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Hulksmash
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PostSun Sep 19, 2010 9:07 pm 
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For those who do not know.  The Walt Bailey Trail and the old Mallardy Ridge trail are not the same trail.  Nor do they ever cross paths.  The old Mallardy/Black Jack Ridge trial in the past was a loop that began at the Stilly, went to a fire lookout then along the ridge's to the Stilly again.  The look out was removed in the 50's and the trail abandoned.  Much of the trail was erased by logging.  The rest erased by time.  I have many hours of boot time looking for sighs of this trail.  Always coming up with nothing.  So this weekend i decided to try something different.  Instead of searching Mallardy ridge, i decided to cut it off in the middle, and search for the Black Jack ridge section of trail.  The closest any active road comes to this section of trail as the raven fly's is just under a mile.  But it is all bushwack, with a short section of extremely dense regenerating clear cut.  Once through to the uncut forest the brush gave way to semi open forest, with little evidence anyone has been in that area in a very, very long time. 

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Before long i was on a forested ridge top.  The trail routed in this location but i did find a blaze or two. confused.gif   Don't know why they were there and more than what i have been able to find in the past on Mallardy ridge where there is supposed to be.

This one jumped out at me.

Old Scar
Old Scar
Grafiti dated 1985? 88?
Grafiti dated 1985? 88?

Is this an old blaze that got taged in the 80's or is it simply a hunter marking his trail?  Probably will never know.

Unfortunately, i ran in to a cliffy area just short of the high point of the ridge, and the possibility of intersecting the old trail. frown.gif   But shortly after being forced to turn around the clouds began to break and the sun came out. up.gif  up.gif

Forest on Black Jack Ridge
Forest on Black Jack Ridge
Foggy forest
Foggy forest

Even got a peak a boo view through the clouds and surrounding peaks from near the top of the ridge.  Just wish my photo did it justice.

Peak A Boo view of the Stilly Valley
Peak A Boo view of the Stilly Valley

After retuning to the car.  With time to burn i gave another try on Mallardy ridge.  To my surprise i found about a 10th of a mile of faint tread just off the road in an area i already searched.  Just enough for me to continue another day.

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"Bears couldn't care less about us....we smell bad and don't taste too good. Bugs on the other hand see us as vending machines." - WetDog

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Schroder
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PostTue Sep 21, 2010 11:23 am 
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up.gif You'll find it one of these days.
Have you found any maps better than Metsker's showing the trail? Here's what an old one of mine shows
It used to be a popular trail to take the kids at Camp Silverton on until they logged the lower slopes near the river in the late 1960's
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Hulksmash
Cleaning up.



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PostTue Sep 21, 2010 12:49 pm 
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No have not found a better map.  But that Nels Bruseth does provide some incite as to why it is a loop type trail. Although i still take Mallardy section with a grain of salt.  Looking at the Nels Bruseth sketch the lookout is positioned far north of the high point of Blackjack ridge.  If indeed the was the true location of the look out why have such a long back door route?  This is speculation on may part, i'm thinking it simply because of the Stilley and frequent flooding.  It might have been simply a little used lightly maintained alternative route in case of flood.  This might be why the Mallardy ridge trail is so difficult to find.
If this is the case the Black Jack ridge section might be more obvious sans the logged off area.
Interesting you mention it was popular to take the kids at camp Silverton up there.  How did they cross the river?

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"Bears couldn't care less about us....we smell bad and don't taste too good. Bugs on the other hand see us as vending machines." - WetDog

Albuterol! it's the 11th essential
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Sawyer
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PostTue Sep 21, 2010 12:56 pm 
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The trails not only access the lookouts, but also access the trees for the fire fighters.
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Schroder
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PostTue Sep 21, 2010 3:20 pm 
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There was an easy crossing to wade just upstream of Camp Silverton (pre-1980 flood). I don't remember much specifically about the trail though.

The Metskers map shows the Blackjack trail down to the river just opposite Sperry-Iversen mine. I poked around the mine a couple of years ago and found good trails above it (north) with ruins of several buildings - along that spur trail connecting with the Marten Creek trail on the same map.

