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Quark, Frankm3 & Zoe
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Quark, Frankm3 & Zoe
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PostMon May 31, 2004 2:32 pm 
This trip exceeded my expectations - expectations that were already high to begin with, given previous great trips to eastern Washington.

Frank, his pooch Zoe and I headed to Republic to hike the 13 Mile trail, a trail I have been interested in since I passed by this picturesque area last Memorial Day on my way home from Edds Mtn. near Sherman Pass.  I estimate this area will probably be lush for another 2 or 3 weeks.  After that, put it away until next spring if you don’t care for heat.  The ranger I spoke to in Republic indicated the snow on the summits there is typically gone by the latter half of May (usually a bit later at Sherman Pass, though).

The Thirteen Mile trailhead is about 11 or so miles south of Republic on Hwy 21, a mile past Tenmile C.G. (there are other trailheads, but I chose this one so we could see the Grand Canyon of the Sanpoil as described in the PNWT Guide by Ron Strickland).  The first part of the trail runs along the canyon above a tributary of the Sanpoil Rv.  It wanders through a never-been-logged forest of Doug fir and ponderosa.   In about 1.5 miles, the trail pops up to the wide, open views of the 3,000-5,800’ rolling mountains.  This fairy-tale landscape is cloaked in acres and acres of grassy, green and gray rocky meadows and dotted with stands of deeper green pine and fir spilling out from the deep folds and gullies buried in the slopes.  The valleys here are wide and the views are open and big. We selected a rock outcropping and spent a lot of time gazing at what is known as the Grand Canyon of the Sanpoil.  Many flowers are at their height of bloom, especially buckwheat and desert parsley.  Lupine, paintbrush, millions upon millions of beautiful rock rose (bitterroot) ready to burst open, woodland star, penstemmon, larkspur, and lots of some other Dr. Seuss-looking thing that is currently just a bud.  There are many boot-stopping views to cause one to gladly linger.

The trail is in excellent condition.  It is a horse/hiker/motorbike trail.  2 gentlemen on quiet, 4-stroke motorbikes politely puttered slowly by, but other than that we had the whole wonderful place to ourselves.  This was not surprising to me – Republic is not a popular destination for Starbucks-sippin’, plastic-encased 206’ers, and the locals are not the hiking sort.  There is no evidence of wear and tear on the landscape.  No campfire rings, no social trails, no litter – nothing that would make anyone shake their head in disgust.  It is apparently highly regarded by the locals who do use this trail (would that some trails in Western Washington were regarded this way as well!).

That portion of the 16-mile long 13 Mile trail we hiked never did hit a ridge, however the open terrain makes it very easy to wander up a few hundred feet and do some ridge-walking.  There were so many flowers bloom that we finally had to quit trying not to walk on them (except for the lovely pink Bitterroot!).

We pitched camp at a sunny meadow, then wandered around and clambered up to Pt 3554 (Zoe’s first summit!).  From here we had 360-degree views of the surrounding rolling terrain and cloudscapes.  Rainshowers wisped down from puffy whitey-gray clouds and swept some summits to lift a wonderful earthy-pine fragrance into the breeze.  Along the way to Pt 3554 are many, many charred remains of very recent lightning strikes.  Some are burnt trunks still standing upright, some are long black lines laying on the ground, some are circles of charred pine needles on the ground, and some are gaping black holes where giant taproots now consumed by the fire once grasped the earth.  Most were isolated burns, but one was a continuous burn about 3 or 4 acres in size.  We came across one live ponderosa that had fallen and was still burning, slowly.  The flames are deep inside the trunk, slowly eating the tree.  It could take weeks to burn, unless it snuffs out when it gets deep enough and loses oxygen (the bark isn’t burning as fast as the heart).

Now for my favorite part of any trip to eastern Washington:  the locals.  A holiday family reunion was being had at the trailhead, and when Frank, Zoe and I returned to his rig from our night out, three older male reunion refugees strolled up to us like curious cows.  They had been camping with their families for 2 full days and were ready for sumpin’ different to do.  That’s where we came in handy.  Because of their leisurely stride and their slow, easy speech, Frank and I pretty much figured we were in for the long haul.  So we gladly put the tailgate down, took a long draw off the soda bottles we had stashed in an ice chest, leaned back on the rig, and settled in.  Sure enough, we chatted with these wonderful men and their elderly pop for more than an hour.  The father had helped to build Grand Coulee and Rocky Reach Dams, and had also been on the blasting crew for the tunnel underneath Snow Lakes (Enchantments).  His sons were clearly proud of their dad, as evidenced by their encouraging remarks to his stories.  A wonderful time was had by all.

If you go:  Take water with you!  There is no river access from the trail, and none available until you get to Cougar Creek where the trail crosses Road 2054.  Luckily you don’t have to go far to find wonderful views and places to pitch camp.  Please disperse any evidence of your camp like those before you had done.  The ranger indicated this is cougar country.  We saw none, probably because they moved away from the very recent lightning strikes near our camp (but we did see a moose wandering the streets in the town of Republic!).

Frank'll post photos when he has a chance, since my photos have a blob on each one (left side)* due to food residue on lens.


*this is not meant to be a political statement.  Please take political references to the Devils' Club, this site.

Frankenlog
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Dogpatch
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Dogpatch
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PostMon May 31, 2004 4:02 pm 
Quark, Frankm3 & Zoe wrote:



*this is not meant to be a political statement.

