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HitTheTrail
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PostSun Jul 28, 2019 8:46 am 
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A lot of burned trees are coming down between the north fork Entiat and the end of the road at Cottonwood campground/TH. On friday we saw three very fresh cuts and debris on the road as well as one car parked by a big downfall near the end of the road (the tree had been cleared after the car was left). The next day on our way back down the Entiat valley trail we met a couple who told us they had just pulled a small tree out of the road with a strap on their car near Cottonwood only to get stranded by a larger tree just up the road. They had to wait until someone with a chainsaw happened by. On our drive down the valley we passed a FS crew cutting out a new downfall. The sawyer told us he had been busy and that this situation would probably see him through to his retirement.
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Jul 29, 2019 10:10 am 
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This reminds me that it's a good idea to have non perishable food in your car.  And water.  Not the first time I've heard of people being stranded at or near a trailhead.
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Jul 29, 2019 11:02 am 
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Great reminder; itíll be like that for years, no doubt! I wonder WTA, USFS, etc. websites include this kind of warning on trail heads accessed in the area? I did a check on the Entiat Rv trail on WTAs site and it was not there, though the most recent trip report discusses it. Trees coming down is a matter of course after a fire.

Iíve almost been caught behind trees downed after a storm while out backpacking. Luckily Iím a bit on the dumb side and persevered and got my truck over the tree. If I were in the car I have now, though I could stand to lose a few pounds, I donít want to end up skillenton in the woods.

Damn I shouldnít have said thatÖ.

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HitTheTrail
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PostWed Nov 20, 2019 6:31 am 
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The Wenatchee World paper today had another article on the deadfall in the Entiat burn.

https://www.wenatcheeworld.com/outdoors/a-hike-beneath-rainbows/article_8bce28a4-0a3d-11ea-9d46-7b7d77357048.html

ďDid you pack a chainsaw?Ē a man asked me. His Ford pickup filled to the brim with firewood.
I hadnít packed a chainsaw and it was the first time Iíve ever needed to for hiking. But hiking the trails along the Entiat River Valley pretty much require one.
At the end of the Entiat River Road the forests turned into charcoaled sticks poking up out of the ground. A forest of dead things.
I never saw any trees falling, but on the way out there was fresh downed timber over the road. A man and a woman were working away with a chainsaw to clear the road. I got out and helped them haul some of the branches over the side.

The residents of the Entiat and hunters who use the Forest Service land work hard to keep the roads clear. It is thanks to them I was even able to do the hike. Iím also sure they all have firewood permits from the Forest Service.
I started to ask the woman whether she had one, ďAnd the Forest Service Ėď
But she answered, ďódoesnít work on Sundays.Ē
I donít know whether she meant they were the only people who could help me or something else, but I didnít ask further questions.

The Entiat River Valley hosts several wonderful hikes that Iíve been interested in exploring, but due to the amount of fires that have occurred in the region Iíve hesitated going there.
For one thing, every time I drove over a branch, I imagined it puncturing my new snow tires. I would get out and move the bigger stuff, but there was just too much to do it every time. I was also worried about my personal safety. A tree falling on you will kill you quicker than a cougar.

Over the past two weeks Iíve explored the Entiat River Trail to Myrtle Lake and the North Fork Entiat River Trail to Fern Lake. I also stopped at Silver Falls, which Iíve heard so much about.
The road up to the North Fork Entiat River Trail on Nov. 10 was covered in down trees and branches. I spent more time clearing the road than hiking. I also had to duck and dodge beneath trees along the trail. But I was able to hike out of the burned area faster along this trail and into some actual woods.

I spent more time hiking along the Entiat River Trail to Myrtle Lake Nov. 17. I got to the trail early for me, at 8:30 a.m., and was proud of myself. I have trouble getting up on weekends.
It was also supposed to rain an inch on Sunday, a fact that made me hesitate. I've grown tired of hiking in the rain. It isn't usually very fun.
But as I pulled up to the trailhead I was greeted by a rainbow and I took it as a sign that I was supposed to go hiking today.
The rain came and went along my hike and for a while I was a bit cold, but I saw four rainbows that day and realized something. If you never hike in the rain, you never get to see the rainbows.
The trail winded its way along the Entiat River, which had several rapids. Down the gullet of the valley I thought I could make out Spectacles Mountain and to my direct left was Devils Smoke Stack.
The forests were burned along almost all five miles that I traveled. It was just rows upon rows of trees with the bark almost burned entirely away, standing straight up like giant toothpicks. The bark on one tree hung like a veil and twirled in the wind making ethereal trails.

