Forum Index > Trip Reports > Wenatchee Guard Station (Umatilla National Forest) March 9-11, 2019
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
RichP
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 4421 | TRs
Location: Moscow, Id.
RichP
  Top

Member
PostTue Mar 12, 2019 5:55 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
After seeing several reports on nwhikers over the years I finally got a chance to visit this historic guard station high on a ridge in The Blue Mountains.

I saw a good weather window and reserved the facility through recreation.gov. A shout out to several friends who I thought might be interested rounded up one other person so we were a team of two.

Upon contacting the Pomeroy Ranger Station to get the access code for the door I learned that Cloverland Rd was only plowed to 5 miles before the Cloverland Sno-Park. Lack of funds and tons of snow this year has made it impossible to keep the road open. This would make for more than 8 miles to ski up to the facility. Oh well, I was going anyway.  biggrin.gif
We arrived to a wide spot in the road where snowmobilers had their rigs lined up and began the ski in. It ended up being only 7.25 miles to the guard station instead of 8+ we were expecting.

As we were approaching we saw two snowshoers ahead of us. We caught up to them and began to chat realizing that we were all going to the same place. We thought it odd that the facility had been booked by two parties but all decided we would make the best of it as there is room for 4 max. It was getting late and nobody was going to return as a deep chill began to set in.

We fired up the propane stove and the guard station warmed up quickly.

Cloverland Road is normally plowed to Cloverland Sno Park but there was so much snow this year that plowing stopped three miles short. Not much of an inconvenience for snowmobiles though.
Cloverland Road is normally plowed to Cloverland Sno Park but there was so much snow this year that plowing stopped three miles short. Not much of an inconvenience for snowmobiles though.
My first time in this national forest.
My first time in this national forest.
Cloverland Sno Park sits idle.
Cloverland Sno Park sits idle.
Big Butte.
Big Butte.
Looking south from the top of the ridge near Wenatchee Guard Station. The Grande Ronde River is some 4000' below.
Looking south from the top of the ridge near Wenatchee Guard Station. The Grande Ronde River is some 4000' below.
Last hill to the guard station where we'll spend two nights.
Last hill to the guard station where we'll spend two nights.
Two snowshoes from Spokane were also headed to the guard station. Somehow the facility was double booked. We all agreed that it was no problem since we were 4 in total which is the maximum allowed per night.
Two snowshoes from Spokane were also headed to the guard station. Somehow the facility was double booked. We all agreed that it was no problem since we were 4 in total which is the maximum allowed per night.
Wenatchee Guard Station.
Wenatchee Guard Station.
Looking southeast from the guard station. This is a popular snowmobiling area.
Looking southeast from the guard station. This is a popular snowmobiling area.
Built by the CCC in 1933-34 and still standing.
Built by the CCC in 1933-34 and still standing.
The guard station is one of many historic structures that are preserved and maintained with funds from nightly rentals. Many would be lost forever if not for this program.
The guard station is one of many historic structures that are preserved and maintained with funds from nightly rentals. Many would be lost forever if not for this program.

The following morning our two housemates snowshoed out and we skied west along the ridge enjoying the views to the south of the Wallowas, Seven Devils and other ranges in the distance. Canyons drop down to the Grande Ronde some 4000' below.

