Photo Essay – Queets River Packrafting

Queets River pack rafting. Photo: Benj Wadsworth

Queets River Photo Essay by Benj Wadsworth

A semi-professional outdoor adventure and landscape photographer, Benj Wadsworth captures images on his off-the-beaten-path adventures around North America. He skis, kayaks, packrafts, and hikes from his home base in Seattle, Wash., and he carries a camera with him everywhere.

“My photos attempt to capture the natural beauty of the outdoors and the human spirit on display in the outdoor environment that has become such a big part of my life,” Wadsworth says. “I hope people enjoy my photos as much as I love taking them, and if nothing else, may they inspire others to get outside and seek adventure.”

Wadsworth is also arecovering whitewater kayaking addict who has been on a bit of a hiatus from rivers while exploring the sea. But packrafting, he says, is getting him excited about whitewater all over again. These photos are from a trip he did on the Queets River, Washington, in 2018. Just over 52 miles long with a 204-square-mile drainage basin, the Queets lies primarily within Olympic National Park and empties into the Pacific Ocean.

Follow Wadsworth on Instagram, Facebook, or check out his website, www.BenjWadsworth.com.

Greg Lewis hiking through the lupine on route to the Queets River.
Greg Lewis hiking through the lupine on route to the Queets River.
Sunrise over the Olympic Mountains from our first camp on the High Divide Trail.  These were the first clouds to roll in and the last we would see of the sun for the remainder of the trip.
Sunrise over the Olympic Mountains from our first camp on the High Divide Trail.  These were the first clouds to roll in and the last we would see of the sun for the remainder of the trip.
Queets River pack rafting. Photo: Benj Wadsworth
Greg Lewis getting comfortable on his inaugural packraft trip.We didn’t expect to be wearing rain gear and hats in early September, but such is life in the Northwest.
The first of many portages on day one. We launched with around 350 cfs in the river, a bit on the low side for sure.  Fortunately, two straight days of rain brought the river up to 2200 cfs on day two, which made for far more enjoyable paddling.  It didn’t make the log jams go away though.
The first of many portages on day one. We launched with around 350 cfs in the river, a bit on the low side for sure. Fortunately, two straight days of rain brought the river up to 2200 cfs on day two, which made for far more enjoyable paddling. It didn’t make the log jams go away though.
Tim Halder working his way through one of many pinball rapids.The river is generally class II with some Class III- thrown in to keep you on your toes.
Tim Halder working his way through one of many pinball rapids.The river is generally Class II with some Class III- thrown in to keep you on your toes.
Emma Johnson in the crux rapid below the ¼ mile portage around class V Kilkenny Creek rapid.
Emma Johnson in the crux rapid below the ¼ mile portage around Class V Kilkenny Creek rapid.
I’m not sure what Greg and Emma cooked for lunch, but I think Emma liked it more than Greg.
I’m not sure what Greg and Emma cooked for lunch, but I think Emma liked it more than Greg.
With a lot more water on day two, the floating was fun and easy.Greg Lewis and Emma Johnson paddle through some classic Olympic scenery.
With a lot more water on day two, the floating was fun and easy. Greg Lewis and Emma Johnson paddle through some classic Olympic scenery.
Greg Lewis nearing the takeout and the end to a classic Northwestern adventure!
Greg Lewis nearing the takeout and the end to a classic Northwestern adventure!

Captions and photos by Benj Wadsworth. Featured photo caption: Tim Halder warms up in the emerald pool at the put in, day three.