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Brushbuffalo
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Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
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PostMon Sep 16, 2019 1:45 pm 
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August 30, 2019. On my way to Iron Gate trailhead over Labor Day weekend  to hike  in the Horseshoe Basin-Windy Peak area with friends, I headed up to two sites of former lookouts: Muckamuck Mountain, a 1.5 mile easy cross country hike from FS37 east of Baldy Pass, and Corral Butte, a 1/2 mile walk on the abandoned road from FS39. All of the open roads are Prius friendly...not saying I drive a Prius!

First, Muckamuck (may mean "cow pie" in some language or other). This is a fun, easy hike to a spot with an interesting name,  and  a Fay register!
Take the Forest Service Road 37 from the East Chewuch Road north of Winthrop (or come in from the east via Conconully). At the junction of 37 and 39, turn right ( easterly) on 37, go over Baldy Pass, and park just past mile 11 along FS37 at approximately 5050'. Just head uphill, soon crossing a sturdy barbwire fence (this is cattle country), and hike through open woods and sage meadows to the north to just south of the ridge that leads east to Muckamuck. Travel is easy  but when you reach the burned area along the ridge top, I recommend staying below (south) of the ridge top to avoid many downed, charred logs. The rounded summit was in an unburned area (2019) and remnants of the old trail are evident. There is a Fay register placed in November 2018. If visibility is restricted on the return hike be sure to traverse in a westerly direction from the summit until you return to the ponderosa forest, rather than descending too soon. Your road is far south of the summit, but close toward the southwest. On descent for probably 1/2 mile I traversed a steep sage/grass meadow at about 6100 feet on cattle trails that the cows 'maintain' as well or better than many human-maintained routes (but of course I was dodging pies along the way hihi.gif ).
easy hiking
easy hiking
Granite Mountain in distance, another former LO site. You  can also see FS37 as it wanders far south of Muckamuck from the place you probably left the road. This is why on your return you want to traverse west before dropping down in the forest.
Granite Mountain in distance, another former LO site. You  can also see FS37 as it wanders far south of Muckamuck from the place you probably left the road. This is why on your return you want to traverse west before dropping down in the forest.
"wildlife"
"wildlife"
looking southeast
looking southeast
burned on the north side of the ridge
burned on the north side of the ridge
can dump near top
can dump near top
firebox door
firebox door
cut stumps near top
cut stumps near top
phone wire
phone wire
looking back to west....stay south (left) of burned area on ridge crest. Mt. McCay in distance.
looking back to west....stay south (left) of burned area on ridge crest. Mt. McCay in distance.
lookout site  set on granite base. Just above my pack is an orange waterproof match case that held Fay's register, placed on 11/13/18. The lookout was a cupola cabin built in 1922 and destroyed in 1974.
lookout site  set on granite base. Just above my pack is an orange waterproof match case that held Fay's register, placed on 11/13/18. The lookout was a cupola cabin built in 1922 and destroyed in 1974.
Fay
Fay
A BB wuz there too!
A BB wuz there too!
Old Baldy (left) and McCay. Note  FS37 descending from Baldy Pass.
Old Baldy (left) and McCay. Note  FS37 descending from Baldy Pass.
looking back to rounded summit of Muckamuck
looking back to rounded summit of Muckamuck
excellent hoof-built path
excellent hoof-built path
cows don't filter their drinking water
cows don't filter their drinking water
Muckamuck from west
Muckamuck from west
zoomed a bit.  The obvious 'trail' appeared to be cut by a dozer....may be  a firebreak, but seems too narrow.
zoomed a bit.  The obvious 'trail' appeared to be cut by a dozer....may be  a firebreak, but seems too narrow.
forest pixie
forest pixie
many hooves make fine paths
many hooves make fine paths
cow trail at 6100 easily traverses hillside
cow trail at 6100 easily traverses hillside
old trail marker, presumably not placed by cows.They can't hold a hammer in their hooves! Perhaps this was the lookout trail, although one map showed the LO access from the north, not west.
old trail marker, presumably not placed by cows.They can't hold a hammer in their hooves! Perhaps this was the lookout trail, although one map showed the LO access from the north, not west.
Muckamuck from FS37 east of Baldy Pass
Muckamuck from FS37 east of Baldy Pass
Old Baldy, yet another former LO site. View from FS37 west of Baldy Pass.
Old Baldy, yet another former LO site. View from FS37 west of Baldy Pass.

Back at the truck, I reversed the route on FS37 and turned north onto FS39. I actually enjoy this long windy route that many people bash.  The extensive burned area, miles wide, has its own somewhat sad appeal, opening up widespread and far reaching views.
The abandoned road to Corral Butte, blocked by a locked FS gate, is only a few miles south of the intersection at the Toats Coulee Road and tiny Long Swamp  campground .  Park near the gate and walk the easy road for 0.6 mile to its end, then take the path about 50 yards to the top. Almost no evidence of the lookout was found, except a few white paint marks on rocks that may have led to the outhouse, which I didn't find.

locked gate marks the start of the abandoned road to Corral Butte lookout site
locked gate marks the start of the abandoned road to Corral Butte lookout site
Mountain monster! :eek:
Mountain monster! eek.gif
road is easy strolling
road is easy strolling
Tiffany group
Tiffany group
end of road in 0.6 mile
end of road in 0.6 mile
LO site is just up the hill to the right
LO site is just up the hill to the right
.... up there(there is a path, hard to see here)
.... up there(there is a path, hard to see here)
Windy Peak in distance, where I slept on top two days later.
Windy Peak in distance, where I slept on top two days later.
see the North Twenty Mile lookout tower? Rugged peaks to southwest...the Craggies?
see the North Twenty Mile lookout tower? Rugged peaks to southwest...the Craggies?
posts
posts
painted rocks leading to somewhere.....
painted rocks leading to somewhere.....

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Downhill
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PostMon Sep 16, 2019 2:25 pm 
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Cool report, thanks!  Fun reading.  up.gif

I don't know why, but I have a fascination with lookouts and former lookout sites.

Looking forward to seeing your photos!
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Kim Brown
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PostSun Oct 06, 2019 9:05 pm 
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Hey, just saw this report. I have wanted to do.Muckamuck for years, but the trail had been choked with blowdown until recently,but haven't been able to get over there. Looks nice!

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Brushbuffalo
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Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
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PostSun Oct 06, 2019 9:11 pm 
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Kim, if you go the way I did you won't need the old trail. It was quite easy with minimal  brush or fallen burned trees. Plus the 'big snow' has probably melted by now.
Gotta love the name of that one, and it has a Fay register!

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Kim Brown
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PostSun Oct 06, 2019 9:12 pm 
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Yah, I like the name. Profanity Peak,  too!

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Two former lookout sites: Muckamuck Mountain (6370') and Corral Butte (6849')
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