Forum Index > Trip Reports > Wynoochee Lake Shore Trail #878 ONF, 13 Nov 2016
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meck
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PostTue Nov 15, 2016 8:54 pm 
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Wynoochee Lake Shore Trail #878 ONF, 13 Nov 2016

A wet, wet, muddy, and then very dark hike!  The trail is OK (16 mile loop, hiked clockwise), though there was much puddling in many places, a full-on stream in others, and generally brushy overall.  Lots of blowdown (lots!) throughout the entire trail, not passable to stock, and it slowed me down plenty.  Lots of trail work will be required in the spring!

I got a late start, leaving the TH at 1115.  By three miles in I was thoroughly damp even with gaiters, rain skirt, jacket, and large golfing umbrella.  By five miles in I was soaked from mid-thigh down.  By mile 8 both boots were squishing and my jacket was soaked through, boots continued to squish all the way back.  The upside was that it was relatively warm.  The rain just did not stop at all.  Last two hours, from roughly 6 miles out, were in the dark by flashlight, arriving at the TH by 1915.  It sure is lonely out there at night.

The Wynoochee was running deep, Maidenhair falls were roaring (very cool place), and every little creek crossing along the way was at least 5" deep and 6+ feet wide.  I was so wet on my way back I did not bother to find better crossing locations.  Thankfully, aside from Scatter Creek, there were bridges to cross all of the larger creeks (which were much deeper).
[Hopefully these pictures show up]
map of the loop trail, note the NW portion that follows the FSR
map of the loop trail, note the NW portion that follows the FSR
the Wynoochee Dam, the architecture evokes some sort of dystopian overlord mood, like a prison fortress... at least to me
the Wynoochee Dam, the architecture evokes some sort of dystopian overlord mood, like a prison fortress... at least to me
the green looking Wynoochee river below the dam
the green looking Wynoochee river below the dam
behind the dam, water filling up...
behind the dam, water filling up...
Yurts to rent in the Coho CG
Yurts to rent in the Coho CG
overgrown campsite in Chetwoot camp, other sites looked similar
overgrown campsite in Chetwoot camp, other sites looked similar
"wet" crossing at Scatter Creek (I was able to sneak across a narrow log just upstream, though the bark/tread was all about to fall off)
"wet" crossing at Scatter Creek (I was able to sneak across a narrow log just upstream, though the bark/tread was all about to fall off)
Looking up one creek crossing's drainage
Looking up one creek crossing's drainage
the Wynoochee River north of the lake
the Wynoochee River north of the lake
where the trail runs along an FS Road that is seasonally closed
where the trail runs along an FS Road that is seasonally closed
Maidenhair Falls, Ranger Rock posted a photos in one of her TRs from when the railing damage first occurred.
Maidenhair Falls, Ranger Rock posted a photos in one of her TRs from when the railing damage first occurred.
Roaring Maidenhair Falls
Roaring Maidenhair Falls
Oly4 enjoying a brief bit of dry while snacking below the bridge on the north end of the loop
Oly4 enjoying a brief bit of dry while snacking below the bridge on the north end of the loop
Looking down at the Wynoochee from the bridge
Looking down at the Wynoochee from the bridge
large tree in the middle of the river
large tree in the middle of the river
There are the lights from the dam!
There are the lights from the dam!

I brought along Oly4 for company, but did not leave him out there.  Only other soul I saw all day was a hunter and his adorable little puppy dog.

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Hesman
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PostWed Nov 16, 2016 6:46 pm 
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I've always wondered what the trail was like. I haven't hiked it yet because I remember Robert L. Wood describing it as an unflatering hike.

Hopefully Oly behaved. I've heard Oly can get obnoxious on occasion.

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Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss
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Pyrites
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PostThu Nov 17, 2016 8:16 pm 
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We're the blowdowns small, medium, or large?

Say closer to 6", 24", or 3' and larger.

WTA did several projects here this year.
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meck
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PostThu Nov 17, 2016 8:59 pm 
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@ Hesman: On a cool, crisp (or even frosty) day, with an earlier start, it would be a fine, if unspectacular hike.  Maidenhair Falls though was definitely nice.  Even with the rain, I did enjoy the experience (once mentally accepting the notion of being wet for the next 4-6 hours).  The only problem I had in the dark was that the trail sometimes crossed other old FS Spur roads/lakeside/riverside camps, and it was not obvious to me where to go (I spent 15 minutes in one spot wandering around in a grid pattern trying to find the continuation of the trail in the inky dark).  I think the north west side of the trail loop would be really problematic in the dark if you had not been there before as it veers onto an FSR for about 0.75 miles before regaining the old trail.  The little red, white and blue trail signs were helpful.

