WA WA - Laura Macke, Hiking Alone @ Enchanted Valley, Camping at Pyrites Creek, 30. Oct 2022

TwinkieDefense

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2021
Messages
513
Reaction score
1,536
Nov 3, 2022 article. Solo Hiker.


[…]

The National Parks Service said 35-year-old Laura Macke had a backcountry permit for Oct. 30-31 and was hiking alone to the Enchanted Valley, stopping to camp at Pyrites Creek. She indicated that should still be in the backcountry on Nov. 1 but has not returned.

Officials said Macke is known to hike in a black and white striped shirt, black rain jacket, and a maroon-colored puffy jacket.

Search and rescue crews hiked out Thursday and will continue the search on Friday. Anyone in the area of Lake Quinault, Graves Creek of the Enchanted Valley between Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 who might have information on Macke is asked to call or text the tip line at 1-888-653-0009.
 

TwinkieDefense

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2021
Messages
513
Reaction score
1,536
Nov 3, 2022 article. Indicates Ms Macke was driving on 10/30 to Quinault during a significant rainstorm.


PORT ANGELES, Wash. – A search is currently underway for a hiker reported missing at 10 am on November 2, 2022. Laura Macke is a 35-year-old female, 5’6” tall, 200 pounds with curly, light brown hair in a bob cut.

[…]

Search and Rescue personnel hiked into the wilderness on Thursday to begin a hasty search of the area after Macke was reported missing. A US Coast Guard helicopter conducted a preliminary search but was impeded by changing weather. Additional searches will take place on Friday, November 4.

[…]
 

Seni

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Messages
3,105
Reaction score
9,508

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The search continued Friday afternoon for 35-year-old Laura Macke, a hiker who was reported missing at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Enchanted Valley area of Olympic National Park.

The search and rescue teams are checking camping areas along the route to Enchanted Valley and will be in the backcountry two nights, according to Meagan Huff, acting public affairs specialist for the park.
 

GraceG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Messages
3,903
Reaction score
23,914
l looked at the historical NOAA weather radar for the 30th. There was quite a storm going through the area. Her clothing description was "known to hike in" instead of what she was actually wearing. I hope she had some good cold-weather gear and overnight supplies. You can find the menu for the historical radar pictures on the left of the screen. Radar Data Here's the temp high's and lows for Quinault (where she driving to) for the end of October. https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/quinault/98575/october-weather/351353
 

Snoopster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2010
Messages
8,097
Reaction score
16,034
I'm not familiar with this area and I always like to geographic context for these missing hiker cases.
My understanding, with minimal research, is that Laura was hiking the East Fork Quinault River Trail, with a plan to camp overnight at Pyrites Creek Campground.
The trail is a 27 mile out-and-back trail and the Pyrites Creek campground is approximately 9.5 miles out along the trail. The trail is rated 'hard' on AllTrails.

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/...ast-fork-quinault-river-trail?search=true&u=m

Was Laura only planning to go to the campground and back? Was she planning to go all the way to the Enchanted Valley? She only had a backcountry permit for 2 days. (Although her relative said that she planned to be in the 'backcountry' longer. But does it mean she was planning to go to another backcountry area following this hike?)

They located her rental car but unfortunately didn't specificy where. I'm presuming it was in the Graves Creek Campground area which appears to be near the trailhead.

If you were in the area of Lake Quinault, Graves Creek, or Enchanted Valley between October 30 and November 1 or have any information regarding this individual, please call or text the tip line at 1-888-653-0009
UPDATE: Search continues Saturday for missing hiker | Peninsula Daily News
 

Snoopster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2010
Messages
8,097
Reaction score
16,034

Snoopster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2010
Messages
8,097
Reaction score
16,034
I looked through input from others who have been on this trail and here is what I understand:
- bears are common near the trail. Some are bold. [would they be hibernating by now?]
- the trail is a bit longer than AllTrails says it is. Perhaps 28 miles long...and then back again. [was it longer than LM expected it to be? Did she bite off more than she could handle and push herself too hard?]
- the trail is not technically difficult. It is well maintained. There are ups and downs and a general rise in elevation, but it is long and tiring.
- regarding Pyrites, someone found the hike to the site very tiring while carrying camping gear. There are 6 spots on one side of the creek and people were camped very close together. Spots on the other side are more spaced out, but further from the creek.
- the trailhead parking area is often busy/cramped, but the trail is not that busy. It is offseason now, so I don't know how much the activity levels have dropped

- one person mentioned that when they were hiking the trail there was a slide near Graves, and it added a couple of hours onto their hike. [this comment was not recent, but perhaps highlights the possibility that Laura might have hit a hitch that required a longer hike. Pure speculation on my part. It was very dry in late September. But of course there has been some rain since then.]
- a recent hiker mentioned that they did 3 nights, with one day hike from Enchanted Valley to Anderson Moraine and back. That roughly 12 mile up to the former glacier and back was challenging and a bit sketchy at times. [did Laura take a detour up toward Anderson Moraine?]
 

