Sept of the Shrouded Rock

The Sept of the Shrouded Rock guards the shrouded-rock-caern located in James Island.

The Sept

Visiting the Caern






For the original inhabitants of the Olympic Peninsula, the highest peaks of the mountains were the only refuges during the Great Floods at the beginning of time. For the Elwha Klallam people, that peak was Mount Carrie; for the Skokomish, it was a peak west of Mount Ellinor. The Thunderbird figure of the Hoh tribe lived on Mount Olympus, in a den under Blue Glacier. People in the Skokomish, Quinault, and Elwha watersheds regularly traveled into the high country to hunt elk, gather huckleberries and beargrass, and perform spirit quests. Trails across the mountains allowed members of the various tribes to visit and trade with each other. The cross-Olympic expeditions of the 1890s found tree blazes that they took to mark Indian trails.

The mountains were originally called "Sun-a-do" by the Duwamish Indians, while the first European to see them, the Spanish navigator Juan Pérez, named Mount Olympus "Santa Rosalia", in 1774

Though readily visible from many parts of western Washington, especially Seattle, the interior was almost entirely unexplored until 1885, when 2nd Lt. Joseph P. O'Neil of the 14th Infantry, stationed at Fort Vancouver, led a small expedition into the northern Olympics from Port Angeles. O’Neil led an expedition of 3 enlisted men, 2 civilian engineers, and 8 mules out of Port Angeles in July 1885. The expedition cut a mule trail from Port Angeles up to Hurricane Ridge and camped near the current site of the national park visitor center. From there, they explored and built trail to the east and south, exploring the upper Dungeness and Dosewallips River watersheds, and to Cameron Basin near Mount Cameron. O’Neil was recalled by the Army in August to be transferred to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, and the expedition had to return to Fort Townsend. The Obstruction Peak Road and portions of the Hurricane Ridge Road and the Klahane Ridge, Grand Pass and Lost Pass trails in Olympic National Park originated with the mule trails built by this expedition.

According to Edmond S. Meany (1923), Origin of Washington geographic names, citing Joseph A. Costello (1895), The Siwash, their life, legends and tales, the Duwamish used the name Sunh-a-do for the Olympian Mountains (or Coast Range in Costello 1895) ; besides its unclear origin, some references misuse this name for the Native American name of the mountain.

Eight Olympic Peninsula tribes continue to recognize a relationship to the park based on traditional land use, origin, beliefs, mythology and spiritual beliefs and practices. These tribes are the Lower Elwha Klallam, Jamestown S'Klallam, Port Gamble S'Klallam, Skokomish, Quinault, Hoh, Quileute, and Makah. It was the ancestors of the these tribes that lived throughout the Olympic Peninsula, but ceded their lands and waters to the federal government through treaties in 1855 and 1856 and now live on reservations along the shores of the peninsula.

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