Forum Index > Trip Reports > F.S. Road 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Ck, N. Fork Sky trails
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Nancyann
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Nancyann
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 7:47 am 
Now that Jack's Pass is driveable, it was time to take a look. I drove my F250, but a sedan would be fine. Just prepare for a lot of wash boarding.
Rd. 63 is gated and padlocked shut at the intersection with Rd. 65. A ranger was driving out just as I pulled up. Parking is very limited here to just alongside the road, despite being the new trailhead for Blanca Lake and my destinations as well. There were two other pickups parked in addition to mine, Friday mid-afternoon. A big sign lets you know it is now a 2 mile roadwalk to the old Blanca trailhead, for a 12 mile roundtrip, and 4.25 miles to the West Cady, etc. trailheads.
image
image
Washout #1, FS Rd 63
Washout #1, FS Rd 63
Washout #2, FS Rd 63
Washout #2, FS Rd 63
Washout #2, FS Rd 63
Washout #2, FS Rd 63
Washout #2, FS Rd 63
Washout #2, FS Rd 63

After reaching the fork with the Blanca road, I was hopeful I would find the rest of F.S. Rd 63 in decent shape. I was not prepared for what I found.
Beginning of FS Rd 63 to West Cady Ridge, etc. trailheads, past the Blanca fork 6/17/16
Beginning of FS Rd 63 to West Cady Ridge, etc. trailheads, past the Blanca fork 6/17/16

Ominous start.
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16
FS Rd 63 to W. Cady Ridge, Quartz Creek, N. Fork Sky trailheads 6/17/16

A couple of streams have completely taken over the road for several sections almost half a mile long.
Upon reaching the parking lot, I found this mess and a huge welcoming committee of voracious and very lonely mosquitoes.
West Cady Ridge, etc. trailheads parking lot 6/17/16
West Cady Ridge, etc. trailheads parking lot 6/17/16

I headed up the West Cady Ridge trail, and within the first two minutes, was stopped by a big blowdown mess. Encouraged by the friendly mosquitoes, I decided to turn around and head for home.
Beginning of West Cady Ridge trail 6/17/16
Beginning of West Cady Ridge trail 6/17/16

Along the way, despite my sadness, I was consoled by beautiful views of the N. Fork Sky.
N. Fork Skykomish from FS Rd 63  6/17/16
N. Fork Skykomish from FS Rd 63  6/17/16
N. Fork Skykomish from FS Rd 63  6/17/16
N. Fork Skykomish from FS Rd 63  6/17/16
N. Fork Skykomish from FS Rd 63  6/17/16
N. Fork Skykomish from FS Rd 63  6/17/16
N. Fork Skykomish from FS Rd 63  6/17/16
N. Fork Skykomish from FS Rd 63  6/17/16

One of the benefits of walking the road is that you have time to notice the big trees along the way.
Giant Douglas Fir, FS Rd 63
Giant Douglas Fir, FS Rd 63
Giant Douglas Fir, FS Rd 63
Giant Douglas Fir, FS Rd 63

I'm hopeful Backcountry Horsemen will make it up here this year to clean up some of the damage on these trails which they have done so much work on in the past. Does anyone know if WTA has any interest as well? This is a much-loved trail system which provides valuable access to the PCT and favorite climbing areas. I'm hopeful it won't be allowed to fall into disuse like the Milk Creek trail was.

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RichP
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 7:54 am 
Thanks for the update.  up.gif I was just thinking about a trip to W Cady Ridge. A bicycle is one of the essentials for now.

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Nancyann
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 8:19 am 
A bicycle would be nice for some parts of the road, but not for others, unless you don't mind getting off and pushing it. I was assessing this option all the way up, and for myself, would rather just walk it.
BRING A SAW! You will really need it! And make sure you apply bug repellant before you actually reach the trailhead, because they are VERY friendly! I did not see any mosquitos before I arrived, so was not quite ready for them. fencing.gif

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wolffie
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 7:05 pm 
I think I recognize that culvert... washout same place as last time (like 2 mi from West Cady TH)?  5' culvert, I could almost stand up in it and it was hard to drag the mtn bike over it.

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Distel32
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 7:18 pm 
up.gif and thanks for all the update photos.

