Forum Index > Trip Reports > McCall (lower Chiwawa Ridge) 10 may 2020
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kitya
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kitya
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PostMon May 11, 2020 9:53 am 
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I originally wanted to go somewhere more fun, but the heatwave scared me (and Cookie) so instead we decided to look for an easy hike with lower elevation, but some snow from the start for Cookie to cool in and good forest cover. So I decided to checkout the lower reaches of Chiwawa ridge.

NF-6300 (Meadow Creek road) is in perfect condition and is indeed paved big part of the way, which makes traveling easy. After pavement ends there are many sections of very deep ruts where ATVs or perhaps trucks sadly destroyed most of the road by driving on it when it was still wet from snow. I managed to drive over the ruts, but they are nasty and deep.

Next I turned into more narrow (but well brushed) and rocky stub road NF-6300-511 and drove it until reaching snow patches at around 3200 feet and some parking available on the side.

There were many-many bity mosquitoes waiting for me right there, but also some snow, so it was nice. Weather was also not as bad as I expected, it actually cooled down overnight and morning was really chilly and cold wind helped me the whole day.

At the point where NF-6300-511 takes a sharp turn takes a sharp turn at around 3300 feet, there is another road that exists on the map, but doesn’t really exist in real life anymore. It is only a quarter of mile, but it is so infested with side alder it is almost impossible to get through. It is so bad that when eventually after fighting with alder you get to dense planted area of small back to back wall of firs, you sigh with relief. At least little firs smell nice.

And next just a bit higher to my surprise I stumbled upon a trail. Like really nice trail. It is, of cause, not maintained, but judging by some rare ribbon flagging, still sometimes being used. What a delight! Even though I have never seen this trail on any map or even mentioned anywhere, it definitely used to be an official forest service trail at some point. There are still blazes on the trees and even metal diamond marker forest service used. It is actually a beautifully built forest trail, with older logs cut and soft narrow needly thread. I thought this might be the 'secret' raging creek trail, but it doesn't really go anywhere near raging creek, so I don't think it is.

I followed this trail as much as I could, but eventually I lost any sign of trail under blowdowns and snow, but it definitely is there somewhere, and it was a hard work of many people who build it.

After climbing over steep ridge we quickly walked up to the summit of Catkin peak. The summit broad and open, but it is barely above the trees, so views are limited.


From Catkin we quickly dropped into the mellow basin between Catkin and McCall. This area is super nice and being tucked away in the forest it still has lots of snow. We met a very beautiful lady douglas squirrel. As usual Cookie ignored the squirrel, but I took time to take some photos.


We quickly climbed back up to McCall through the snowy slopes. The snow was hard so I never actually used snowshoes.

McCall summit views were similar to Catkin, i.e. also underwhelming.

Since the hike is so short, I had still lots of time so I decided to just walk around and see what else I can find. I dropped down from McCall and to my surprise in a melted out spot on Chiwawa ridge I found the trail again. And it was amazing yet again - good narrow thread, some ribbon flagging and cairns to guide through narrow knife edges of the rocky ridge.


I followed the trail just a little bit, until reaching some concerning cornices and snowy moats i was not sure how to navigate safely, but the views were already gorgeous. Twin lakes on one side and Chiwawa river on the other side, Crook mountain right in front. While the ridge is lower than McCall, it is rocky and open on both sides. I don't know how long the trail goes, but I imagine it probably goes at least to Crook.


On the way back I hoped I could find the other end of this trail and avoid the horrible side alder, but alas, the trail just kind of disappeared into the same side alder completely around 3400 ft. It is sad to see a beautiful area become almost inaccessible to most through neglect and hard work thrown away. There is still a trail that maybe can be revived, but there is no trailhead anymore. And there are so many abandoned trails and roads like this. Just as state population started to grow rapidly, forest service allowed clear cut logging destroy the lower reaches of many trails completely, infest them with alder and other brush and use it as an excuse to abandon these trails and roads completely. In the grand scheme of things this is, of cause, not a big deal, especially compared to all the animal death and suffering caused by logging, but if you wonder why ‘popular’ trails are so crowded now, this is why.

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Jake Robinson
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PostMon May 11, 2020 11:02 am 
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kitya wrote:

Great views! Wouldn't have expected to be able to see all the way to Bonanza from there.
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Brushbuffalo
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Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
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PostTue May 12, 2020 6:23 pm 
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kitya wrote:
to my surprise I stumbled upon a trail. Like really nice trail. It is, of cause, not maintained, but judging by some rare ribbon flagging, still sometimes being used. What a delight! Even though I have never seen this trail on any map or even mentioned anywhere, it definitely used to be an official forest service trail at some point. There are still blazes on the trees and even metal diamond marker forest service used. It is actually a beautifully built forest trail, with older logs cut and soft narrow needly thread

I too  enjoy stumbling upon ( and  often intentionally seeking) old abandoned trails. In old forests and sometimes in alpine terrain they can be in surprisingly good shape. I often ponder who the individuals are who built and hiked these routes. As many  NWHikers know, they were almost never built for recreation, instead being  constructed by miners, for fire control, access to fire lookouts, etc., and some followed historic routes used by Native Americans. So many valleys and ridges had trails that if the modern hiker gets out enough, you are bound to come upon one sooner or later.
Fun!

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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neek
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PostWed May 13, 2020 9:04 am 
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I can't keep up with your trip reports!  That squirrel is adorable.  ...We need to put all these newly unemployed people to work fixing trails!!
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timberghost
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PostTue May 19, 2020 5:52 am 
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Some trails better kept to ones self
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > McCall (lower Chiwawa Ridge) 10 may 2020
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