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Trailblazing Todd
Trail Wanderer



Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 126 | TRs
Location: Everett
Trailblazing Todd
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Trail Wanderer
PostThu Oct 18, 2012 8:43 pm 
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Obi Tony Kenobi and I planned to go as far up Boulder River as we can to see if we could get to an old cabin or a view of a waterfall coming off of the Queest-Alb Glacier on Three Fingers. We started this trip on Friday after work fighting Everett's traffic north on Friday (the 28th). When we got to the Boulder River trailhead, it was almost dark. We put on our packs and headed up about a mile to the first set of camp spots and made camp in the dark about 7:30pm.

On a cloudy day one, we woke up, packed up and had breakfast at the first falls around 8:30am. Then we were ready for the day. Our adventure started after we past the camp at the end of the trail. The trail continues over a log bridge to a sturdy log shelter someone built. After this, the trail disintegrates and we then started finding the easiest path through the forest and devils club most of the time on logs, which are everywhere. I got out my machete and we started chopping our way through the clubs. We then made our way down to the water and were surprised to see a fire pit. We then started up the riverbed a short while before entering the forest again. We wanted to stay in the riverbed as far as we could, so back down to the river. We put on our sandals and started crisscrossing the stream when the rocks ran out on our side. The clouds went away and warmed up a little to make creek crossing barely enjoyable in shorts (for me). Only a couple of times did the water reach my knees. (Most of the time the water was half-calf deep or less.) We then came upon a beaver dam with a view of French Peak near by up the river around 3pm. A few hours later, we got our first glimpse of Three Fingers. We were also thinking it was time to find a flat spot to camp because it would soon be dark. Fortunately, we found a good spot with sand. We made camp and had dinner just before it got dark. My pedometer said 10 miles. Then it started to get light again. We looked to the east and saw a full moon rising. It was bright enough to see the riverbed without lamps. Hanging the food bags was a little challenging this night, though. Dew was already forming on our tents.

First campsite
First campsite
First falls on Boulder River
First falls on Boulder River
Many shades of green
Many shades of green
Slide near fire pit site
Slide near fire pit site
ObiTonyKenobi going over a log jam
ObiTonyKenobi going over a log jam
Boulder River near Ditney Creek (upstream)
Boulder River near Ditney Creek (upstream)
Boulder River near Ditney Creek (downstream)
Boulder River near Ditney Creek (downstream)
Beaver dam
Beaver dam
Three Fingers
Three Fingers
Sunset on Mt. Bullon
Sunset on Mt. Bullon
Camp on Boulder River
Camp on Boulder River
Boulder River camp view (upstream)
Boulder River camp view (upstream)
Boulder River camp view (downstream)
Boulder River camp view (downstream)

On a bright sunny 40 degree morning, we got up at 7am and started climbing up into the forest. It was nice once we battled our way past the devils club and salmonberries, we even found what looked like a trail. A little before 9am, we reached Gerkman Creek. There was supposedly a cabin around here, but the old map was not detailed enough. We found a few flat spots, but no cabin. We found evidence of a bear in the area, though. We then made our way to the end of Gerkman Creek at about 9am. After we got back to camp, we ate a big meal and dried out our still dew soaked rainflies in the hot 70 degree sun. We started down the river about 12:30pm and made better time because of a couple of short cuts and we knew what to expect. We got to the trailhead a little after dark and in the same way we left it - just one car in the lot. Without the register, we would have never guessed that there were 20 people who signed in that day. What a great adventure! Now, time to replace our sandals.

