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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSun Nov 30, 2008 10:34 pm 
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There are 2 approaches to Squire Creek Pass.  Grizzy and I hiked the Squire Creek Trail a couple of weeks ago (see trip report if interested).  This is a shorter approach on the Eight Mile Trail.  Grizzy, JimK and I were the visitors today.

The Eight Mile trail is located 8 miles up the Clear Creek road opposite the Clear Creek Campground a few miles from Darrington on the Mountain Loop (when you come to the fork in the road, go up).  The trailhead is at a wide spot when it’s obvious the road ahead deteriorates.  See trailhead sign and bulletin board on right.

Past WTA trip reports begged the Forest Service to not allow this trail to slip away – well, they’re working on it now!!!  The Forest Service brushed the trail and logged it this summer, so it was in great condition (relatively speaking) for us this day.

The Eight Mile trail to 3 O’Clock Rock is a perfect example of different user groups pulling together for a better trail.  In the late 1990s, WTA worked extensively on this trail with Matt Perkins and the Access Fund (not a 1950’s rock & roll band – Matt, avid rock climber, arranged the work party, sponsored by The Access Fund).  Among its other program agendas, The Access Fund advocates continued access to climbing areas.  Without climbers, this trailhead and the trail leading to the climbing area would likely have fallen into decay due to low usage years ago.  Thanks to climbers and The Access Fund.

There’s more to this trail than 3 O’Clock Rock   
Nearing 3 O'Clock Rock
Nearing 3 O'Clock Rock
3 O'Clock Rock
3 O'Clock Rock

and the stupendous views at the end.  There are many rock slabs with slippy-slidey waterfalls spilling down them, similar to Otter Falls (Mid Fk Snoqualmie trail).   Also there are hundreds - if not thousands - of old growth Alaskan Yellow Cedar trees here.  Among the oldest possible trees that grow in our region (up to 2,000 years old), these grand old trees are worth a visit. The wood is valuable, so it’s not common to see any of the age of these trees at Squire Creek Pass trail.  They are beautiful trees.
Gigantic Alaskan Yellow Cedar and hikers
Gigantic Alaskan Yellow Cedar and hikers

The trail begins on an old, old logging road.  Mildly irritating, the rocks are perpetually wet, so they’re slick.  But it doesn’t last long;  you’re soon on a mildly irritating steep trail.  The forest here isn’t the prettiest I’ve ever seen – but no worries – the upper portion more than makes up for it.  However, a humongous western redcedar thrives a bit before you reach the open slope to 3 O’Clock Rock.  You’ll know it when you see it.   
Giant western redcedar_hiker with outstretched arms for scale
Giant western redcedar_hiker with outstretched arms for scale
Cedar stump_note_right end is at the farthest dark tree
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Cedar stump_note_right end is at the farthest dark tree

After 3 O’Clock Rock, the trail shoots upward and becomes more primitive.  It’s “built trail” characteristics mysteriously come and go.  Now a boot-path, now an excellent tread through a rock slope.
Sunlight below 3 O Clock Rock
Sunlight below 3 O Clock Rock
Too bad I cut half the trees off, but I like this photo anyway
Too bad I cut half the trees off, but I like this photo anyway

While the trail maps indicate no creek crossings, there are intermittent streams that slip down exposed rock waterslides.  We had no trouble crossing these intermittent streams, and though the rock looks slick, it was not (at least not at this date).
NEC number 1
NEC number 1
NEC number 10 and cliff in background
NEC number 10 and cliff in background
NEC number 9
NEC number 9

Views of White Chuck Mountain to the north are very nice; when you near the Pass, Pugh Mountain and Glacier Peak also poke up.  They’re more difficult to see, but are surely there.
Whitechuck and some other mountains from Squire Creek Pass
Whitechuck and some other mountains from Squire Creek Pass
Zoomed photo of Mt Pugh and Glacier Pk from Squire Creek Pass
Zoomed photo of Mt Pugh and Glacier Pk from Squire Creek Pass

Once you get to the Pass, Three Fingers steals the show, and understandably so.  It’s so close that you can see the lookout building.  Spectacular views all down the Squire Creek valley from Big Bear Mtn down to White Horse.
Three Fingers Mountain, lookout building on far left peak
Three Fingers Mountain, lookout building on far left peak
Squire Creek Pass, 3 Fingers
Squire Creek Pass, 3 Fingers
Not bad for a two and a half mile hike
Not bad for a two and a half mile hike
Whitehorse from Squire Creek Pass
Whitehorse from Squire Creek Pass

Jim and I requested of Grizzy to bag a little bump to our south and report back with pictures while we basked in the warm sun.  Grizzy did as we bid, and came back with pics of the Mtn Loop summits for us to view, and reported a sheer cliff on the other side.

We then tried to get him to bag a bump to the northwest and report back with pictures, but he refused, so I can’t report what’s up that way.

The trip down was uneventful, and it was less of a hassle steep-wise than I thought it would be.  As it is relentless up, it is relentless down, but for one portion when Grizzy exclaimed, “finally!  A full stride!”

Past trip reports on WTA’s site are pretty harsh for this trail, apparently notorious for brush.  But since the largest portion of this trail is in old growth forest, I can’t figure out where all the brush is save for a few places here and there - something all trails have – surely not enough to render the full 2.5 miles as horrible…?  I had not seen the trail beyond 3 O'Clock Rock, til today, so I must be way off base. The Pass area is all heather and sub-alpine blue berries.

Other comments bemoan the roots and rocks that have to be dealt with, yet I don’t read vicious complaints about the Rachel Lake trail, the Sunrise Mine trail (Headlee Pass), the beat-to-hell Forgotten Meadows, Pinnacle Lake trail - and the eyesore that is Mailbox Peak with views of a freeway is praised as a great trip.  This trail is only 2.5 miles long – though I don’t recommend it for children, anyone who can huff those other eyesore ankle-twister trails ought to be able to handle this one. Just watch your step.  I’m a world-class klutz and only fell on this trail once - and it had nothing to do with the trail conditions – I slipped on hemlock cones.

Good thing he drew an arrow - we'd never know which way he went hmmm.gif 
Thank goodness he drew an arrow or we'd never have found him
Thank goodness he drew an arrow or we'd never have found him

Thought of LizzyBob when I saw this.
Jesus rays
Jesus rays

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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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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostSun Nov 30, 2008 11:16 pm 
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You make this hike look so good I suspect it will get brushed out just from the extra traffic heading it's way!

Is the trailhead low enough to be accessible all winter? If so, how do you size up the avalanche exposure? Those big smooth rock walls look like they could suddenly let go of a lot of snow.
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSun Nov 30, 2008 11:28 pm 
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puzzlr;

The trailhead is at 1700',  - the Clear Cr Road was snow-blocked this past winter; but it was a high snow year - otherwise I don't really know how far up you can typically drive.  I bet someone on cc.com would know.

I would imagine the avvy danger is a concern;  the approach to 3 o clock rock traverses a steep slope of slide alder, the trail run directly below 3 o clock rock.  Yucko-rooni in winter.

Folks commented on the Squire Creek report that that trail is ok in winter at least to near the view point.  Squire Creek road is low enough to remain open, and the trailhead is only 3 miles from town.

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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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trailjunky
Backcountry Bumpkin'



Joined: 14 Jun 2004
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trailjunky
Backcountry Bumpkin'
PostSun Nov 30, 2008 11:50 pm 
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Way to go Quark, love the last shot. up.gif
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Jasper
Cascade Snow Pig



Joined: 13 Apr 2008
Posts: 350 | TRs
Location: Burrowing in the snow
Jasper
Cascade Snow Pig
PostMon Dec 01, 2008 6:17 am 
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Nice Quark. I like this trail. Wet and muddy and sometimes lots of snowpatches for me to roll in.

My mom and dad took me on this hike on my birthday in July. It was cloudy then and we didn't have the wide views at the pass like you did.

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Stout
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Grizzy
Yellow Cedar Hugger



Joined: 16 Jul 2006
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Location: Switchbacks
Grizzy
Yellow Cedar Hugger
PostMon Dec 01, 2008 7:43 am 
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Fun day in the mountains  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

This is a really cool place with amazing views! We had many crossings of creeks that did "not exist" on the map....

Thanks to Jim for driving. And to Quarkie for including me, this was a very fun hike
really pretty morning near 3 o'clock rock
really pretty morning near 3 o'clock rock
The Pass, it is like an alter!
The Pass, it is like an alter!
Pugh and Glacier
Pugh and Glacier
Dickerson? This is behind the "bump" :eek:
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Dickerson? This is behind the "bump" eek.gif

I will also post some videos later today

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All the birds have flown up and gone;
A lonely cloud floats leisurely by.
We never tire of looking at each other -
Only the mountain and I. ~Li Po~
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whitebark
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whitebark
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PostMon Dec 01, 2008 9:28 am 
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Great news that this old trail is still around! Thanx for the report.
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Jennifer S.
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Jennifer S.
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PostMon Dec 01, 2008 9:40 am 
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Wow, nice place! You got some really great photos. The Whitechuck view, Jesus rays, Pass like an altar are incredible. Wish this wasn't so far from home!
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Gabigabs
Trail Breaker



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
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Gabigabs
Trail Breaker
PostMon Dec 01, 2008 10:58 am 
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Awesome pics!

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Life is simple... Eat, Sleep, Hike!
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostMon Dec 01, 2008 12:34 pm 
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Grizzy wrote:
really pretty morning near 3 o'clock rock [img]
really pretty morning near 3 o'clock rock [img]

Grizz, wow.  That's the best picture of the day for sure! up.gif

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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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raising3hikers
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raising3hikers
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PostMon Dec 01, 2008 4:43 pm 
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Very nice mountain and tree pics up.gif You seem to give me a lot more ideas for future hikes in that area, thanks
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Grizzy
Yellow Cedar Hugger



Joined: 16 Jul 2006
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Grizzy
Yellow Cedar Hugger
PostMon Dec 01, 2008 7:09 pm 
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This was a really cool hike, no way it seemed so short though, it was a nasty climb, weird because it really isn't that long....





--------------
All the birds have flown up and gone;
A lonely cloud floats leisurely by.
We never tire of looking at each other -
Only the mountain and I. ~Li Po~
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostMon Dec 01, 2008 10:01 pm 
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Nice to see another old friend.  Thanks Q!  up.gif
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostTue Dec 02, 2008 12:23 am 
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Here's a contrast with how Squire Creek Pass looked on 12/2/06, viewed from Point 4876 south of the pass.

2008:
Squire Creek Pass, 3 Fingers
Squire Creek Pass, 3 Fingers
Three Fingers Mountain, lookout building on far left peak
Three Fingers Mountain, lookout building on far left peak
Whitechuck and some other mountains from Squire Creek Pass
Whitechuck and some other mountains from Squire Creek Pass

2006:
Squire Creek Pass in foreground
Squire Creek Pass in foreground
Three Fingers
Three Fingers
View toward Whitechuck
View toward Whitechuck

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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peppersteak'n'ale
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peppersteak'n'ale
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PostTue Dec 02, 2008 12:35 am 
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Grizzy wrote:
Dickerson? This is behind the "bump" :eek: 
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Dickerson? This is behind the "bump" eek.gif 

I doubt it's Dickerman, more than likely Liberty.

I need to remind myself to do that trail one of these days, it keeps slipping my mind for some reason
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