I used a sled to pull the gear up and it worked great.
I used a sled to pull the gear up and it worked great.
The three days we were here were windless and sunny.
The three days we were here were windless and sunny.
Looking south to Oregon. Several ranges are visible from here.  Saddle Butte is the last peak on the ridge right of center.
Looking south to Oregon. Several ranges are visible from here.  Saddle Butte is the last peak on the ridge right of center.
We skied out about 6 miles west to Jones Ridge.
We skied out about 6 miles west to Jones Ridge.
In spite of it being a sunny Sunday, there were not many snowmobilers out today.
In spite of it being a sunny Sunday, there were not many snowmobilers out today.
Leaving Asotin and entering Garfield County.
Leaving Asotin and entering Garfield County.
A campground along the way at 6000.'
A campground along the way at 6000.'
Back at the guard station after a day of skiing.
Back at the guard station after a day of skiing.
My new skis are getting plenty of use this year.
My new skis are getting plenty of use this year.
A modern pit toilet at the guard station.
A modern pit toilet at the guard station.
The facility has a propane heater, stove and refrigerator.
The facility has a propane heater, stove and refrigerator.
I wasn't sure if the wind scoured the area around the cabin out or if it was dug out intentionally. At any rate, it was nice to not have to dig our way to the door.
I wasn't sure if the wind scoured the area around the cabin out or if it was dug out intentionally. At any rate, it was nice to not have to dig our way to the door.
The Wallowas.
The Wallowas.
Wenatchee Guard Station.
Wenatchee Guard Station.
The area transitions to fir and tamarack from mostly pine below the ridge.
The area transitions to fir and tamarack from mostly pine below the ridge.
Shed behind the guard station.
Shed behind the guard station.

After another windless night the morning dawned sunny and cold. We began to pack up for the ski out which went quickly. I was pulling a sled with most of the gear which was far better than having it on my back.

Ready to ski out.
Ready to ski out.
The distant Wallowas.
The distant Wallowas.
Nearing the car on the way down.
Nearing the car on the way down.

--------------
Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Nancyann
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2013
Posts: 1420 | TRs
Location: Sultan Basin
Nancyann
  Top

Member
PostTue Mar 12, 2019 11:07 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Youíre getting a lot of use out of your new skiis. Sure beats snowshoeing up long roads, and pulling your gear in the sled was a great idea!
Nice to see a trip report from that unique and scenic area. Iím guessing it would also be good in the fall when the tamaracks turn gold.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
RichP
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 4421 | TRs
Location: Moscow, Id.
RichP
  Top

Member
PostTue Mar 12, 2019 12:58 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Fall would be nice but I imagine there are many hunters out and about cruising these ridges then.

--------------
Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
glenoid
Member
Member


Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 249 | TRs

glenoid
  Top

Member
PostTue Mar 12, 2019 4:53 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
up.gif  Fun trip. Wenatche guard house has the best view of all the guard houses in the Umatilla. It is too bad that the road runs right in front of it.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
fourteen410
Member
Member


Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 1697 | TRs

fourteen410
  Top

Member
PostTue Mar 12, 2019 8:54 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
WGS is a special place. Bummer about the extra 10mi RT and weird about the double booking. I've had issues with people poaching reservations recently (claiming to have them when they don't or overstaying), so hopefully that wasn't the case. Glad you got to experience it!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
RichP
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 4421 | TRs
Location: Moscow, Id.
RichP
  Top

Member
PostWed Mar 13, 2019 5:43 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
glenoid wrote:
It is too bad that the road runs right in front of it.

The winter groomed route actually passes right by the door of the cabin. In summer the road is below. A couple of comments in the log book expressed the noise as "annoying" but  we found all the snowmobilers we encountered to be very courteous and all slowed down when passing us when we were out skiing. The newer generation of machines definitely make less noise and stink than those of the past. There really wasn't that many of them for that matter.

fourteen410 wrote:
I've had issues with people poaching reservations recently (claiming to have them when they don't or overstaying), so hopefully that wasn't the case

That was my initial thought but I believe that there was some kind of glitch in the system. I've written recreation.gov to inform them and will contact the Pomeroy Ranger Station as well.

I can imagine some major conflict if somebody with a reservation looking for privacy arrived to an already occupied facility.  frown.gif Too bad people feel the need to do that because it's really an inexpensive option and all the funds generated are for maintaining these cabins for the public's use. If the system is abused, no doubt this program will cease to exist for everybody and these structures will languish to the point of no return.  frown.gif

--------------
Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Wenatchee Guard Station (Umatilla National Forest) March 9-11, 2019
  Happy Birthday kiliki, mtnmschist, adamcwatts!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy