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hetrekker
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PostSat Apr 16, 2016 1:04 am 
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Shetrekker and I have been following along here for about a year now and learned a lot, especially of new places to explore. Last summer our typical hiking routine came to a halt, as I had blossomed with 60+ extra pounds on my compact 68" 63 yr old bod, brought on by heart function abnormalities, serious breathing problems, and both sleep and central apnea issues. Normally we do the Wonderland once or twice per summer, never more than 3 days and never less than 2(nonstop for us). We are slow compared to most of you here, but we make up for it by traveling light and not stopping very much. Now when some of you started discussing lime ridge and its access trails last summer, I got really fixated on the notion of making it up there. Perhaps this would be easier compared to the Wonderland. It had all the elements of the perfect storm of hiking desire: little up to date beta, unknown trail conditions, my fear and anxiety, curiosity, my poor health and conditioning, fear of failure, fear of getting lost, fear of shetrekker getting hurt, wondering what its like going up and what its really like on the ridge. In short, we made 3 separate trips to lime ridge over a few weeks at the end of summer. We explored a lot, got lost a lot, bled a lot, and enjoyed it a lot. Also, at the end of October, I made a solo jaunt of the milk creek trail. I started on a cold, wet, and windy afternoon and arrived at the end before dark. Got an early start the next morning in cold, windy, and sleeting conditions and arrived back at the car by eleven.

I started this topic for many reasons. First, hope and encouragement for those wishing to go to these places. Beta; perhaps we may have the most recent working knowledge of these areas and we wish to contribute to this forum and its members. Perceptions, assumptions, facts; in some cases my views vary considerably from what others have said. Safety; there may be some suggestions of what not to do from our experience. Its time to go to bed, more later. Any questions?
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contour5
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PostSat Apr 16, 2016 9:28 pm 
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I've been interested in this area for a while, but haven't yet managed to put a trip together. The idea of crossing the Suiattle is off-putting, and the condition of the more direct routes is also problematic, to say the least.

I made a sort of limited recon out the Meadow/Fire Mtn trail a couple years ago, but still haven't made the trip to Lime Ridge. I'm thinking I'll probably go in and out via Fire Mtn/Fire Creek Pass but I'm still sorting out the options on the more direct routes from the Suiattle.

So, more details from your forays via the Suiattle would be most welcome. Crossing points, trail junctions, general route info- any and all- would be of great interest. Pictures are always helpful! Feel free to elaborate in a lengthy and detailed fashion.

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fear and anxiety, curiosity, my poor health and conditioning, fear of failure, fear of getting lost, fear of shetrekker getting hurt, wondering what its like

I mostly hike solo, but I know those feelings well. I suppose they provide a fair portion of what motivates me to return to the wild places again and again. I rarely feel so alive as I do during those moments when survival itself comes into question. That, and the toe-curling beauty of the alpine that I have come to crave above all else.

Please post more details of your trips to Lime Ridge. I'm sure plenty of other NWHers would be interested as well.
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gb
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PostMon Apr 18, 2016 8:08 am 
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Also would like to know about the Suiattle crossing and the status/condition of the Milk Creek trail?
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Slugman
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PostMon Apr 18, 2016 11:00 am 
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I'm a little confused about the whole "poor conditioning, slower than most of you" thing, juxtaposed with doing the Wonderland trail in two days, three at the most. The typical person doing the WT takes a week to ten days. Two days would be elite athlete level performance. Not trying to criticize, just hoping to understand.  smile.gif

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“The jerking motion of a knee does not reflect the operation of a mind”  Slugman, January 24th 2020
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Foist
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PostMon Apr 18, 2016 12:01 pm 
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#humblebrag.
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contour5
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PostMon Apr 18, 2016 2:56 pm 
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Quote:
I'm a little confused about the whole "poor conditioning, slower than most of you" thing, juxtaposed with doing the Wonderland trail in two days

Quote:
Last summer our typical hiking routine came to a halt, as I had blossomed with 60+ extra pounds on my compact 68" 63 yr old bod, brought on by heart function abnormalities, serious breathing problems, and both sleep and central apnea issues.

Sounds like the sudden onset of some pretty serious health issues to me. Not entirely uncommon or even super unusual, unfortunately.

How about we give hetrekker a chance to share what may be a vast trove of interesting and useful information before we start up casting aspersions, questioning his credibility and flat out running him off with the flaming torches and pitchforks?

A little empathy for the misfortunes of others might not be entirely out of place here.
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chiwakum
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PostMon Apr 18, 2016 10:24 pm 
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I think I may have run into you and your companion at the Suiattle trail head at the end of my Lime Ridge trip and the start of one of yours. I remember being slightly confused by your description of previous trip(s). Did any of them involve starting from the FS RD 25 or did they all involve crossing the Suiattle??