The air was filled with the smell of wet, burned trees. The fire was long gone, but for some reason there was pungent stench.
Another interesting thing was the trailís soil had this weird fragility to it. It seemed to slough away at the slightest touch and wanted to cascade down the hillside.
As I was walking, though, I was looking at the brush beneath the trees and I realized something. There were hundreds of little pine trees growing. As well as big bushes that Iíve never seen before.
I realized I was literally not seeing the forest for the trees. It was true that a fire had burned through here and destroyed an incredible amount of forest, but new life was taking ahold and finding a way.

Myrtle Lake itself was pretty and quaint. It was a sharp, mossy-green color and filled with downed trees. It wasnít the most beautiful lake Iíve ever seen, but it was a good destination for hot tea and cookies.
I hiked past Myrtle Lake and up Cow Creek Trail about a mile to get some elevation. On top of the hill, though, the wind started gusting through the dead trees and I felt uncomfortable, so I went back down quickly.

The hike to Myrtle was pretty flat. I did almost 10 miles and barley more than 600 feet of elevation gain. It isnít a trail filled with animals or plants. It is a little eerie how still it is actually. But the valley is awe inspiring with peaks surrounding you on all sides and in the distance, encouraging you to go forward.
I think it is an area that everyone should visit at least once, if nothing else to see what a fire can do to a forest. But I recommend checking the weather report in case it is gusty. People should be careful, have good tires and possibly, pack a chainsaw.

How to get there
From Entiat take the Entiat River Road 33.6 miles. The Entiat River Road becomes Forest Service Road 51 at about 28 miles. You then need to turn stay straight onto Forest Service Road 5100 that becomes a dirt road and take that to the end of the road, past the Cottonwood Camp Ground and the trailhead is big and open.
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RichP
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PostWed Nov 20, 2019 7:03 am 
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Over here in Idyho it's rare to see a tree over a forest road. I swear, anytime one falls there is a woodcutter sawing it up for firewood. Works out pretty good for everybody. That said, it's a good reminder to have a saw and a tow strap along at all times just in case.
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treeswarper
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PostWed Nov 20, 2019 7:36 am 
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RichP wrote:
Over here in Idyho it's rare to see a tree over a forest road. I swear, anytime one falls there is a woodcutter sawing it up for firewood. Works out petty good for everybody. That said, it's a good reminder to have a saw and a tow strap along at all times just in case.

That's true for rural areas.  In fact, I've seen people heading out to the woods when a wind event is predicted, hoping to get that blowdown, old growth DF that is the preferred firewood in that particular area.

Firewooders tend to take most of the tree but the butt log will be cut first, unless their saw is too small or it has too much dirt on it.  Hunters will only cut enough to get their vehicles through and that means the road crew has to go along and tidy it up if the wood is not desirable enough or near enough for the firewooders.

Safety note:  Look on the backside carefully of the first blowdown.  Sometimes it is used as a toilet and you saw will mix the poopage with the chips coming out of the kerf if you cut without looking..

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Cyclopath
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PostWed Nov 20, 2019 9:56 am 
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Burn scars are lovely.
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Brushwork
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PostWed Nov 20, 2019 10:29 pm 
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HitTheTrail wrote:
If you never hike in the rain, you never get to see the rainbows.

Great quote!


Nice report, thank you!

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Sky Hiker
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PostThu Nov 21, 2019 3:46 am 
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You can thank alot of hunters and Icicle Outfitters for alot of the work they spent alot of time working on the trail. The same thing is happening on the Chiwaukum trail
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lookout bob
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PostThu Nov 21, 2019 9:00 am 
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we drove up to the ( almost) end of the Twisp river road and there was a large tree down there too just before the Twisp Pass Roads End campground.  As was said, carry a saw, a strap, food etc. and be prepared in a burnt zone.  Happy hiking! cool.gif  cool.gif

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treeswarper
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PostThu Nov 21, 2019 9:10 am 
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Make sure your saw can be locked up out of sight.  Chainsaws have about the same attraction as guns do when it comes to stealing them.

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thunderhead
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PostThu Nov 21, 2019 4:05 pm 
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Thieves should be chainsawed!
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moonspots
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PostFri Nov 22, 2019 9:41 am 
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thunderhead wrote:
Thieves should be chainsawed!

up.gif , etc

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