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aestivate
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aestivate
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PostMon Nov 06, 2006 11:13 pm 
I went out to the Middle Fork Snoq this afternoon to experience a big flood. Definitely worth the return in rush-hour traffic. I was out there between 3 and 5, when it turns out the gauge was running at pretty much the preexisting record, say 30K. I think it topped out at something like 31.5K, a new record. I was able to drive to about 3.4 miles past the concrete bridge. The concrete bridge was a total rock of Gibraltar, still maybe 6 feet of clearance.  The river was running at express-train speeds under the bridge and into the lower canyon, with plenty of wood passing down. Granite creek, which joins just there, was a darker brown, whereas the clay-ey middle fork was quite light-colored. The big trib in the dip about 1.4 miles past the concrete bridge, just at the end of the mile-long ridge that parallels the road, was pretty cool. There's a box culvert there, a bit undersized, it appears. Water had flowed over the road earlier, but when I was there it had gone down a little and was only going through the culvert. The uphill side of the road was a relatively tranquil pool, just a hair below the road at its lowest point, with a big sucking whirlpool emitting a low-frequency grumbling sound. The creek below the road, on the other hand, with a surface about 6 feet lower, was a total raging torrent. Good thing wood didn't plug the culvert, the road would have gone in a flash.

In general, above the concrete bridge, there is lots of water in the woods, right up against the road in places where one was not conscious of any obvious river channel. They don't call it "flood plain" for nothing. One can see where the old flood channels are. Just about at the federal land boundary, one comes to "the lake", the first of probably a number of places where the river is flowing over the road. I walked through this, about 400 yards, to mid-thigh at the deepest, with some significant current at both ends. Essentially the river has decided to run a channel over the road, down a ways, and then back over the road at a place where there is a woefully undersized culvert. Or maybe sized okay for the stream, but not for a temporary river channel. I expect significant scour of the road bed has occured. I walked up as far as the CCC road junction, over a second stretch of "temporary river channel". The road section right by the river,  which I think was armored after the '80 flood, is actually surviving pretty well, ditto that chronic slump spot right before the ccc road joins. I am sure there are other spots higher up where the river is in the road. Like for sure the road portion between the Taylor bridge and the MF trailhead, since I believe that flooded and scoured in '80. God knows how the rest of it is. No doubt every single Garfield gully has run big. I am sure Dingford creek is quite a sight. I doubt people will be driving to Goldmeyer for a while.
One wonders what has happened to the road in that stretch just past Dingford where it runs just beside the river. May be that the FS unloaded its maintenance responsibilities on that stretch  just in time...

I ran into some guys, elk hunters, stranded at the upper end of the first "lake". Fortunately they had a camper and were comfortable. One of them had a plane to catch tuesday night. Not clear if he will make it.

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Tom
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PostTue Nov 07, 2006 4:23 pm 
Headed up to the MFK today to check it out.  I went a little farther than you did but decided to turn around at a point where the river was cutting the road pretty good.  I saw some FS vehicles ahead of me go thru and seeing how deep it was I decided to turn around. chicken.gif

Here's a comparison shot taken from the first major viewpoint along the road.  Note all of those trees in the middle are gone except for the two tallest which look about ready to go.  I shot some video too that I'll put up later when I have more time.

MFK Snoqualmie from Road (March 2001)
MFK Snoqualmie from Road (March 2001)
MFK Snoqualmie from Road (Nov 6, 2006)
MFK Snoqualmie from Road (Nov 6, 2006)

Lots of little waterfalls along the road too.

Waterfall along MFK Snoqualmie Road
Waterfall along MFK Snoqualmie Road

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Randy
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PostTue Nov 07, 2006 4:34 pm 
Thanks for the pictures. I'm looking forward to driving up there next week for a tour of the damage.

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David
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PostFri Nov 17, 2006 9:49 am 
Moved comments to this thread on road conditions.

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Maarten
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PostSat Nov 18, 2006 10:59 am 
I hiked about 3.5 miles up from the main Mid Fork trailhead yesterday. Found plenty of minor debris and damage, and three spots of major trail damage. Read: disappearance. Two probably fixable with a minor reroute (though harder to do reroutes that work well for the cyclists.) The farthest one, at 3.5 miles where the trail is right beside the river, has major issues. Lots of sand and debris on the trail, but more importantly the river bank's been eaten away and there's not much space to rebuild the trail, as it's all swampy all around. Perhaps long stretches of wooden bridges would work, or a major re-route up to the hillside.

Major damage #1, root ball fell into river & took trail with it:


Major damage #2: looks like water collected until it blew out & took trail with it:


Major damage #3: River bank stretch, overran the trail & lots of bank erosion.



More picture gallery here:
http://thinkling.com/pub/gall06/2006-1117-MidFork-water-damage/

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Sore Feet
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PostSat Nov 18, 2006 12:23 pm 
Did you get to the section of the trail that's level with the river just past the boardwalks east of Nine Hour Creek?  I'd bet the river took a good chunk of that section out as well.

--------------
Bryan Swan
Pictures - http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanswan
Waterfalls - www.waterfallsnorthwest.com
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Maarten
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PostSat Nov 18, 2006 9:44 pm 
This is as far as I got--past the sandy/eroded stretch in the 3rd picture, to where the trail takes a hard right hand turn and goes up a steep stretch with waterbars. Turned around at the bottom.

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Quark
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PostSat Nov 18, 2006 9:54 pm 
Photo 2 is interesting in that the washout exposed a thick deposit of that sticky blue clay from - Garfield, I think it is...?

You always know someone's been working on that trail by the mud on their boots.

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

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Maarten
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PostSun Nov 19, 2006 11:53 am 
Exactly. that clay is one reason the lower MF trail has so many turnpike sections and box steps; there are stretches earlier on the trail where it's hard to build durable trail bed in the existing soil... especially trail that's appropriate for horses and bicycles.

(The other big reason is the many boggy areas...)

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