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whitebark
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Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 1862 | TRs
Location: Seattle
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PostTue Dec 29, 2015 6:21 pm 
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Curious to see what damage there was from the recent floods and snows, I visited the Sitka Spruce Trail today. The Mid Fork road as far as the concrete bridge is potholey and snowy along the sides, but otherwise it is o.k. for low clearance sedans. 

The water level of the creek that the trail crosses immediately beyond the trailhead has subsided.  The log is still there but the flood blew away part of the hand rail attached to the log.  Topped with icy snow, the log requires a bit of a balancing act to cross.

Sitka Spruce Trail
Sitka Spruce Trail

That's Hazel, my new dog, in the pic.

Beyond the bridge, I started encountering blowdowns. Time to get out the old Corona saw!  I slowly worked my way along the trail cleaning up the mess.  The bridge at the next big creek had been wiped out by the flood, but the creek is easy enough to cross now by hopping on rocks.  A massive tree had fallen on the slope on the other side. I squeezed past the tree's huge rootball and continued up the slope.  Next I dodged around another newly fallen tree and finally gained the plateau atop the slope. Lots of snow up here, which Hazel loved.

I continued sawing my way along to the next creek crossing, the one with the huge log forming a bridge.  A couple large blowdowns are going to require a chainsaw to remove, or at least one of those big Silky handsaws. They are easy enough to step over,

I turned back at the creek and took some time to enjoy the hike through the magnificent trees. The sun broke out of the clouds and made the walk back quite scenic and pleasant. The surrounding peaks with their heavy blanket of new snow gleamed in the sunlight. I especially enjoyed the view of the  ice- plastered Russian Buttes from the big Mid Fork bridge.

Well, the Sitka Spruce trail is a bit easier to hike now, although it will take some time to melt all the snow.  Interestingly, the lowland part of the trail is located in an undeveloped King County park.  I wonder what the long term plan is for the area?
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6656 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
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Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Dec 29, 2015 11:59 pm 
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Thanks for clearing the trail part way. Most of the blow down is on the lower part of the trail where you were. I came down from the top on Dec 8 and got stopped by that last bridge when it was underwater.

I believe King County owns that land and some on the south side of the river because they had some money available when it came up for sale. You can find more info here. The "plan" boils down to this:
Quote:
Management will focus on the protection and enhancement of the natural systems onsite: its fish and wildlife habitats, corridors, and scenic character. Where public use does not compromise these systems, the Natural Area will provide low-impact passive recreational, interpretive and educational opportunities.

It's just speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if the county and the DNR do a land swap someday so these parcels are incorporated into the NRCAs that surround them.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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