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FungiFan
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PostWed Jul 13, 2011 6:37 pm 
As blue skies and absent snow at elevation were not happening before my return to work tomorrow Frog Farm and I decided to see if the Rhodies were blooming on the Tubal Cain Mine trail. They are. They start right at the trail head and continue on for about 2.5 miles. The ones at lower elevation are peaking now with a few blossoms littering the forest duff. At higher elevations they haven't started to open yet.


Soon after the Rhodie show we hit the Tull Canyon trail and proceeded climbing. The trail is snow free and no new blow downs.

The eerie marsh at the trail crest  paranoid.gif


Patches of snow now in the trees but none on the trail we trundled on to the B17 wreckage site


At the nearby campsite Frog Farm admires the plane wreckage sculpture enterprising campers have created.


After crossing the nearby creek we found patches of snow along the trail. I got to clear the trail of dripping branches so Frog Farm had a dry path. Once we cleared the brush the views up the canyon opened up.


Snow remains where the avalanche chutes on the E side deposited the most snow. After a few short stretches we hit a steep, solid snow field for which microspikes were very handy. Despite the snow and gloom it was surprisingly warm. There was no breeze and enough warmth from the sun that when we stopped for lunch neither of us needed to add a layer. After eating we decided to press on and see how far up we could get.

After climbing several hundred feet the saddle seemingly within reach Frog Farm calls out to stop and go no further. WTF? Looking back the cloud bank we had seen below us at our lunch stop has now almost caught up with us bringing white out conditions. One last photo and we headed back down following our footprints in the snow through the dense fog.


At this point the camera battery died  frown.gif . I apologize for some of the overexposed pictures. I was trying to nurture the waning battery as long as possible.

It felt like a spring or fall hike with the dark skies, rain and dripping vegetation. 9.2 miles RT.

FF

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bobbi
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PostWed Jul 13, 2011 8:40 pm 
thanks for the update on this trail....

shall have to make a trip before the rhodies head on out!

it's been years since i've been to the plane crash site!  glad to see that we can still gawk at the remnants of the plane!

so no actual hike to the mine?

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Don
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PostWed Jul 13, 2011 8:43 pm 
Cool - the rhodies are on!  Looks like they might even be a little early yet.  I have climbed Buckhorn from this route, but have yet to visit the plane wreckage myself.  Might have to venture over there in the coming week.  Thanks for sharing!

Don

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tigermn
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 6:16 am 
Don wrote:
I have climbed Buckhorn from this route, but have yet to visit the plane wreckage myself.

It's only about 3/4 of a mile or a little less from the trail fork to the start of the plane wreckage. The trail more or less goes for about a mile and a half before it kind of peters out. When I was there last year a couple of guys were continuing on up to the top of the ridge with an intent of making some kind of loop out of it. Not sure exactly where they were going but I later saw them down at the fork many hours later and they had abandoned that idea due to steep/bad snow.

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FungiFan
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 6:46 am 
bobbi wrote:
so no actual hike to the mine?

Not this trip. We have been there before and will be back at some point this summer as we have yet to do Marmot Pass from the Tubal Cain trail.

FF

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FungiFan
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 6:52 am 
tigermn wrote:
When I was there last year a couple of guys were continuing on up to the top of the ridge with an intent of making some kind of loop out of it. Not sure exactly where they were going but I later saw them down at the fork many hours later and they had abandoned that idea due to steep/bad snow.

You drop down to Silver Lake. A trail from there will take you back to Mt Townsend where you can pick up the Dirty Face Ridge trail which will drop you onto the Forest Road a short walk from the Tubal Cain TH parking area completing the loop. A looooong day hike.

FF

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Tag Man
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 9:12 am 
FungiFan wrote:
You drop down to Silver Lake. A trail from there will take you back to Mt Townsend where you can pick up the Dirty Face Ridge trail which will drop you onto the Forest Road a short walk from the Tubal Cain TH parking area completing the loop. A looooong day hike.

That is a great day hike! One of my all time favs. It is about 15 miles and over a mile over elevation gain.

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tigermn
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 9:32 am 
FungiFan wrote:
You drop down to Silver Lake. A trail from there will take you back to Mt Townsend where you can pick up the Dirty Face Ridge trail which will drop you onto the Forest Road a short walk from the Tubal Cain TH parking area completing the loop. A looooong day hike.

Ok I see that now. I have done the Dirtyface ridge trail to Townsend but never been to Silver Lake.

It looks like a steep mile or so from the end of the Airplane junk trail down to Silver Lake. Is there a trail (or boot/goat path of sorts or is it just a loose rocky scramble down to the lake? It looks pretty steep/cliffy on the topo map.

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Hwy
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 12:48 pm 
There is a trail that gets you down to Silver Lake...I climbed south east from Silver Lake side of ridge to Tull Canyon & saw trail on the way back...Also, Silver Lakes tr goes downstream back to road...You don't have to go over Townsend...Usually flagged... before long switchbacks...Not on map but there is a trail register...I think its 1 mile up road from tubal cain parking...Look for truck size boulder on left...

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tigermn
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 1:02 pm 
Hwy wrote:
There is a trail that gets you down to Silver Lake...I climbed south east from Silver Lake side of ridge to Tull Canyon & saw trail on the way back...Also, Silver Lakes tr goes downstream back to road...You don't have to go over Townsend...Usually flagged... before long switchbacks...Not on map but there is a trail register...I think its 1 mile up road from tubal cain parking...Look for truck size boulder on left...

That sounds kind of like these guys were talking about. They weren't talking about having to go back up Townsend.

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Hwy
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 1:12 pm 
Theres a good trail up tull canyon to the saddle...

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Hwy
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 1:16 pm 
trail follows the creek & switchbacks a steep meadow @ saddle...

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Tag Man
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 1:24 pm 
There is a fishermans trail going down from Silver Lake which is an option, but I was talking about going back up Townsend.

Here is my report from a couple years ago. There is a map you can look at to see the route.

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7977087

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IanB
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PostThu Jul 14, 2011 7:43 pm 
Some other fun options in the area being discussed:

The ridge from the Townsend-Welch saddle to peak 6030 above Silver Lake is quite easy.  I've always approached this from the south Townsend TH and then returned via the Silver Lakes trail.

Last year I finally got around to Hawk Ridge itself - Superb!!  Leave the Tull Canyon trail just before arriving at the wreckage and hoof it east up to the ridge which is gained at timberline.  (Plane debris can still be found in this vicinity.)  The 1.25 miles southbound along the ridge takes about 3 hours with lots of ups and downs.  I looped out via the Silver Lakes way trail, but would choose Tull Canyon as a more scenic option.

I am hoping to traverse Mt. Worthington this year, from Tull Saddle to the Worthington-Iron Saddle and thence down to Buckhorn Lake.  I would be interested in info from anyone who has done this route?

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