Tshletshy Cr. Trail ('81)

Queets R. to Dosewallips R. (via Tshletshy Cr.) - 1981

  On 8-29-81, I started out on an 8 day solo [74 mile] backpacking trip from the Queets R. to the Dosewallips R. via Tshletshy Cr Trail. At the beginning of my trip, a Park Ranger discouraged me from hiking the Tshletshy Cr. Trail because it hadn’t been maintained since 1942; it has been removed from most maps now. 

   To begin the trip, my folks dropped me off at the end of the Queets R. road. I started hiking at 11:00 am; I had to ford the Queets right away. I reached the Tshletshy Cr. trail at 2:00 pm. I saw 12 people along the Queets R. trail on day 1, and 5 were on a day hike. I had to ford the Queets a 2nd time also. I had lunch at the old homestead.  I resumed hiking at 2:45 pm. Just before I got to the creek, I jumped a herd of about 10 elk, and I was w/in 50 yards of a 5 point bull. He bugled 3 times; another elk came a charging. I didn't find a suitable camp site until 6:30--it had a very small supply of running water. The camp site was ~9 miles from the start. I made a note in my journal: "Not too bad, considering the shape that the trail is in."

   On the 2nd day, I had breakfast, and started hiking at 10:00 am. At noon I got w/in 50 yards of a 5 point elk. I noted in my journal that "it kept its head high while it was running...I had an awful time staying on the trail--especially where it crossed the creek. Passed the 16 mile marker an hour or so before I stopped for the evening. I figure I have 6 or 7 miles before I get to the main trail. Hope I make it there tomorrow. I quit hiking today at 5:30 pm."

   On the 3rd day, I got up at 8:00 am, and was on the trail again at 10:00 am. It rained all day. At 12:15 pm I was walking along [off trail of course], when I spotted a herd of elk. Even though I was wearing rain pants, the rain prevented them from hearing me. There was a large bull in this herd also. After about 5 minutes, a cow "barked", and they slowly moved up the hill. I then discovered that the trail was right in front of me :-) I continued hiking along the trail, but it was difficult to find. Once I got to the last creek crossing, the trail was fairly good. The trail was steep for the last 2 miles. I reached the top at 2:30 pm. It was rainy, windy and I was cold. The only good point was discovering just how good "low bush huckleberries are"! I stopped at the 3 Lakes Shelter.

   In summary, I encountered dozens of “wind-falls” [trees] along the trail, many of which were 6’ across, which slowed me down and got old fast! It was raining when I reached 3 Lakes Shelter. I hadn't seen anyone since I left the Queets R. Trail; suddenly, I spotted 2 backpackers coming toward the shelter. They were quite surprised when I told them I hiked the Tshletshy Cr. Trail. That evening they prepared a nice dinner that included some fresh vegetables (cooked), that they shared with me; it was much appreciated! The next morning we cooked huckleberry pancakes together. 

   At the end of the trip, I was lucky to arrive when my family dropped my vehicle off at the “Dose” Ranger Station--I was treated to a nice picnic lunch :-)

Trip statistics:

  Hiked 74 miles in 44.4 hours of hiking time;

  saw 21 elk, 11 deer and 12 goats, plus a lot of marmots;

  stove (502 Coleman Sportster): 360 minutes of burn time, used 21 oz. of fuel


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