Gerkman Creek (uptream)
Gerkman Creek (uptream)
Gerkman Creek (downstream)
Gerkman Creek (downstream)
At the mouth Gerkman Creek
At the mouth Gerkman Creek
Boulder River near Gerkman Creek
Boulder River near Gerkman Creek
ObiTonyKenobi and Three Fingers
ObiTonyKenobi and Three Fingers
Three Fingers
Three Fingers
French Peak (and Beaver dam)
French Peak (and Beaver dam)
Upstream from French Peak
Upstream from French Peak
Autumn on Boulder River
Autumn on Boulder River
Boulder River (upstream)
Boulder River (upstream)

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Wherever the trail takes me.
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 13088 | TRs
Location: Inexorable descent
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Brutally Handsome
PostThu Oct 18, 2012 10:28 pm 
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Nice one.  up.gif
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Ski
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Joined: 28 May 2005
Posts: 9845 | TRs
Location: tacoma
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><((((>
PostThu Oct 18, 2012 10:38 pm 
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nice.

gotta love climbing over those logjams with a pack.

smile.gif

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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AlpineRose
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Joined: 08 May 2012
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PostFri Oct 19, 2012 2:37 pm 
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Now that's what I call a trip report.  Fun times.
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daffish
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Joined: 16 Sep 2009
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PostFri Oct 19, 2012 2:58 pm 
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It looks like your beaver dams were built by Castoroides - a Pleistocene Beaver.

Giant Beaver

Cool exploring!    up.gif

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"Be moderate in everything, including moderation"     Horace Porter
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Slider
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Joined: 23 Oct 2013
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PostWed Oct 23, 2013 8:37 pm 
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A group of three of us are going to be in the area in August and were thinking about taking this same route but all the way up to the clearings at the base of three fingers to make camp there......which looking at google earth is about another 1.5 to 2 mi. past Gerkman Creek.

Anyone been up that far or know anyone else that has? Just wondering if out and back is doable in three days, about how many and river crossings, and how high and fast the Boulder River is that time of year?

Any other thoughts would be appreciated....thanks.
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Obi Tony Kenobi
Waterfall Crazy!



Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 1891 | TRs
Location: Capitol Hill, WA
Obi Tony Kenobi
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Waterfall Crazy!
PostTue Nov 05, 2013 1:20 am 
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One day I'll post again  hmmm.gif ,but for now here is the info. Our goal was to make it to the base of Three Fingers, but you get slowed down not by the river crossings, but the devils club and bushwhacking. There are about 15 river crossings and most are ankle deep with the occasional knee deep and one that was close to my upper thighs  wink.gif . The water was not swift except for where the river got squeezed (rarely).

The river is pretty much wide open and nothing compare to what is off below the main trail. There are plenty of "beaches" to walk on and avoid the bushwhacking. When you do have to go into the forest you do have to go up pretty high about 200' from the river to avoid those plants from hell.

This is more of a 3-4 day trip and better for the end of the hiking season when the water levels are low. You do NOT want to go if there is any chance of rain because the only places to set up camp are on those beaches and if the water level rises fast and you are asleep, well have a nice rafting trip down the river with your makeshift tent-raft!

Gerkman Creek is creepy. Not sure when was the last time a person looked down that creek from it's mouth at the Boulder River, but it is totally a wild and eerie feeling know that there was a cabin there and a trail lined with shelters along the way. I'm sure we were the first to lay eyes on it in at least over half a century.

From Gerkman trip the Boulder River turns into a long "runway" with no end in sight and the water is squeezed into it, the only way is to cross Gerkman Creek and bushwhack in the woods. The only problem is the other side is a "cliff" so how you get up it is up to you. It is totally doable, on the other hand the forest seems to become super dense all of a sudden and you can't see past the first row of trees.

We were only 1.5 miles away from the goal and it hurt to turn back, but time was not on our side.

I'll be back and I'll get those waterfalls one day, hopefully next year!

One day I'll get the motivation to post trip reports again and I'll post mine, for now hope this info helps!

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Tony
http://flickr.com/photos/obitonykenobi/
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Gil
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Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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PostFri Nov 08, 2013 11:00 am 
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Looking forward to those, Obi T!

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Friends help the miles go easier.
Klahini
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6515 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
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Mid Fork Rocks
PostFri Nov 08, 2013 11:41 pm 
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Very cool report. Love the off trail exploring and researching sites from old maps.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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