Forum Index > Trip Reports > De Roux Loop (Teanaway region)
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
whitebark
Member
Member


Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 1849 | TRs
Location: Seattle
whitebark
  Top

Member
PostSun Sep 15, 2019 10:17 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Aside from the relatively nice weather often found there, the great thing about the Teanaway area is the large number of long fun loop hikes you can do.  On Sept. 15 we did one such loop that circled De Roux Peak. This hike covered a distance of 11.5 miles with 3000' of elevation gain. Jim, Hazel the wonder dog, and I participated in the trek.

As usual, we forgot how long the drive is from Seattle, and arrived at the trailhead too late.  It was nearly noon when we started up the Boulder-De Roux trail.  But the days were still fairly long, no problem. We were surprised the the large number of campers with horses at the trailhead, and sure enough, we were dodging all kinds fresh horse turds on the first flat mile of the trail. But all of the trails are multi-(ab)use here, open to various wheeled vehicles along with horses, so as a mere hiker you just need to keep a stiff upper lip and try to enjoy the scenery, which was wonderful as always in the Teanaways. Fall colors were starting to kick in with yellow and golds showing in the blueberry bushes and other annual plants.

At the one mile mark we reached the junction where the trails to Koppen Mountain and Galliger Head Lake split. We had hoped that the horse mob wanted to see the lake, but no such luck. We followed the hoof churned/ turd-adorned trail up the endless switchbacks leading to the 5100' Koppen Mountain saddle.  The 1000' climb was made easier by the well-constructed switchbacks and increasingly fine views along the way.  The saddle area featured an enjoyable vista but we didn't linger long due to a chilly wind and thickening clouds.

Most hikers head for Koppen Mountain at this point, and the trail system beyond the saddle is the province of horses and wheeled contraptions. Note that the trail shown on maps heading north from the saddle is almost non-existent. We followed the trail down into to the Middle Fork Teanaway valley, losing a couple hundred of our hard-earned elevation in the process. The horse herd had gone this way, too.  At length the trail flattened out in a pretty meadow and headed into the forest where we soon reached a junction with the Middle Fork trail. To our great joy, the horses had headed down that trail and our route became somewhat more pristine. The next two miles were quite enjoyable as the trail climbed past a series of meadows below De Roux Peak. The uppermost basin was the best of all, with lush meadows, creeks, and a nice campsite. Even the sun came out for a bit, and we took advantage of it to take a break and eat lunch.

The sun break was brief, however, and darkening clouds and a chilly wind prompted us to move on. Just before we started hiking, we saw a lone mountain biker come down the hill from God knows where. He waved at us and scooted off. The 700' climb from the meadow to the De Roux pass was taxing after our lunch but very scenic. I spotted a side trail that shortly led to a bit of a surprise, a sizable pond that was not on my map.  A final set of steep eroded switchbacks climbed a steep meadowy slope to get to the pass -motorcyclists must find the last collapsed switchback near the pass quite interesting.

This pass was the high point of the loop at 5800'. There was a grand view of course, along with a strong wind blasting from the other side. After taking a few photos, we headed down the ridiculously steep Elsnor Mine Trail to get out of the wind and beat the rain which looked imminent at this point.  We were happy to see that the trail had been maintained, with blowdowns removed and a nice new sign posted at the pass. Those old time miners clearly didn't believe in switchbacks, and the 50 percent grade of the trail quickly took us out of the wind and on to the mine site, which featured an interesting ruined boiler-like structure with pipes embedded in fire brick. Nearby was a mine adit, but we had no time to check it out.

