Road 9021-110

After almost six weeks within the city limits of Seattle we headed out for a hike. National Forest trailhead were all closed. All DNR and Washington State Parks land was closed. That made it a little tricky. National Forest land accessed by old logging roads was still open. We headed east to North Bend and met at the start of the road. It is not gated. Since we could not be sure that none of us had the coronavirus we all drove alone. The road made it easy for us to hike well apart. Of course it was raining as we set out. The first thing I noticed is that Gary had purchased a head umbrella just like mine. It straps to the head leaving ones arms free to use hiking poles. We met around 3:10 pm and were on the way at 3:49 pm.

The road starts out flat then begins a steady climb. It is steep enough to get my heart pounding. Only having had one hike with as much as 2000' of gain in the past six weeks did not help either. As we hiked up the road John pointed out some trillium in bloom. I have seen a few spring mountain wildflowers in Seattle but not many. Three or four cars passed us as we hiked up the road. Bad weather and a pandemic were not keeping everyone at home. At one mile we passed over the railroad grade. A little farther along we went right at a junction. We did not see any cars up higher. The road was getting rockier and there was water running down the tire tread low spots in the road.

At around 2600' we hit the first snow. We stopped to but on gaiters when it became continuous. Soon it was partly bare dirt again. Soon enough we were back on continuous snow and it slowly grew deeper as we ascended. After the first mile or so the rain let up and stopped for quite a while. The rocky road and then the snow made the trip a bit harder. We were clearly not in normal hiking shape either. I had a big month for mileage but not for elevation gain. With the low cloud level we had minimal views. Gary and John had been up the road a few weeks earlier and knew the route. They mention that the snow had melted considerably in that time. John wondered about the creek crossings they did no solid snow earlier. We found that we had to climb down and cross small creeks and climb back up in a few spots. The upper road had been decommissioned and all the culverts removed. I was the only person who managed to post hole all the way to my crotch. It was a chore to extricate myself.

The road leveled out as we neared the head of the basin. A big waterfall was seen below the road ahead. There is a pond below the road and another several hundred feet above it. They made it to the lower pond and so did we this day. The pond was partly snow covered and partly open. We mused about the now snow covered road that used to go up to the upper pond. A lot of sidehilling would be needed to follow it with this much snow. The road was far from level at the end of the basin. We stopped for some food and water. It was  just before 6:00 pm when we arrived. By 6:10 pm we were headed back. It started raining again at the pond but it did not last very long.

The slog down was easier. We had gained 2500' in 4.3 mile on the way up and with the partly snowy partly rocky road it was a bit of a pain. In a few spots we could see beneath the clouds and down to I-90 and to the Fire Training Center. When we reached the railroad grade we started to see several more cars on the road. The last half mile or so the rain picked up again. Most of the day's rain was in the first and last mile. We reached the cars at around 8:00 pm. The days are long enough now that I was able to drive almost back to Seattle before dark.

It was a moist hike with  with minimal views and some rain. We walked road all the way up and down. We were passed  by cars or trucks half a dozen times. With all of that it really felt great to hike on dirt and snow instead of pavement. I twas nice to get up to 2600' instead of 446" atop Queen Anne Hill. It was nice to hike with other people even if we were 20' or more apart all day.  I am looking forward to the time when I trails are all open and I can feel comfortable passing someone on a narrow trail. For now this was a good start.

On The Snow
Big Waterfall
John Taking Photo
Road Narrows
End Of Basin Ahead
Crossing Creek
At The Pond
Umbrella Hat
Social Distance
Lagging Behind
Small Falls
Scenic Clouds
Waiting For Me
Mossy Colors
Nice Little Falls
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2020