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contour5
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 5:58 pm 
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If you widen the road and quadruple the parking space, then you've got like 800 cars and several thousand day hikers on the trail to Colchuck. What if there are zombies lurking among the sweaty groaning masses? What then? The slowest, most untrailworthy will be stampeded; crushed, pummeled and gnawed at. And they'll never see it coming because fully half the dayhikers out there look exactly like zombies after a couple of steep miles.

I'm thinking fully automated shuttle buses that deliver hikers to random trailheads, and then assigns them their hike for the day, based on an algorithm that takes into account trailworthiness, hiker density, recent impact levels and other important factors. So, basically you won't know where you're going until you get there and the little kiosk spits out a ticket with your name and destination on it. The whole system could be bankrolled by producing a fake reality tv show and merch campaign.
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HitTheTrail
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 6:16 pm 
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My daughter attended a friend's wedding at Inspiration Lake in the core area last saturday. The couple wanted a sunrise ceremony so the wedding party hit the Colchuck TH just after midnight. She said they could not believe the current situation, even after Labor Day. It was a small group and she and several others went out via Snow Lakes but the bride and groom backtracked to Aasgard Pass. She thinks they will have lifetime memories about that event for several reasons. I got the feeling that may be her last trip up there even though she is now a local in Leavenworth.
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JPH
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PostWed Sep 18, 2019 7:23 am 
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contour5 wrote:
The slowest, most untrailworthy will be stampeded; crushed, pummeled and gnawed at.

Well those people clearly didn't do their requisite number of Si and Tiger laps prior to entering the Enchantments, so really they had it coming.
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JonnyQuest
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PostWed Sep 18, 2019 7:42 am 
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nickmtn wrote:
but it is only in the last couple thousand years that the earth has had a species capable of appreciating their aesthetics and beauty

Seems a bit anthropocentric and presumptuous.
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neek
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PostWed Sep 18, 2019 8:09 am 
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JonnyQuest wrote:
Seems a bit anthropocentric and presumptuous.

What do you mean?  Clearly he's not talking about Homo sapiens or he would have said several hundred thousand years; millions if you include other hominids.  Must be referring to some sort of bacteria.
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nickmtn
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PostWed Sep 18, 2019 8:13 am 
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neek wrote:
JonnyQuest wrote:
Seems a bit anthropocentric and presumptuous.

What do you mean?  Clearly he's not talking about Homo sapiens or he would have said several hundred thousand years; millions if you include other hominids.  Must be referring to some sort of bacteria.

haha no unfortunately its even more presumptuous than that, I am implying that the appreciation of natural beauty came with the advent of civilization!
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neek
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PostWed Sep 18, 2019 8:27 am 
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Advent of civilization?  Now you're predicting the future!
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JonnyQuest
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PostWed Sep 18, 2019 9:37 am 
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nickmtn wrote:
I am implying that the appreciation of natural beauty came with the advent of civilization!

Ah, interesting theory.  I see where you're going with this.  If my future access to donuts was limited, I'd appreciate them more.  Likely true.
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Cyclopath
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PostSun Sep 22, 2019 9:46 am 
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I spent yesterday in the Icicle, basking in the sun.  Arrived around 8:30 am.

I've never seen so many cars at the Snow Lakes TH.  There was a line about 2 miles long parked on the side of the road, in both directions but mostly away from town.

Rangers at the bottom of Eightmile Road, turning people away.  Parking lot was full at 5:30 am.

Later in the day, there were about 100 cars parked on the side of the end of Eightmile Road, right in front of the no parking signs.  They all had tickets.

There were dozens of cars parked on Icicle where it meets Eightmile.  Since the rangers weren't letting people by, I can only assume it was a long road walk.

99% of the cars at the Eightmile Lake TH were for the Enchantments.  It's only a mile road walk, that parking lot is no longer for the trail, it's overflow parking for the Colchuck TH.

There are spots at the Eightmile TH reserved for overnight permit holders.
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Downhill
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PostSun Sep 22, 2019 12:13 pm 
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I also drove down the Icicle yesterday about noon.  There were more than 50 cars parked along both sides of the Icicle road, both upriver and downriver from the Eightmile intersection.  In many places where there is little to no shoulder or brush encroaching up to/over the fog line, many cars were literally parked with their 2 inside wheels over the line, in the roadway, effectively turning the Icicle road into a 1-lane road in places.  Add a few open car doors, some pedestrians, dogs and RVs heading to/from campgrounds upriver, and the scene was a total cluster____, a ___show ripe for an accident.

The effect of restricting parking at the Stuart TH did nothing to alleviate the problem, it merely shifted the problem to the Icicle road, a much higher-density area.  As Cyclopath wrote, this situation also pushed many people to the Snow Lakes TH looking for an alternative.  I drive this road every day and I've never seen this many cars along the road at Snow Lakes.

The law of unintended consequences at play.  Hoping to fix a problem, the USFS created a bigger mess than they had before.
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Pahoehoe
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PostSun Sep 22, 2019 1:32 pm 
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Link transit runs shuttles in Leavenworth and Chelan

Seems like the forest service should see if they could work something out to serve icicle and 8 mile road.
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BigBrunyon
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 9:14 am 
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Sounds like Old Faithful or Lake Louise!! PREMIER hiking destination.

--------------
i ALWAYS camp at the upper lake!
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Windstorm
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 9:18 am 
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Shifting the problem to Icicle Road may not be a good thing, but I don't know if it's worse than what was there before. I have only been up to Stuart TH once and that was about 10 years ago, so I haven't seen how bad the parking situation on Eightmile Road got. However, if it was anything like the Denny Creek trailhead (before they closed it), it's possible that even having Icicle Road effectively become one-lane in a few places could be better than having Eightmile Road be entirely inaccessible to emergency vehicles. Yes, there's more traffic on Icicle which does cause other problems, but at least emergency vehicles can still get through. At Denny Creek, there were times in the summer when large passenger vehicles were too wide to drive on that quarter mile section of road and I can imagine Eightmile Road being many times worse because it's so much longer.
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RandyHiker
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 10:16 am 
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It's too bad that the Empire Builder from Seattle only arrives in Leavenworth once per day at 8:00PM and departs once per day at 6:08AM.  More frequent train service and a shuttle bus from the station to der village and the trailheads along the Icicle road would go a long way toward creating a more European mountain experience.
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gb
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 10:35 am 
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neek wrote:
MtnGoat wrote:
You didn't see me arguing that Kim said the upper trailhead should be closed, either. You're shuttling...goalposts!

At this point just exploring the solution space for a difficult problem--not just for Colchuck parking, but at many trailheads across the state exploding in popularity.  (Ira Spring and Pratt?  Hidden Lake Lookout?)  I get that you don't like public transportation and feel a need to invent words like "shuttlephile" to make fun of those who do, but I don't buy that perpetuating status quo (i.e. building more parking and encouraging more driving) is necessarily the best solution.  Nor do I like turning people away, because as you pointed out, we've paid our fees and taxes.  Ideally I'd like public agencies to be adequately funded for the jobs they are tasked with.  (Feel free to laugh here.)  If they were, what combination of parking/shuttling would I like to see?  Well, I suppose that depends on the specifics of the trailhead.  I've been stuck behind a train of slowpokes on Eightmile road and had to park half a mile back--at 7am.  The situation is bad even if they widen the road a few feet to accommodate safe shoulder parking.  A weekend shuttle really seems like the perfect solution.  Perhaps mandatory except for those with an overnight permit.  At Zion they are free and run roughly every 10 mins from 7am-10pm.  This really doesn't seem like such a bad deal even for the most car-addicted individual.  Closing down the whole Icicle seems silly, since there are campgrounds, climbing crags, and less popular trails without parking issues.  But something needs to change and I think these shuttlephiles are onto something.  Furthermore, your car is safer at a large monitored lot, and you don't have to drive 100 miles in a gas guzzler just to have high clearance for the last 5 miles.  I wasn't quite sure of the shuttle solution either at first (to be honest I kind of agree that buses suck) but am starting to convince myself!

This really is the only solution that makes sense and shuttles or buses are no big deal. Keep the TH parking for those that have gone through the arduous process of obtaining a Core permit. But even with that, the other part of the problem is the fragility of the core itself. At that elevation and with the dryness, and people's ignorance about going off trail in high use areas, anything but bedrock and talus is going to get destroyed. So, with this type of popularity you probably have to go with some sort of permit system for day hiking as well - much as I don't like that solution. Then you run into the thing at Mt. Whitney where you have to reserve a space or get up at 3 AM to beat others to the line for permits. At some point it is not worth it. But perhaps that would break the Instagram link and some might actually think on their own of another place to go. Over time, the Enchantments would be a worthwhile place to go for those lucky enough. There is no good solution, there are just too many Go&*%^$ people on this planet.
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