I completed the Press Traverse Run yesterday, 8/23 from South to North. I completed the run solo and unsupported (except from a ride to the start and a pick up at the finish!) I carried a 1.5L water bladder, another small packable bottle for mixing up electrolyte drink and a BeFree water filter for easy re-fills at rivers and streams along the way. I also had a run pack full of snack including many GUs, Scratch energy gels, scratch drink powder, salami, beef jerki, Pro Meal Bars, and tortilla and nutella rolls!! I started the run at 06:00 at the North Fork of the Quinalt trail head as it was just getting light. I made good time along the Quinalt, enjoying the quiet shady morning. I did run into some ground wasps when I stepped off trail to pee at about mile 3 and got a few sting and had a good half mile of sprinting trying to escape them! It was a real adrenaline rush and woke me right up - haha! The trail was well maintained and made for decent running (lots of rocks and roots, but that was just the terrain) up to the low divide. The low divide was gorgeous, the sun was out up there and it was fun to get into a little bit of an alpine zone even just for a small part of the run. After the low divide, the trail down to the Elwha River was a bit rough, many downfall trees to climb over and the trail was quite overgrown in places - leading to rather scratched up legs and I plowed on through! One tricky spot where there was a large jumble of downed trees where the trail turned was luckily marked with flagging so I did not get hung up looking for the trail for too long. I was pleased to find all the river crossings very manageable and even refreshing - early on the Quinalt, and then the two Elwha crossings. I even forwent crossing the big log across the Elwha so I could get my feet wet! I saw a few groups of Backpackers heading South on their way up to the Low Divide, all were very friendly! The rest of the way was pretty smooth sailing as the trail just got better and better (running condition-wise) along the Elwha. This section of the trail made for great running through beautiful mossy forest, across many streams and was mostly a delightful slight downhill grade. As the day got a little warmer I was glad to be in the shade. I also loved when the trail swooped down to be right next to the river - such a treat to spend so many miles with the Elwha! I was definitely feeling pretty whooped as I headed uphill to the Lillian River camp but excited as the end was in within striking distance! When I passed a sign that said 1.8 miles to the Whisky Bend Trail Head I was pretty darn excited and got a little extra pep in my then fairly tired and less-than-peppy step. I made it to the Whisky Bend TH after being on the trail for 10:17:30 according to my Garmin InReach Mini and let out a big woop into the trees in celebration. I did find myself wishing I had staged a bike at the TH for the rest of the way down the FS Road to the Madison Falls parking area, but alas, I settled for a slow trot and walked the few hills on the way down! It was cool to see the old upper Elwha Damn location and even cooler to make it to the car and get to sit down! I enjoyed a beer and snack in the parking lot and was grateful I got picked up and did not have to be the one driving home! All in all, it was a really wonderful run, it was so neat to make it up one river valley and out another - the Olympics are such an amazing place! I felt very grateful to get to see so much of them in a day! Thanks to the original Press Expedition for the route - although I cannot imagine bushwhacking that in the middle of the winter! Passed more than a few trees who might have seen the original expedition go by, and was humbled to be just a blip in the timeline of such beautiful giants.
*According to my Garmin Forerunner watch the trip was 46.54 miles. My Garmin InReach Mini had trouble connecting to satellites in the forest and did not get the hoped for 10 min gps intervals logged so the mileage was all out of wack because it just measured the as-the-crow-flies distances from point to point. I also used the AllTrails Pro app to record the trip and found it very accurate and helpful. unfortunately I accidentally swiped the program closed and stopped recording for about 7 minutes while I was up on the low divide. But, despite the user error I found the program super helpful just for piece of mind to make sure I was on the right track/trail along the way!