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Nancyann
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 8:24 pm 
The second washout, which is the worst, is right before you arrive at the Blanca/West Cady fork in the road. That is where the big culvert is.
They have made a circuitous path off to the left that the rangers can drive their pickup through, but it is very rough.
If nothing is done about the blowdown mess, somebody's gonna have a little work party.  biggrin.gif

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Kim Brown
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 8:38 pm 
I don't think WTA would get many signups to walk 9 miles RT of road for a day of work. Camping at the trail head would be unpleasant for a multi-day trip - as you know, it's notorious for being mosquito-hell. But who knows; rally some friends and see if you can get them to provide one of their leaders for a weekend of work. You don't know unless you try!

I talked to Tom Davis of the Skykomish Ranger District, who said that the road will likely be closed for up to 3 years. The funding source for the repair is Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO). ERFO has been used to repair many of our forest roads after a storm event.

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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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Nancyann
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 8:45 pm 
Three years? That's what I was afraid of!
I checked out other places to camp besides mosquito hell, and there are some decent spots along the road where you look down at the N. Fork Sky, not too far from the trailhead. It's not like there will be a lot of cars driving by. lol.gif
Thanks Kim, for checking into this. up.gif

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olderthanIusedtobe
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 9:02 pm 
Bummer.  We're losing roads left and right lately.

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Kim Brown
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Kim Brown
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 9:20 pm 
No, we're not losing this road. It's being repaired.

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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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Kim Brown
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 9:25 pm 
Nancyann wrote:
Three years? That's what I was afraid of!

3 years is a while, but luckily we'll have the road once again at the end of those year;s and not a permanent closure, which seems to be the case with Green Mtn Road to 3 Fingers, a huge loss. (I don't know if it's a permanent closure but it's been closed a long time).

When the Index-Galena Road washed out in 2006, I dropped in to the ranger station in Skykomish and the information officer said it could be 15 years before it was repaired.  I laughed and blew it off.

Well,,,,,the latest flyer from Snohomish County is saying repairs will re-start in 2017 with a finished date in 2018.

So while the guy was wrong (only 12 years, not 15), he wasn't that wrong.  hmmm.gif

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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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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 9:47 pm 
Kim Brown wrote:
No, we're not losing this road. It's being repaired.

In 3 years according to a previous reply.  That's lost for a number of hiking seasons.

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Nancyann
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 10:09 pm 
I can deal with the road closure, what I'm concerned about is not being to use the trails due to old growth blowdowns. Then they get completely overgrown, trail tread is lost due to washouts, etc., etc.
Last fall, wolffie and I took three hours to go half a mile up to the saddle of the North Crest Connector trail from the PCT because gigantic downed trees had obliterated the trail. Once we got over a tree, often the trail was nowhere to be found on the other side, due to all the brush growing up.
I can see how this could happen on all three trails at this trailhead, because there are plenty of big trees up there.
Same problem with the Boulder Lake trail which we actually brushed out last fall. At least FS Rd 63 doesn't have 45 tank traps and berm crossings, so there is something to be thankful for... dance.gif

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Kim Brown
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PostMon Jun 20, 2016 9:01 am 
What's the North Crest Connector trail?  confused.gif

3 years isn't an unusual closure period, and the trails will be brought back into good shape, likely before the road even opens up again.  I'll be glad - most of my summer trips I had planned would have either started or ended at that trail head!  frown.gif

West Cady doesn't have but a few small water courses, so it won't wash out. Maybe crumble a little, but that hasn't ever been an issue on that trail.  I don't know if anyone ever brushes out West Cady; the only place where it'd be a problem is where the trail goes through the ashes after it breaks out of the trees. Quartz Creek - it has water crossings, but it hasn't washed out tread historically. Blanca - the place needs a rest.

The Suiattle was closed for 11 years; and when it opened the trails were good for hikers because while the road was not open to the public yet, it was OK for administrative use (except the last year), trail crew could get in and work. Even before then, the trails were OK for hiking. Sure, there was blowdown, and some of it was a royal pain in the ass; but that's not unusual around here! Equestrians were the ones shut out.

WTA and the PCTA and Back Country Horsemen heavily advertised Suiattle work parties the year after it reopened and a lot of volunteers helped out.

It'll be good. I'm pretty bummed out about the road closure too; but there's nothing that can be done but to wait, and go elsewhere in the meantime. I discovered N Fk Sauk and the Quartz Creek old growth forests when the SUiattle washed out. And I'm grateful for that!

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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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Foist
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PostMon Jun 20, 2016 2:51 pm 
Kim, what have you heard about the big rockslide on FS 63 in the other direction, toward Troublesome?

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