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Rough trail!
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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Rough trail! on 05/01/2006 20:03:59 MDT Print View

I hiked the Taylor River trail Sunday, which is a cake-walk-- the trail is about 7 miles of old Forest Service road that has been blocked for years and allowed to revert. There are some rocky areas and a few creeks to ford, but the trail is mostly wide and flat. It gains about 800 feet along the way and the rise is gentle.

The end of the Taylor River trail is the old trailhead for Lake Snoqualmie and Nordrum Lake. When I was in Boy Scouts we hiked to Lake Snoqualmie and it was a 2 mile trip to the lake. Now the trail is little used as the trailhead has been moved back.

I was planning to overnight anyway and decided to try to make it all the way to the lake. The first half mile of the trail is a tease-- it gets very rough and there is still a lot of snow near the top. I wasn't able to make it all the way as the trail was lost in the snow and the snowmelt was running right down the middle of the trail. It WAS wet and it WAS cold!

Here's a shot of a particularly nice bit of trail:

It took as much time to go a mile and a half through this stuff as it did for me to cover the first seven miles!

Edited by dwambaugh on 05/01/2006 22:28:40 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Rough trail! on 05/02/2006 01:09:10 MDT Print View

Dale, Nice pic. Reminds me of most (not all) of the trails in my area - though some of the vegetation is different. Your pic could be part of the Red-triangle southern half, eastern portion of the Orange trail, or the eastern portion of the Green Trail - both in a State Park near my home. Very rough, lots of rocks and roots from water erosion on these old trails. Typically, the E-W trails have more elevation changes (often 500'-700' per 1/4 to 1/2 mile traveled, then back down again and back up - tedium ad inifinitum - so it seems. N-S can have similar elevation changes (sometimes 700' per mile), but much fewer of them and over a greater distance, maybe a mile. The reason is plate tectonics at work, hence much more folding in the E-W direction, making N-S travel easier - this, in part, influenced earlier colonial migration and development of settlements out this way as these landscape features also determined the courses of rivers which were used for travel due to the difficulty of efficiently traversing such terrain by foot.

Trails like this, especially in the 95 deg summer days makes controlling sweating very difficult to say the least. Typically, I can't make more than 1.75mph pace, sometimes 2mph, on these trails with a 20lb load - and I'm literally drenched with sweat and my heart is pounding on the ascents - typically above 170 or 180 on my HRM (though in the heat, some of that HR is for cooling not oxygen requirements) - sure can deplete muscle glycogen. Yeah...i know...HR too fast for an old geezer like me - don't tell my wife. The descents are easier on the heart, but harder on the knees and you don't make fast progress as the footing is sometimes pretty treacherous and foot placement becomes quite important. I find it's much easier to slip and fall on the descents than the ascents, so sometimes actually make slower progress on the way down than the way up - or maybe i'm "milking it" to get my heart rate down before the next ascent.

Ankles always want to "roll" as it's difficult to find a flat surface, other than an occasional larger rock, for foot placement. Hence, my being "big" on using trekking poles for added support and balance on trails like you've pictured. When it's wet, i'd like to see someone hike it without at least a single hiking staff and not slip, fall, or roll/twist an ankle. Well, maybe someone could, but i'm too much of a klutz to do so. Before trekking poles, i would use a suitable piece of deadfall for a hiking staff - sometimes two pieces simultaneously.

At least the air isn't "thin" like y'all out west have to deal with.

Anyways, thanks for the pic. Always like to see what the trails, terrain, and landscape is like where y'all hike. I, personally, don't own a camera so I can't share a pic, hence my description so you can get an idea of the similarity.

Edited by pj on 05/02/2006 01:18:44 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Rough trail! on 05/02/2006 10:38:36 MDT Print View

The elevation at this point is no more than 2500 feet. It's those folks in the Rockies that get to climb on thing air.

5000 feet would be a high climb for me. Most of the Olympic and Cascade peaks are under 7500 feet, with the volcanoes running 10k-14k. The nice lakes are 3500-4000 feet-- any higher and you run out of trees. I'm planning to make a summer of exploring all the river valleys I can.

Trying to go through stuff like this without poles is just asking for it-- especially coming down. I hate that feeling that you are about to do a face plant with your pack on top of you-- broken arms, wrists, disclocated shoulders, let alone a sprained ankle-- fun stuff ten miles from the trailhead.

I'll tell you one thing: I'm really gratefull for all the help here with lightening my load. Going through stuff like this with 20 pounds is a joy compared to 40 or worse. I'm a little sore today, but I can still move!

Scott Toraason
Rough Trail on 05/04/2006 10:23:18 MDT Print View

So Dale, did you make it to Snoqualmie Lake? That must have been fun with the snow pack this year! I've been down that trail many a time but rarely to Snoqualmie Lake, although there was one waterlogged trip that included Deer and Bear lakes. I read the washout in the Middle Fork Road was recently repaired; hopefully the rest of the road was graded as well.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Rough Trail on 05/04/2006 12:20:23 MDT Print View

No, after all the slogging I made it to within a half mile or less from the lake and couldn't find the remaining trail. As you near the saddle to the lake, there is a large open area below a cliff face that has 4-5 feet of old compacted snow with brush underneath. I tried following some old footprints across the snow but couldn't see any signs of the trail. The last time I was up there it was around 1971, so you'll have to forgive me if my memory is a little vauge ;) It will be 3 weeks to a month before the trail is clear-- and hopefully, dry.

Anyway, I broke through the crust in a couple spots and the idea of getting hurt wasn't very appealing, and I had little daylight left, so I went back down to one tiny campsite and spent the night there (I was solo too). I wasn't out to set any milestones and if I had made it to the lake with it getting dark, I may not have found a campsite with the snowpack.

The campsite I found has a bit of a slope but was well protected. I found myself sliding down in my sleeping bag a couple times during the night, but other than that I was warm and dry. I could hear the waterfall from the lake easily in my shelter. There was a big granite boulder with a flat top that made a perfect kitchen. I had a hot breakfast under the trees while watching the snow come down out in the clearing.

On the way back I got snow, sleet, rain, and sun too. By the time I was back in Seattle, it was 70+ and sunny. It's always so weird to wake up on the side of a mountian somewhere and a few hours later find yourself in the middle of a large city. Culture shock indeed!

Edited by dwambaugh on 05/04/2006 12:22:14 MDT.