Olympic National Park: Journalists to retrace historical journey into “terra incognita”

“Terra incognita”‘ — the unknown land.

That’s what residents of Washington territory called the interior of the Olympic Peninsula during the 1870s and 1880s.

Rumors of the time suggested that the interior contained a great hidden valley sacred to American Indians.

They were only rumors.

Nobody had successfully traversed the interior of the Peninsula or ventured more than a couple miles inland.

Nobody knew for sure what lie beyond the coastal ranges of the Olympic Mountains.

But Americans had their Manifest Destiny to fulfill, and that meant exploring terra incognita.

In 1889, the now-defunct Seattle Press commissioned a group of explorers to map, photograph and collect information about the interior of the Peninsula.

Beginning Monday, Local News Editor Roger Harnack begins his series of reports as a member of the journalistic team hiking across the Olympics. Today’s Sunday edition chronicles the historical Seattle Press expedition. Don’t miss it!

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