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ale_capone
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ale_capone
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 10:54 am 
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did a couple days exploring the white chuck river road, trail, then up fire creek to the pumice creek flats at around 3,600'. at this point a flagged trail forks off of the main fire creek/meadow mountain trail and heads on flat terrain towards pumice creek. Oddly heavily flagged, WTA work party style for the first 1/4 mile, then navigation flagging to pumice creek. most of it seeming very much like an old road? even seemed possible it went across pumice creek.

did the white chuck river road used to continue further? maybe we where imagining, but my partner and I both thought it looked very much like an old road. even what looked like a small wood bridge. looking at the map, it seems possible some rugged old timers could have made it go. was half expecting to see a rusted out 50's vehicle.  wink.gif

and whats with all the work and flagging after ten miles of mostly commando style maintenance? figure they must be coming over meadow mountain. seems fairly recent, lots of blue tape. and even surveyor type pine stakes with tape... is there a proposed extension of the mountain meadow trail?
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 11:06 am 
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WTA had nothing to do with the flagging on this here project.

Itís the old abandoned Glacier View Trail located on a wide geologic terrace . After the 2003 floods obliterated the White Chuck trail, a hopeful USFS staff flagged the old trail hoping to resurrect it within a reasonable timeline, to take the White Chuck trailsí place.

Funding for road repair (White Chuck, Mountain Loop, Suiattle, many in the Mt Baker Dist), the White Chuck boat launch, the Boundary Bridge, footbridges in the Mt Baker Dist, the PCT and additional damage in 2006  were hotter items, so that project hasnít taken off. Unless it has. Which would be sweet indeed . Are the stakes new?

So far as I know, resurrecting that trail is still a hope. Revamping the Meadow Mtn trail system and over to the PCT  is underway again; the trail from Crystal Lake to Circle Peak was completed in 2008 (it had already been funded and layed out before the floods wiped out the roads leading to the trail heads). A new trail and trail head is planned - it has been surveyed and funded -  from FS 25 to Circle Peak and will eliminate the mind-numbing Meadow Mtn Road walk (and Crystal Creek roadwalk to Crystal Lake).

Re-routing portions of the Meadow Mtn Trail, rebuilding Fire Creek trail and the old Glacier View trail  would round out a nice trail system.

The project  in the Geologic Time Zone, however. Funding.

Commando style work is just that. wink.gif
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ale_capone
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 11:34 am 
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Excellent! thank you very much Kim. that's very helpful info.

Hard to say how old the stake was. I pushed at it, and it broke.. but didn't seem more then a few years old. all tape color was all still pretty vivid as well. maybe it was older then it appeared.

there was a rather ambitious line of tape placed.. while following the marked trail, off to the side we seen the largest combination of solo old growth on boulder I have ever seen. magnificent...  behind it, in the brush and talus, where it gets steep, was an alternating row of blue and pink tape. stretching horizontally through impassable brush for 50'. seemed like a pointeless pain in the ass to place. . couldn't figure that one out either.
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 11:45 am 
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I bet some of the tape is placed by climbers. Or, if for the trail, blasting might be in order.

I doubt we'll see it in our lifetime though.  frown.gif  Doesn't matter how old you are. Even if you were born an hour ago.

Do up a trip replrt on your climb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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ale_capone
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 11:51 am 
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must of the commando work in that area isn't much more then breaking branches, and carving foot holds in the dead fall...

there is a better option from the trail head. instead of taking the trail, go directly behind the sign board. there is a side route avoiding the first 1/4 mile of dead fall, which was the worse.
.. the slide at 1 mile on the white chuck trail is sketchily passable. there are two hand lines for going up and around, but looked more dangerous. we just went straight across with caution.

overall, lots of over and under... many fun log walks.. few spots of very short navigation, but all moderately easy to follow. highly recommended for the aspiring back country parqueoorist..

there was an old Vietnam vet at the car who left just before us. he said he was heading to kennedy hot springs. not sure how that went, but he made it out... and further down the white chuck trail then us.
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ale_capone
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 12:02 pm 
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yeah.. all the tape beyond the last blue tape seemed more like something a climber would do.

I'd do a trip report, but I didn't take any photos...

and then i'd have to tell stories. like how we decided to go off trail in the pumice flats, since travel was so easy. walking among giant old growth, in the middle of nowhere, and I find a noaa weather ballon thingy.. decided it was archeology, not garbage, and left it. besides, we left our packs, water and essentials, and where walking with my off leash dog, and using a cell phone for navigation... then four fighter jets flew past...

that's just a five minute snippet that would create five pages of opinions...  clown.gif
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 12:03 pm 
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ale_capone wrote:
. the slide at 1 mile on the white chuck trail is sketchily passable. there are two hand lines for going up and around, but looked more dangerous.

