Forum Index > Trip Reports > Camp Handy plus nearby trailhead access status (ONF) 04-16-2019
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Ancient Ambler
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PostThu Apr 18, 2019 12:14 pm 
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Met up with DaveB at 07:30 AM on 04-16-2019 for a quick trip over to the northeastern Olympics for a hike to Camp Handy and a check on access to trailheads in the area. Weather was looking good, with partial clearing over the Olympics and a lot more blue sky to the northeast.

Found some bad washboard on the steep downhill road toward the bridge across the Dungeness at Dungeness Forks.   Best to take it slow and easy, given the big drop-offs on the north side of the road. Other than that, the road was in good shape with no snow all the way out to the spur road to the THs for Baldy and Tyler.  Drove out to the end of the spur road with no access problems.  Stopped to get some pix, one of snowy Peak 6753 and the Dungeness valley, and the other of the snowy false summit of Baldy above Mueller creek and basin.  The snow level appears to be well above the Dungeness river elevation and far above the ~3200 foot elevation at the end of the spur road.

Baldy false summit from Baldy/Tyler spur road 04-16-2019
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Baldy false summit from Baldy/Tyler spur road 04-16-2019

Drove back out the spur road and continued on to the Dungeness trailhead, where there were no other cars when we arrived.  NOTE:  the outhouse was locked, with a handwritten sign stating that it was out of order.   We quickly hiked the 3 miles of trail up to Camp Handy, encountering no snow on the way.  There were a couple of step-over fallen trees on the trail, and no snow at Camp Handy's ~3000 foot elevation.   Snow level to the west appeared to be above the ~4000 foot elevation of the visible Goat Creek cutbank next to the route of the way trail to Goat Lake.

view west from Camp Handy 04-16-2019
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view west from Camp Handy 04-16-2019

The view to the southwest from Camp Handy revealed more snow above the Milk Creek drainage.

view southwest from Camp Handy 04-16-2019
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view southwest from Camp Handy 04-16-2019

The shelter at Camp Handy remains intact, but has a sign on it warning that the shelter is not maintained for overnight use and that campers should look overhead before choosing a place to set up for the night.

Camp Handy shelter 04-16-2019
Camp Handy shelter 04-16-2019
Sign on Camp Handy shelter
Sign on Camp Handy shelter

This warning appears to be in reference to a dead snag uphill about 30 feet southeast of the southeast corner of the shelter, which looked like it could hit the shelter if it fell.   

On the way back to the vehicle, the temperature had dropped, north wind picked up  and a lid of clouds began to slide across the sky.  While there was still some sun, I got a photo of a fern covered rock next to the Dungeness River.

fern rock and Dungeness River
fern rock and Dungeness River

During our return to the parking lot we encountered 4 or 5 parties hiking in toward Camp Handy and found a corresponding number of cars when we arrived back at the TH.

We decided we would check out access to the Tubal Cain TH and the Silver Creek waytrail, since we were already in the vicinity.   The road was in fine condition between the Dungeness parking lot and the Tubal Cain TH, with no snow.  No one was parked at the TH.  The Dirty Face Ridge trail was snow free, at least in the limited view we had of it from the road.  We continued south and uphill, reaching snow at around 3650 feet elevation, several hundred feet short of the Silver Creek way trail TH.  Looked like a foot or so of snow, and while there were some tire tracks that appeared to have made it to the TH,  we decided to head back home with the knowledge that there may be snow-free access to the Silver Creek way trail TH in a week or so, barring new snowfall.
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Hesman
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PostThu Apr 18, 2019 5:16 pm 
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Thanks for the report. I have been entertaining the idea to head to the Dungeness trail in the next few weeks.

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Geezer
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PostFri Apr 19, 2019 3:18 pm 
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One can now drive to the Silver Lake Way trail, but I suspect there is still plenty of snow on the trails above 4000 feet and feet of snow above 4500 feet as these trails in this area do not melt out fast.
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Ancient Ambler
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PostSat Apr 20, 2019 6:17 am 
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Geezer wrote:
One can now drive to the Silver Lake Way trail, but I suspect there is still plenty of snow on the trails above 4000 feet and feet of snow above 4500 feet as these trails in this area do not melt out fast.

I agree with you, Geezer.  It is still early days for mountain hiking in the Olympics and, while getting all the way to the TH by vehicle is convenient, snow will still be encountered at some point on many trails, requiring hikers to have and use snow navigation and snow travel skills and equipment.  Hikers should also keep in mind that the northeastern Olympics have less annual precipitation than other parts of the Olympics, so the absence of snow at 3000 feet on the Dungeness trail does not mean that you'll now find snow-free trails in other parts of the Olympics at that elevation.
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reststep
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PostSat Apr 20, 2019 9:29 pm 
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Good info AA.  Thanks for the report.

I suppose you could get some idea of snow levels from the snotel sites

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/or/snow/products/?cid=nrcs142p2_046350

Snow levels for today from the snotel sites.

Dungeness 4010 Ft.           1"

Mount Crag 3960 Ft.           43"

Waterhole 5010 Ft.             68"

Buckinghorse 4870 Ft.         87"

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braincloud
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PostSun Apr 21, 2019 7:48 pm 
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FYI - I camped at Goat Lake last night. Trail is snow free until about 4500’. Lake is still snowed in but there are a couple of bare spots to toss a tent. Beautiful clear and calm night.

Didn’t make it to any peaks up there, the routes are under some visibly collapsing cornices.

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archerbrown
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are we there yet
PostSun Apr 21, 2019 9:07 pm 
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Love that hike...nothing like a little elevation gain...…….
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Camp Handy plus nearby trailhead access status (ONF) 04-16-2019
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