The Lookouts book says the 40 ft tower was at Point 4519. There's nothing corresponding with that on any map I have. Majors says the lookout site was at the northwest end of Blackjack Ridge (Point 4289?).
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captain jack
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PostTue Sep 21, 2010 5:04 pm 
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I'm sure Hulk saw this one too, from an old Mallardy Ridge report from way back in Ought Two, but maps are cool.  biggrin.gif
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Hulksmash
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PostWed Sep 22, 2010 11:25 am 
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Sawyer has a point....But would a fire access trail be built and maintained to the same standard as a look out access trail?

I'm more than curious how much remains of the trail on Black Jack ridge.  4031 looks like an easy route to get there, but it's not.  It's horribly over grown, tried that road last weekend....gave up on the road and just walked through the forest. lol.gif   Might just ford the Stilly and bushwack up there.  The safe fording window is probably gone this year.

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"Bears couldn't care less about us....we smell bad and don't taste too good. Bugs on the other hand see us as vending machines." - WetDog

Albuterol! it's the 11th essential
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Sawyer
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PostWed Sep 22, 2010 1:57 pm 
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Many trails were built in the 20's and 30's to get people and horses and equipment to fires, and to get supplies and people and horses to the lookouts. Examples: Barlow Point, Granite Mtn. They planned over 700 lookouts in Washington State alone.

Many trails were built in the 1880's and later to get to mines. Examples are Gothic and Glacier Basins, Marten Creek.

Occasionally, trails were purposely built to recreational places. Mt Dickerman is one example. This isn't too common though. Most of our "recreational" trails were not built for that purpose, until the last few decades.

Many boot-beaten paths have become recreational trails to lakes, viewpoints, hunting areas, berry picking areas, and peaks. Examples include Mason Lake.

We have a great legacy of trails mostly due to fire fighting!
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crock
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PostSat Nov 07, 2020 5:57 pm 
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Schroder wrote:
The Lookouts book says the 40 ft tower was at Point 4519. There's nothing corresponding with that on any map I have. Majors says the lookout site was at the northwest end of Blackjack Ridge (Point 4289?).

I know this is an old thread...  I'm interested in finding the old Mallardy Ridge Trail and so came across this thread.

Point 4519 shows up on the 1957 USGS 1:62,500 Silverton map.  https://livingatlas.arcgis.com/topoexplorer/index.html  It is a mile southwest of Marble Peak and 1 mile southeast of Point 4289.
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Chief Joseph
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PostSat Nov 07, 2020 6:08 pm 
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I have looked for it but never found it, not sure if it is off the road terminus or prior to it?

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Riverside Laker
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PostSat Nov 07, 2020 6:22 pm 
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http://www.willhiteweb.com/washington/fire_lookouts/blackjack_ridge_lookout/mountain_loop_218.htm
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Pyrites
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PostSat Nov 07, 2020 8:24 pm 
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You had me at Old.
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Sculpin
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PostSun Nov 08, 2020 8:50 am 
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I tried to follow the Mallardy Ridge Trail one time.   frown.gif

The story goes like this:  hiking friend in from out of town, wanted to do one last day hike before he flew home.  I had a really old hike book that showed a trail from the point where road 4032 crosses Mallardy Ridge, going up to a junction at the top of the ridge.  From the junction we were planning on turning right to Cutthroat Lakes.  At least that is what I remember even though I am not sure which hike book it was because I cannot find this entry now.  At any rate, the Walt Bailey Trail from the end of road 4032 was what we wanted, but it did not exist when my guide book was published.

So we started up from the road on tread which lasted maybe 100 feet and then petered out in open woods.  There were blazes and occasional little spots of cut tread, but soon everything was lost in blowdown.  We continued up the ridge until it looked like the route had to drop into a swampy area, and we turned around.  When we got back to the car, we were wondering what went wrong with our routefinding, so we drove to the end of the road and were surprised to find a parking lot and the very-well-established Walt Bailey Trail.   dizzy.gif

None of the old maps posted in this thread show a connector over to Cutthroat Lakes.   confused.gif

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Dansjolseth
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PostSun Nov 08, 2020 4:18 pm 
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I have a stash of old Metsker maps and over the years found them very helpful in finding now-abandoned trails.  Those of Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish counties and several on the east side are gems.
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