Jim and I went around that back in 2008. No landlines, no footholds in the massive logs. Not many people had gone back there as yet. It was sketchily passable.  lol.gif
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 1:17 pm 
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And to answer your question,  the road did go further (straight back, not the trail), but not by much. I think Ė but not sure Ė the first short bit of the  Whitechuck trail might have been a spur logging road (I think that first part was logged probably in the 30's 0r 40's...? ; do you recall?)  I do know that back in the mid-60ís, there was talk of a road to the hot springs, and a resort to be built. I donít know that it was a seriously serious plan, or if the USFS would have allowed it Ė I donít recall where the 1964 Wilderness Area border was (I have a map, but itís at home). But it was a concern to conservationists back in the day (and probably not unfounded, given all the other plans swirling around Ė a road to Kennecott, a tram to Ruby Mtn., the Dorothy Lake Highway, a resort at Lake Caroline, a road from the Teanaways to Highway 2).
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Schroder
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 1:58 pm 
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There was a clearcut up Owl Creek back in the 60's and the road went to a landing up the hill, maybe half a mile. The '64 boundary was the same as it is now on that trail.
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gb
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 2:42 pm 
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Some old memories there. I recall probably doing the Fire Mountain trail and coming down the Glacier Ridge trail many years ago on a solo day hike. I then recall probably in the early 90's seeing that the Glacier Ridge trail was very hard to even locate. At that time we went up the Kennedy Ridge trail to above Milk Lake and traversed over Fire Mountain to come down very scary steep meadows to the Fire Mountain trail.

I also very much liked doing the Kennedy Ridge trail and then going over the Ptarmigan Glacier to reach Glacier Peak. That was an outstanding area.

I've never done Meadow Mountain or Circle Lake. Out of curiosity, how far from those trailheads is the current end of the Whitechuck Road? What are those trails currently like?
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Jun 06, 2017 3:14 pm 
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Gb, the Whitechuck Road ends after the crossing of the river and is routed up to Rat Trap Pass. So you can drive to the current Meadow Mtn trail head, which begins on a long road-walk on a closed road. A few miles in, you can then take the old Crystal Creek road-turned-trail to the old old old trail to Crystal Lake or stay straight another few miles to the old Meadow Mtn trail head.

Crystal: From the Crystal Lake outlet, turn left and youíll be on the new-in-2008 trail to Circle Peak. (I think itís about 3 miles to Circle Peak). That new trail skirts the Circle Peak trail head on Circle Creek Road 2703, which is slated for decommissioning soon unless the tribe comes up with funds to keep it open (an agreement made by the Suiattle ATM in 2012. Thereís a crowdfunding campaign to keep it open as well; not sure how thatís going or how future maintenance would be funded).

Sorry, I digress. Itís nearly impossible to explain all this in writing. One needs hands, facial expressions, maps, etc. to do it.

OR if you stay on the Meadow Mtn Road and go past the Crystal Creek road-turned-trail, you end up at the original Meadow Mtn trail head, which goes straight up to an old hiking shelter site, and then you are on the Meadow Mtn traverse. Left goes to  Meadow Lake Ė a deeply rutted eyesore of a trail. If you go right instead of to Meadow Lake, you have miles and miles of high mountain meadow roaming. The trail skirts underneath Meadow Mtn and Fire Mountain and to the old Fire Chief Shelter site. The Meadow Mtn trail then changes names to the Fire Mtn trail, and it is a beautiful trail that switchbacks nicely to a large flat, the site of the 1915 fire that gave the mountain and creek its name (this information is in Routes & Rocks). The flats are gorgeous. The puncheon so old that you see only puncheon-shaped moss. And your  footprints are left behind as you walk on them.

So: 2 ways to get to Circle Peak. Bike Road 2703 to the original trailhead. Or walk or bike Meadow Mtn Road to Crystal Creek Road (doubtful you can get a bike through that vegetation mire It was decommissioned long ago and not maintained - it was brushed out by trail crew in 2008,  a rareity. Meadow Mtn Road is minimally maintained because it is not decommissioned, but only closed Ė that means it could be re-opened to logging some day, doubtful as it may be.) and bash up an obvious bootpath to the old old trail. In the future, you will get to Circle Peak and Crystal Lake via the new Bull Bear trail (itíll be open to bikes to the Wilderness boundary).

The connecting route between Crystal Lake and Meadow Mtn is blowdown hell on the Crystal Lake side. We did it with just a little trouble in 2008.

Itíd be easier to show you on a map. Perhaps Iíll see you at a Mounties Naturalist program soon.
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gb
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gb
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PostFri Jun 09, 2017 10:25 am 
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Thanks, Kim. That leaves one question. Which Peak is Circle Peak? I would assume that is peak 5639' SE of Circle Lake? If that is the case, it might be reasonable to walk the ca. 7-1/2 miles to Circle Peak and then run along the ridge to gain the Meadow Mountain trail roughly where it gains the top of the ridge?
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Schroder
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PostFri Jun 09, 2017 12:12 pm 
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Open this map full screen.
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ale_capone
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PostSat Jun 10, 2017 9:04 am 
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GB..

We where attempting a different way up glacier, but eventually gave up due to time. Knowing what we know now, it still seems possible. We did white Chuck road>white Chuck trail>mountain meadow/fire Creek trail to 4,000'(where the trail recrossed fire Creek).  Bridge was fine. Turned around here, and went back..

Definitely not the worst trail around.

Shcroeder.... The "new" bridge they built over owl Creek in 99 is still looking good. The bank is crumbling at both ends though. There is also a 100 yard long earthen crevasse 6' deep6" wide running down the center of the road at one point. Could be the start of a HUGE land slide.
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gb
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PostSun Jun 11, 2017 4:48 am 
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Thanks to all of you for your help. I would like to go back. My memories of this part of Glacier Peak are testament to the beauty and majesty.
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