Fleur-de-lis

Merrily we scroll along
Joined
Apr 29, 2020
Messages
240
Reaction score
2,373
It might not seem it, but it is rough up there. And the cold is a wet, clammy, hypothermia type of seeping-in cold. And it is so slippery, and the blackberries and raspberry vines, well you cannot believe them if you have not seen them. HUGE, clumping, hanging down and hiding those who slipped, just very dangerous. May she be found safe.
 

Snoopster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2010
Messages
8,097
Reaction score
16,034
It might not seem it, but it is rough up there. And the cold is a wet, clammy, hypothermia type of seeping-in cold. And it is so slippery, and the blackberries and raspberry vines, well you cannot believe them if you have not seen them. HUGE, clumping, hanging down and hiding those who slipped, just very dangerous. May she be found safe.
Thank you for sharing your local insight.
I live in a flat farmland area and hiking for me is hiking around wooded creek embankments. It's definitely not the same!
 

RickshawFan

Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
8,591
Reaction score
37,078
It rained 8"-10" the first day LM was out there. Current forecast 2"-10" snow above 2,000 feet in Olympics, including Quinault (per NOAA, link below). This is a normal weather pattern after the "weather comes in" in Cascades and Olympics late September (it can be like this in summer, too, but just for a few days).
PNW-ers know not to mess around when the "weather comes in". I was in the dry area of the Olympics (camping in Port Townsend) 5 years ago. I knew enough to leave the moment "weather" came in in September (maybe the 24th or so).
When snow settles in for the winter (e.g. December/January), snow sports begin in the Olympics, as elsewhere in the PNW, with careful watching of forecast.
Quinault is a rainforest (i.e. a magnet for rain) and is right near the ocean. It is predictably very wet.

LM drove to Quinault in driving rain, (per NPS, link below). As I understand it, this was a 3-day trip, with 2 nights camping, beginning on October 30 (which would have been a partial day owing to driving to the trailhead), and exiting on November 1. As far as I can tell, a common trip is to camp at Pyrites on Night 1, day hike to the Enchanted Valley and back on Day 2, and hike out on Day 3. This mileage makes sense to me for a 3-day trip.

Search parties were unable to go out on Friday because the whole area was flooded and there were a lot of downed trees. Search services were withdrawn or unable to go out several days in a row (Wednesday and Thursday) because it was unsafe.
There are several log bridges along this trail. The camp spots are riverside. The odds of slipping and ending up in the water were colossal on this trip IMO, while crossing a bridge, fording a creek, or filtering water. Alternatively, the tent and everything could have been washed downstream if LM was camped on a riverbank.
NPS haven't reported being concerned for anyone else, so I imagine there was no one else out there on the trail.
Hope this helps. I hiked and backpacked for 25 years in the PNW, and have been to the Olympics twice, including the Quinault area.

 

Snoopster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2010
Messages
8,097
Reaction score
16,034
It rained 8"-10" the first day LM was out there. Current forecast 2"-10" snow above 2,000 feet in Olympics, including Quinault (per NOAA, link below). This is a normal weather pattern after the "weather comes in" in Cascades and Olympics late September (it can be like this in summer, too, but just for a few days).
PNW-ers know not to mess around when the "weather comes in". I was in the dry area of the Olympics (camping in Port Townsend) 5 years ago. I knew enough to leave the moment "weather" came in in September (maybe the 24th or so).
When snow settles in for the winter (e.g. December/January), snow sports begin in the Olympics, as elsewhere in the PNW, with careful watching of forecast.
Quinault is a rainforest (i.e. a magnet for rain) and is right near the ocean. It is predictably very wet.

LM drove to Quinault in driving rain, (per NPS, link below). As I understand it, this was a 3-day trip, with 2 nights camping, beginning on October 30 (which would have been a partial day owing to driving to the trailhead), and exiting on November 1. As far as I can tell, a common trip is to camp at Pyrites on Night 1, day hike to the Enchanted Valley and back on Day 2, and hike out on Day 3. This mileage makes sense to me for a 3-day trip.

Search parties were unable to go out on Friday because the whole area was flooded and there were a lot of downed trees. Search services were withdrawn or unable to go out several days in a row (Wednesday and Thursday) because it was unsafe.
There are several log bridges along this trail. The camp spots are riverside. The odds of slipping and ending up in the water were colossal on this trip IMO, while crossing a bridge, fording a creek, or filtering water. Alternatively, the tent and everything could have been washed downstream if LM was camped on a riverbank.
NPS haven't reported being concerned for anyone else, so I imagine there was no one else out there on the trail.
Hope this helps. I hiked and backpacked for 25 years in the PNW, and have been to the Olympics twice, including the Quinault area.