Don't be silly--your pathetic attempts to disguise the true nature of your post are transparent to everyone. Take it to the Club!

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Newt
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Newt
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PostMon May 31, 2004 4:42 pm 
Nice report and nifty photo. Still burnin. Neat country up there and is nice to know the flowers are popin up. I need to go back and spend more time in that part of the world. Waitin for more photos too. up.gif

Newt

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It's pretty safe to say that if we take all of man kinds accumulated knowledge, we still don't know everything. So, I hope you understand why I don't believe you know everything. But then again, maybe you do.
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MooseAndSquirrel
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PostMon May 31, 2004 4:46 pm 
I can't believe you guys would make a campfire in an old log like that.  shakehead.gif

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Rich Baldwin
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Rich Baldwin
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PostMon May 31, 2004 7:01 pm 
Sounds like a grand adventure.

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frankm3
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PostMon May 31, 2004 7:28 pm 
Hi everyone;

What a great time!  Here are a few photos from the trip.  Quark's write-up really does a good job of hitting the high points of the trip; an insightful and well-written report as usual!  I had never been to this part of the state before, I was really impressed with the scenic quality of the area.

It was a real treat to spend the weekend someplace so quiet and remote.  I am already looking forward to heading back over here again.  As Quark mentions in her report, one of the neatest things about this area are the wide-open vistas and the old-growth ponderosa pine forest you get to experience on the hike.  It was really amazing to get to see the aftermath of the fires.  The smoldering live tree has to be one of the strangest things I have ever seen.

On the trip home we took the little ferry across the Columbia at Keller Ferry, and ate lunch in Wilbur before taking Rt. 2 back west.  Traveling at off-peak hours really made the ride pretty enjoyable with light traffic and generally contientious drivers.

Frank

Zoe checking out the view along the trail
Zoe checking out the view along the trail
one of the numerous bitterroot flowers in bloom
one of the numerous bitterroot flowers in bloom
view of our campsite
view of our campsite
view of still smoldering lightning strike
view of still smoldering lightning strike
live tree on fire
live tree on fire
dead ponderosa against backdrop of sky
dead ponderosa against backdrop of sky
moose in Republic
moose in Republic

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MooseAndSquirrel
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MooseAndSquirrel
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PostMon May 31, 2004 7:54 pm 
Hey Frank & Q, really cool shots of the burning tree- very eerie to come upon that I bet. Looks like you guys got some blue sky, eh? Looks like a beautiful area and so green still. Love those ponderosas.
The conversation you guys had with the locals sounds so cool- especially hearing about working on those projects! Alan Bauer will be jealous about yet another person seeing a moose while he remains mooseless. Well, he has seen me hasn't he? tongue.gif

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Allison
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PostMon May 31, 2004 11:05 pm 
MooseAndSquirrel wrote:
I can't believe you guys would make a campfire in an old log like that.  shakehead.gif

Totally. Haven't you people learned a thing about LNT practices?

You should have left* that %^&#!!! poor tree alone!



*this is not intended as a political statement

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kleet
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kleet
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PostTue Jun 01, 2004 6:22 am 
Nice shot of the republican* moose!

I know you've been gone but did you guys know there was a beauty er, uh scholarship pageant going on?

*This is intended as a political statement. The above opinions may be too intense for some viewers.  Not recommended for children under twelve years of age.  Void where prohibited. Packaged by intellectual weight, not volume. Some settling of contents may have occurred during transmission.

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A fuxk, why do I not give one?
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Damian
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Damian
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PostTue Jun 01, 2004 7:39 am 
Excellent.  Few I have met have the rich appreciation for E. Wa as Quark.

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jimmymac
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jimmymac
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PostTue Jun 01, 2004 8:08 am 
It sounds like you folks had a great, high-yield trip. Thanks for the expertly crafted TR's and pics.

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"Profound serenity is the product of unfaltering Trust and heightened vulnerability."
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kiliki
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kiliki
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PostTue Jun 01, 2004 2:19 pm 
Hey Quark and Frank-
How long did it take you to get to the th from the Seattle area? I've been wanting to explore this area-Kettle Crest Trail and others-for a while but it seems like maybe the drive makes it too long a trip for a regular weekend.

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Quark
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Quark
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PostTue Jun 01, 2004 3:02 pm 
kiliki,

it took about 5 hours via 20, due to holiday traffic.  it may be faster to take 90 up through quincy, hwy 21, etc.  we bummed around a bit in republic* before getting to the campground, so i'm not 100% sure exactly how long it took, but it's long.

at no time should anyone ever drive hwy 2.  you probably know that.

the drive for a weekend trip will wipe you out.  you'll be dead at your desk on day 3.

3 days is doable, but you'd be worthless at work the following day.  However you won't be dead.

Frank has a V8 - he let me drive awhile.  It was great to drive that rig!  I had forgotten how great that kind of power is.  You can do so much more with a bigger rig.

*not meant to be a political statement.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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frankm3
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frankm3
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PostWed Jun 02, 2004 5:54 pm 
Kleet wrote:
Nice shot of the republican* moose!

Are you sure he's a Republican (other than living in Republic)?

Seems like Mr. Moose is headed to the left from the looks of the photo*  biggrin.gif






*the following is not meant to be a political statement, blah blah blah.

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Larry
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Larry
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PostThu Jun 03, 2004 8:49 pm 
This is just a fabulous trip report. Wow, how interesting.

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