From the mine site, the trail continued downhill at a slighter easier grade. We passed the flattened remains of a cabin, and dropped down through a nice forest with big trees on motorcycle-damaged tread to a junction with the Boulder Creek Trail, losing 1000' along the way. Heading right on the Boulder trail we began ascending yet again, thankfully at an easy grade. The valley of Boulder Creek was quite charming - the forest was open and allowed views to the dry gravelly slopes of Hawkins Peak, and there were small meadows and the creek to enjoy.  The drizzly rain that had started didn't dampen our enjoyment of the trail. Oddly, someone had put up reflective tags here and there along the trail. Had there been some event here? Were the tags to prevent night-riding motorcycles from running into trees or falling into the ravine? Whatever, they were ugly. I should have pulled them all down.

After crossing a motorcycle churned meadow and the headwater trickle of Boulder Creek shortly beyond, the trail climbed one final slope to join a jeep road. We followed the road as it traversed an open slope with a nice view down De Roux Creek and toward Esmerelda Peak. Just before reaching Gallager Head Lake, we veered off the road and found a short connecting path that took us to the De Roux Creek trail. We were tempted to visit the lake, but the sight of a pack of dirt bikers roaring away in that direction, along with the persistent rain, squashed that idea.

The Deroux trail was well maintained and we made good time descending to the meadow in the valley below. Deroux Peak was quite the sight, too, with its big cliff of vivid red rock. Tracks in the dirt showed that this is a popular mountain bike route, but not with horses. The trail leveled out for a stretch in the meadows, but rain prevented us from lingering. A lone motorcyclist passed us there, the first one we had seen close up. Beyond the meadow, the trail crossed the creek then traversed a steep slope before beginning a steep descent. The trail has a narrow tread here and is located above a cliff, which could be a major deterrent to horses and less-brave cyclists. A long 900' descent on the sometimes steep and rocky trail took us down to the Koppen Mountain junction, closing the loop.  It was interesting to see how the switchbacks here had all been rounded off on the trail by the action of wheeled vehicles. The turns were nicely banked, at the expense of wrecking the older, sharper corners in the switchbacks.

After walking the final drizzly, gloomy mile (it was approaching sunset) we arrived at the trailhead at the late hour of 7 p.m.  The horse camp looked a bit miserable in the rain, and I felt a bit sorry for the horses who had to stand out in the weather.

Another great Teanaway loop completed! I'll have to do it again just to see it in nice weather.

Notes:
It had been a fairly lonely hike, with a few hikers encountered in the first mile along with the lone mountain biker and later  the lone motorcyclist. Often it takes a long time for the winter blowdowns to get cleared, so your chances of solitude on these trails may be greater in early summer. I hiked up to the Koppen saddle in early July and the blowdowns had not been cleared.

The N. Fork Teanaway road was in great condition.

Other loops I have done:
Miller Peak-Teanaway Ridge-Iron Bear
Standup Creek-Navaho Creek
Beverly Creek-Volcanic Neck-Bean Creek
Jungle Creek-Johnson Creek-Way Creek-Jungle Creek Road
Johnson Creek-Koppen Mountain Trail-Medra Pass
Paris Creek-Boulder Creek-Cle Elum River road
Paris Creek-Jolly Mtn Trail
Iron Mountain-Turnpike Ck-Ingalls Ck-Longs Pass
De Roux Ck-Gallager Head Jeep Road-Esmerelda basin

meadow below Koppen Mountain saddle
meadow below Koppen Mountain saddle
upper meadow in Middle Fork Teanaway basin
upper meadow in Middle Fork Teanaway basin
new sign at De Roux pass
new sign at De Roux pass
vista, De Roux pass
vista, De Roux pass
Elsnor mine ruins
Elsnor mine ruins
Elsnor mine artifact
Elsnor mine artifact
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Bramble_Scramble
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Dec 2012
Posts: 80 | TRs

Bramble_Scramble
  Top

Member
PostSun Sep 15, 2019 11:10 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Haven't been there myself (yet) but the brick structure you found was a mercury retort from the Nickolodeon Mine according to Discovering Washington's Historic Mines vol. 2.