8" to 10"....ooofff! That's overwhelming. I know that others mentioned bad weather above, but this is very significant.

Such a switch from dry at the end of September to flooding at the end of October.

I was hoping (and still am) that Laura is holed up somewhere after an accident. Or maybe she had to change her route and got lost. She likely has some protective gear. Hopefully the story will be one of survival.
 

RickshawFan

Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
8,591
Reaction score
37,078
LM is from VT, per the professional listings in Psychology Today (link below). The photo in the missing poster is in VT: the trees are beeches with beech disease, very common in VT. The rest of the vegetation is also consistent with VT.

I have hiked extensively in VT. Hiking in VT is low-hazard compared with the Olympics. There are few SAR's except maybe on Mount Mansfield. The trails are VERY busy (I am always shocked!). Hiking in VT would give no perspective on the skills needed for backcountry WA, in my experience.

It's not rare for people who go missing in Olympics never to be found or remains found much later. (NPS link below). AFAIK Duane Miles is still missing from summer 2021. Also, for perspective, by August 2020, there had been 39 SAR incidents in the Olympics (per NPS, link below). August is VERY early in the Olympics season (wildflowers blooming about then because snow is finally gone).


 

RickshawFan

Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
8,591
Reaction score
37,078
8" to 10"....ooofff! That's overwhelming. I know that others mentioned bad weather above, but this is very significant.

Such a switch from dry at the end of September to flooding at the end of October.

I was hoping (and still am) that Laura is holed up somewhere after an accident. Or maybe she had to change her route and got lost. She likely has some protective gear. Hopefully the story will be one of survival.
Any route LM had up that trail would be extremely hazardous in all that rain, otherwise SAR could have gone in there more consistently.
 

RickshawFan

Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
8,591
Reaction score
37,078
I am very pessimistic about this case because I have been in so many drenching rains along the PNW coast (luckily when I could simply sleep in my car instead of pitching a tent). NPS has given no indication that they found LM's tent, which would have been her only safety from all that rain, and even then, it would have to have been pitched away from the river. No indication that they've spotted it, which might mean that it wasn't up, or it's been washed away.
Very scary.
 

RickshawFan

Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
8,591
Reaction score
37,078
8" to 10"....ooofff! That's overwhelming. I know that others mentioned bad weather above, but this is very significant.

Such a switch from dry at the end of September to flooding at the end of October.

I was hoping (and still am) that Laura is holed up somewhere after an accident. Or maybe she had to change her route and got lost. She likely has some protective gear. Hopefully the story will be one of survival.
It's actually never dry (it's a rainforest), except maybe in recent drought in mid-summer (i.e. August). In a lot of the PNW, you can get many nice days in summer, and then a front will come in (if you have experience, you know what that looks like: a certain kind of cloud) for a few days. Then, it's back to good weather.
The coast has a lot of fog in summer (consider that you have rainforests on the Olympics and redwoods in coastal CA--they are frequently shrouded in dampness).
This time of year, the "weather comes in" and it's here for the duration of winter. The rain is cold and insidiously wet. There is snow on the trails well into July.
 

RickshawFan

Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
8,591
Reaction score
37,078
Was Laura only planning to go to the campground and back? Was she planning to go all the way to the Enchanted Valley? She only had a backcountry permit for 2 days. (Although her relative said that she planned to be in the 'backcountry' longer. But does it mean she was planning to go to another backcountry area following this hike?)
Snipped for focus.

The permit was for camping at Pyrites on Night 1 (30th). Unclear where Night 2 (31st), but Enchanted Valley was on the itinerary. Hike out Day 3. Day 3 would be Nov 1.
 

Tower

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2018
Messages
365
Reaction score
3,076
Snipped for focus.

The permit was for camping at Pyrites on Night 1 (30th). Unclear where Night 2 (31st), but Enchanted Valley was on the itinerary. Hike out Day 3. Day 3 would be Nov 1.
I don’t think my post adds anything useful, just speculating… The backcountry permits in this area are issued for the number of days (unlike, for example, a hotel reservation for two nights). So if she had a permit for only 2 days, I sure hope SAR understands what her plan was far better than I do. It makes no sense to me.
 

Tower

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2018
Messages
365
Reaction score
3,076
So how do the permits work? If you have a 2 day permit, does that mean 2 nights?
See my reply to Rickshaw. It does vary depending on the area, but the permit I got in this area in 2018 was issued for days, so if her plan was to take 3 days, it seems like this information doesn’t match her 2-day permit for some reason.
 
Top