pole a canoe in the dark. Some will remember that he carried his good cheer over to the Queets, where we danced down the Queets, up the Clearwater, then back up the Queets and over the mountains home.
Those were the Happy Days.