The book says: The Nickelodeon Mine produced cinnabar, the ore of mercury.  Rather than try to transport the ore, the mine's owners built this mercury rectort at the site. Heat was supplied by a firebox on the righthand side of the structure. The flue gases conducted across the outside of the tubes seen here and then vented from the left, presumably through a stack. The crushed ore would be loaded into the cylinders and the ends seen here would be sealed. The mercury vapor would discharge through smaller tubes on the opposite end of the cylinders. The vapor would then be conducted through water traps, where it would condense into the liquid metal and be contained in the water.

Those miners were crazy. I definitely wouldn't want to be anywhere near that thing while it was operating.  Nothing like some mercury fume to start your day.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Sculpin
Member
Member


Joined: 23 Apr 2015
Posts: 498 | TRs

Sculpin
  Top

Member
PostMon Sep 16, 2019 7:33 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
whitebark wrote:
Most hikers head for Koppen Mountain at this point, and the trail system beyond the saddle is the province of horses and wheeled contraptions.

Yep.  We met three horse riders just short of the pass back in early July.  They said that they ran a horsepacking service up the Middle Fork, and they were on their way with chain saws to clear the trail for the season.

--------------
Even my best friends, they don't know, that my job is turning lead into gold. When you hear that engine drone, I'm on the road again, and I'm searching for the philosopher's stone - Van Morrison
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
whitebark
Member
Member


Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 1849 | TRs
Location: Seattle
whitebark
  Top

Member
PostMon Sep 16, 2019 9:33 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Interesting info about the mercury retort at the Elsnor mine site, Bramble! I was puzzling over the function of the structure for some time. Yes, there's nothing like the smell of baking mercury in the morning - it smells like money!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
DigitalJanitor
Dirt hippie



Joined: 20 May 2012
Posts: 708 | TRs

DigitalJanitor
  Top

Dirt hippie
PostMon Sep 16, 2019 9:52 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
whitebark wrote:
Oddly, someone had put up reflective tags here and there along the trail. Had there been some event here? Were the tags to prevent night-riding motorcycles from running into trees or falling into the ravine? Whatever, they were ugly. I should have pulled them all down.

I'm wondering if these are for snowmobiles in winter/poor visibility. Storms roll in up there during the summer too though, and people on machines get in over their head or have a mechanical and occasionally wind up out there at night, so... I'd vote for leaving them. I'm sure there's a story.

--------------
~Mom jeans on wheels
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
RandyHiker
Snarky Member



Joined: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 6546 | TRs
Location: Bellevue at the moment.
RandyHiker
  Top

Snarky Member
PostMon Sep 16, 2019 10:07 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
DigitalJanitor wrote:
whitebark wrote:
Oddly, someone had put up reflective tags here and there along the trail. Had there been some event here? Were the tags to prevent night-riding motorcycles from running into trees or falling into the ravine? Whatever, they were ugly. I should have pulled them all down.

I'm wondering if these are for snowmobiles in winter/poor visibility. Storms roll in up there during the summer too though, and people on machines get in over their head or have a mechanical and occasionally wind up out there at night, so... I'd vote for leaving them. I'm sure there's a story.

The area is outside the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary.

Before ripping down any markings,  I think checking with the USFS first is a useful idea.

I recall an incident a couple years ago where there was an active search and rescue operation underway around Snoqualmie Pass and the route into the search area had been flagged to facilitate additional searchers getting to the search area effectively.   Unfortunately a skier concerned that the "unworthy" were being lead to their "sekret stash", saw all the flagging and cursing as they went ripped it all down as they skied out.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
BigBrunyon
Member
Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2015
Posts: 538 | TRs
Location: the fitness gyms
BigBrunyon
  Top

Member
PostThu Sep 19, 2019 9:54 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Last time I was up those locales I was runnin' down de roux big thunderstorms.

--------------
i ALWAYS camp at the upper lake!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > De Roux Loop (Teanaway region)
  Happy Birthday Nancyann!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy