Forum Index > Trip Reports > Wellington to Windy Point Tunnel (Iron Goat Trail) 8/8/09
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostSat Aug 08, 2009 11:58 pm 
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Left the house this morning (solo) with about six different destinations in mind.

Ended up doing 1.5 of them.

First trail of the day was the Iron Goat Trail from Wellington to the Windy Point Tunnel.  This section was about 8 miles, round trip, with very little elevation gain/loss.

Warning:  Too Many Photos (yes, really, too many, I'm sure of it).

Somewhere along the line a couple years ago, Marylou recommended the book The White Cascade by Gary Krist.  It was a great book and was the reason I had to come visit Wellington.

To reach Wellington, as you head west on Hwy 2 from Stevens Pass, take the first right.  Follow the road and then the sign to Wellington.  It's about 3 miles from Hwy 2 and the road is 'decent' for any vehicle (except a skateboard).

For those that don't know, Wellington used to be a railroad town that supported trains crossing over the pass and is also the location of a notorious avalanche (the nations deadliest, according to the book) that wiped out numerous buildings as well as two trains.  One of the trains was a passenger train, loaded with passengers, that had been stranded at Wellington for days due to weather.

This trail has an abundance of informative signs along the way, which are provided at the bottom of the photos in case you want to try and read them online.

Despite the grim history and the ominous snowshed, the greenery was beautiful and it was really very interesting to 'hike' in this Land Of the Lost type of environment.  Fascinating to watch Nature take back what former generations have left.

At the beginning of the trail you enter a very long snowshed.
More Snowshed
More Snowshed
Outer lane of snowshed
Outer lane of snowshed
Snowshed Entrance from Wellington Toward Windy Point
Snowshed Entrance from Wellington Toward Windy Point
Fern inside snowshed
Fern inside snowshed
Hikers in snowshed help to show scale
Hikers in snowshed help to show scale
Snowshed ghost  ;~)
Snowshed ghost  ;~)
Hikers in snowshed for scale in front of collapse
Hikers in snowshed for scale in front of collapse
Collapsing Snow Shed
Collapsing Snow Shed
Exiting Snowshed on way to Windy Point Tunnel
Exiting Snowshed on way to Windy Point Tunnel
Rebar & Concrete dangling from snowshed roof
Rebar & Concrete dangling from snowshed roof

Then you hike along side a concrete wall which used the be the uphill/back side of a snowshed that had a timber roof (12x12 timbers).  The roof timbers were removed when this route was retired, but the wall remains.
Snowshed back wall with greenery
Snowshed back wall with greenery
Waterfall Wall
Waterfall Wall

The trail then just proceeds along the railroad grade with steep slopes above, and below.  Some areas were forested, some were open avalanche paths.
Trail View
Trail View
More View
More View
Water on Leaf
Water on Leaf
Water on Club
Water on Club

After a couple miles you come to an unusual clearing.  This unusual landscape is a result of a snowshed that was made entirely of timbers (no cement back wall).  When the route was retired, it was decided that these timbers were rotting, so instead of removing them like on the other snowsheds, they left the timbers in place.  So, here they sit.  Slowly decomposing.  Very Slowly.
Collapsed Wooden Snow Shed
Collapsed Wooden Snow Shed

Shortly thereafter you reach the Windy Point Tunnel.  Pics of that are in my trip report from August 2007 where I used the Crossover Trail to reach Windy Point Tunnel.  It's shorter but steeper, and you don't go through Wellington.

Once reaching Windy Point Tunnel, I turned around.
After returning to the parking lot, I noticed the trail continued in the other direction.  That trail had a few additional signs and points of interest, but it dead ends just before a tunnel due to the potential for flash floods.
Closed Tunnel (flash flood danger)
Closed Tunnel (flash flood danger)

All in all, it was a fascinating trail.  Few people were out here today, bugs were not a problem and the trail is easy to follow... and flat.

For those who are interested, after finishing this hike I finished the day with a short 4 mile jaunt southward on the PCT from Steven's Pass up to the ridge and back down, just to see what there is to see (which wasn't much).

Happy Trails!
~E

Iron Goat Trail Signage Pics:
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Warning
Trail Warning
Trail Warning
Trail Warning
Trail Signage
Trail Signage
Trail Warning
Trail Warning

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"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
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Kim Brown
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Joined: 13 Jul 2009
Posts: 4524 | TRs

Kim Brown
Member
PostSun Aug 09, 2009 6:06 pm 
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Hey, Elv, I've always wondered what Wellington was like.  I wanted to go last fall, but I wanted to read the book first.  I never got around to checking the book out at the library, so put it off.

There's still time for me to get to the book this summer and to Wellington this fall.  So you say that's a pretty good book, hey?  I've heard from several people that it is.
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostSun Aug 09, 2009 10:34 pm 
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Kim_B, it is a fantastic book.
Thumbs up from start to finish.

If you want to make a day of it I would suggest starting down at the bottom, using the crossover trail to Windy Point then go to Wellington & back.  That way you have the ~700 foot gain up front then an easy, barely noticable incline for 4 miles before turning around.

But... I've heard there is cool stuff to see west of Windy Point tunnel also that I haven't been to yet.

A moist, but not wet, fall day would be perfect.

~E

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"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 5996 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostMon Aug 10, 2009 1:43 am 
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Thanks for the sign pictures -- interesting reading. I'd like to go sometime.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Wellington to Windy Point Tunnel (Iron Goat Trail) 8/8/09
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