Oly4 behaved, except for when poking me in the back from my pack (probably was missing the views he'd seen the day before from Mt Townsend).

@ Pyrites:  It was a mixture, and it was spread out through the trail loop (sorry did not take many pictures).  Not nearly as bad as, say, the Duckabush, but at least a couple blowdown for each mile of trail.  There was at least two sections with 2-3' diameter blowdown that had partially blocked approx. 10-25' of the trail (I remember one specifically within a mile or so just south of the bridge on the north-east end of the loop, maybe even 4' in diameter for that tree).  There were numerous other blowdowns in the range of 6"-16" diameter where 2-3 trees had come down together.  All of the blowdown looked fairly recent (last 6 weeks maybe) as only a few had had their branches trimmed/broken by other hikers trying to pass through along the trail.  Most seemed to be at the "golden height" for frustration, from knees to shoulders, too high to step over easily, a little too low to just easily duck under.  I had heard that the WTA had been through there the last couple of years, that's why I was little surprised by the number of new obstacles.

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Brushbuffalo
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PostThu Nov 17, 2016 8:59 pm 
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meck wrote:
I was so wet on my way back


I can picture that.  Once we're soaked through, we can't get any wetter( only colder)

Where is that yurt your photo shows?

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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meck
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PostThu Nov 17, 2016 9:15 pm 
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Hi Brushbuffalo, the Yurt is in the Coho CG.  I saw at least 3 there.  That CG (and the whole Lake Wynoochee drainage) seems pretty popular with the South Sound and local Montesano crowd (understandably so).  I only started hiking down there this last summer, but it was pretty busy every weekend I was through that area.

I was so glad the temps weren't any lower during the hike (and that I had reasonably good layers with me).

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captain jack
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PostFri Nov 18, 2016 7:50 pm 
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Coho is one of the nicer Oly car campgrounds. You just have to put up with the zillion miles of dirt road, with yahoos in trucks going 100, flinging trailers loaded with boats from side to side, to get there.
The hike never really feels like your in the forest because roads flank the lake on both sides, and you never really gain any significant elevation to get good views. With all the creeks, and the lake, its makes a great hot summer day hike, with plenty of dips.
Lake Crescent, Coldwater, Dorothy, Bagleys, Spada, all better shorelines.
Wynoochee and Baker are about equal.
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ranger rock
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PostSun Nov 20, 2016 5:11 pm 
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Sounds like a normal day on that trail.  Always wet and muddy and always lots of blow downs.  Not for the meak, that's for sure.  smile.gif  Thanks for the tr.
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ranger rock
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PostSun Nov 20, 2016 5:14 pm 
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meck wrote:
I think the north west side of the trail loop would be really problematic in the dark if you had not been there before as it veers onto an FSR for about 0.75 miles before regaining the old trail. 

Yeah for sure,  better signs are needed there.  Also it gets quite dark in the dank woods on the SW side if you happen to be hiking out in the dark...
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meck
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PostSun Nov 20, 2016 9:19 pm 
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@ captain jack: I can't disagree, though this time of year, with the Wilderness Gates closed, at least the NW end is pretty isolated.

@ RR: Thank you for reading, and posting your TRs a few years back.  It was nice to have an idea of what I was getting into.

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bobbi
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PostTue Nov 03, 2020 7:23 pm 
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since I'm taking notes of the south flank area, I'm wondering if this trail ever got 'cleaned up'

would love to hike it in better weather conditions.

I cannot imagine the rain you encountered there

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HumpnoocheeGirl
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PostSun Nov 08, 2020 5:33 pm 
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Hi Bobbi,

WTA and The Olympia Mountaineers perform maintenance at least once a year on parts of this trail.

Message me if you would like more "south flank" trail info.
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Pyrites
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PostSun Nov 08, 2020 8:25 pm 
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Humpnoochee,

I think WTA has decided this is a good trail to work on when everything else is covered with feet of snow.

Best.
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ForbinsAscent
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PostMon Nov 09, 2020 11:29 pm 
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I did this loop in April. The trail was in good shape most of the way. The only issues we ran into were in the NE quadrant of the loop, within a few miles of the bridge, where the route follows the river. That part seems like fragments of trail, and maybe not even officially part of it. There were some blowdowns and a couple confusing spots.
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