I can definitely relate to bleeding a lot. Plenty of opportunity to do that in the first 1500ft of elevation gain after the Suiattle crossing...

For reference purposes my trip was 10-12 SEP 2015
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8018189&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=
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Hulksmash
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PostTue Apr 19, 2016 12:37 am 
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There is a log crossing of the Suiattle river just down from the Suaittle trail head parking.  It's a mile bushwhack up river.  Milk creek trail itself is choked full of brush and blowdowns.

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hetrekker
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PostTue May 17, 2016 11:18 pm 
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c5, I enjoyed reading your well expressed thoughts and feelings. It was never my intent to give trail reports or detailed instructions or directions. From reading your words, your trail reports, and viewing your pictures your experience and abilities are more than ample to attain lime ridge directly from the Suiattle trailhead. I feel 90% of what we've read is inaccurate and overblown which leads to overthinking what is a simple, doable approach. Think about it: a fat old man with health issues, that has never bushwhacked before, gone up anything that steep, done any offtrail and makes it up on the first try with his lady friend just can't be that bad. As you know, the journey can be as rewarding as the destination, and it would be a disservice  to make it too easy. Because of your love and romance with the alpine, though, the best route for you would be going up the milk creek trail, then the pct to mica lake and then northwest on lime ridge, visiting the lakes and peaks along the way. The pipeline down from box is a fast, easy follow which you will lose toward the bottom, but it doesn't matter; just keep going down, going up and over a slight rise to your left, down thru rotted floor toward grassland, running into the trail you came up. A few hints: if you still wish to bushwhack straight up, use the downstream log straddling the river. If you wish to try and find the pipe or take the milk creek trail use the upstream log also near the trailhead. Getting upstream is easy; stay close to the river, dropping down to the sandbank asap, then walk thru the center of the saplings. Do not go up any high banks and stay close to the water, so no bushwhacking will be necessary. Hope this helps, c5.
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summithound
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PostWed May 18, 2016 9:03 pm 
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Participated in a WTA work party on the Suiattle River Trail yesterday. Rumor from the FS is funding has been secured and a new Milk Creek bridge is being planned!

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Matt
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PostWed May 18, 2016 10:48 pm 
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Well that would be surprisingly good news.

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hetrekker
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PostWed May 18, 2016 11:08 pm 
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That's interesting news, sh. Just yesterday I called the Darrington FS specifically about the milk creek trail and trail marking etiquette for this coming season; he volunteered that there were no plans to be opening up the trail. I don't think he lied to me and perhaps he didn't know. Is this open knowledge and if so could you flesh out more details? Is there some sort of timetable when this bridge will be completed? Anyone else have more to add?
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Kim Brown
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PostThu May 19, 2016 8:24 am 
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They will not likely work on the trail this summer because the bridge itself won't likely be in this summer. So if the conversation was about THIS season, then no, the trail won't be opened. There's a LOT of blow-down and brush on the trail, and sloughed tread and I would think there will be some re-routes here and there. It will be a multi-year process to get the trail in shape, though unless blasting is in order, I doubt the trail will be off limits to hikers, just as it is not off limits now. It'll be a pain in the ass is all.

Since the bridge washed out in 2003, the USFS has always intended on replacing it. They did have one all set & ready to place, but the 2006 floods widened the river, so that bridge would no longer worked, and it's doing duty up in the Mt. Baker District.

Since 2006, the USFS had been embroiled in a web of intrigue in just getting the Suiattle River Road opened. I suppose applications for money for a bridge to a trail that's inaccessible wasn't exactly the strongest appeal. Now that the road is open, casting about for funds got a little easier, and so here we are, 13 years later - we see a bridge at the end of the tunnel.

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Distel32
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PostThu May 19, 2016 9:08 am 
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Kim Brown wrote:
The USFS does not tell folks it's OK to flag a route ("trail marking"). It's one of those things where if someone asks, they say "no" because, well -  you asked. If you don't ask, then they don't say no.

Though leaving flagging in a Wilderness area...? huh.gif Not good.
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Kim Brown
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PostThu May 19, 2016 9:26 am 
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Distel32 wrote:
Kim Brown wrote:
The USFS does not tell folks it's OK to flag a route ("trail marking"). It's one of those things where if someone asks, they say "no" because, well -  you asked. If you don't ask, then they don't say no.

Though leaving flagging in a Wilderness area...? huh.gif Not good.

I took that part out of my original post. There was no reason for me to even bring it up; I thought it was cool of him to ask the ranger.

But the main point is: a bridge is in the works! Finally.

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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