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Brushwork
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 5:07 pm 
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Joker- the road has been maintained for (and likely by) the entity that mines the granite boulders up high near the ridge.  So the road has been kept in real good condition.  (The section that goes toward Bessemer is being brushed out- barely).

Nordique- the road is not terribly rough till shortly after the first switchback.  3/4 mile in about. You wouldn’t have any issue getting around the lower sluff or slide, about 1/4 mi.  part of the road remains along the edge. It is uphill though...

The slide is pretty impressive, perhaps not safe to cross for a while, with the level of water in the ground and the mud.., but one can cut the road and just head straight up through the woods to get higher, till the crossing around 2400’.

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Backpacker Joe
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NWH Joe-Bob
PostWed Feb 12, 2020 10:09 am 
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Hey BarkMeister, when you say the Pratt Bar trail head Im thinking about the area of the M-fork river you used to have to wade across to access the Pratt Valley trail that ultimately leads up to Pratt lake.  What are you talking about exactly?

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

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joker
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PostWed Feb 12, 2020 10:25 am 
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Thanks for the answer Brushwork. I'm guessing that unless they're close to done mining out those boulders they're going  to be willing to pay to repair the  road  (and  may even have insurance to help with that).

Now you  guys  have me curious to go check out what's up that  road that  I've always  just cruised by, sometimes noting the cars parked at bottom.
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostWed Feb 12, 2020 7:11 pm 
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joker wrote:
unless they're close to done mining out those boulders

The 30-year talus mining lease doesn't run out for 13 more years - in 2033. It will be interesting to see if the companies involved want to spend the money to restore the road. The Bessemer road switches between DNR and USFS land - https://caltopo.com/l/AG20. It looks like the lower slide is close to a boundary, but the upper slide, based on the description, is all on DNR land. I've heard the DNR would like to decommission the road into a trail once the talus mining lease expires. When that happens the area they're mining will be owned by the DNR.

BPJ: The area you describe fording is known as the Pratt River bar trailhead now. It's been improved with a real bridge over the creek that flows next to the road. There are still low points in the trail to the river bar that get flooded every time it rains hard.

hatchetation and Brushwork - Thanks for these updates. I'm out of town getting some sun farther south, but I'm eager to check out the new slides when I get back.

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Brushwork
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PostWed Feb 12, 2020 10:25 pm 
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I followed Bessemer rd today to 3200’ where it crosses - or should I say used to cross the creek/washout.  It is no longer possible to cross there.  Road is completely washed out and a very very long, nearly vertical drop to creek.   Considering how saturated the soil is there, in addition 1 1/2 ft of snow, it’s too dangerous to get too close to the creek.  It doesn’t look repairable to me. 

Pretty awe inspiring to see what saturated souls can do.

Creek crossing at 2400’ required some delicate footwork to avoid immersing feet into mud.  Not something easily done.

Snow shoes were useful past the junction with Bessemer pk turnoff.

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Sore Feet
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PostThu Feb 13, 2020 6:49 pm 
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Take any pictures?

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tlake
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PostThu Feb 13, 2020 10:13 pm 
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Brushwork wrote:
I followed Bessemer rd today to 3200’ where it crosses - or should I say used to cross the creek/washout.  It is no longer possible to cross there

Did you make it up to where the trail takes off to the right to Bessemer? Its right at 3200' or so.
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Brushwork
Food truck



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PostThu Feb 13, 2020 10:17 pm 
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We went past that, about 1/4 mi to next gully.  On the map the gully is prominent.

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tlake
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PostThu Feb 13, 2020 10:29 pm 
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I guess the only hope is to try and take the old mountian bike trail up from the CCC road to Moolock Mtn, then head along the ridge to Bessemer Mtn.
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timberghost
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PostFri Feb 14, 2020 5:22 am 
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Was that USFS sign that was stolen from up here?
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HikerJohn
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PostFri Feb 14, 2020 8:56 am 
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timberghost wrote:
Was that USFS sign that was stolen from up here?

No, the missing sign was taken from FS-70, down near Enumclaw and Greenwater
BTW, sign is still missing
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Brushwork
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PostFri Feb 14, 2020 2:57 pm 
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Bessemer actually is accessible, you just have to get through some mud, and that won’t be a problem when things dry and stabilize.  Only have to actually cross the slide at around 2400’.  (And go through the woods at the other 2 switchbacks).    But, to access Moolock via the road, well that’s a different story.  I think that’s a goner. The old bike route and ridge should be fine.

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Backpacker Joe
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NWH Joe-Bob
PostFri Feb 14, 2020 7:37 pm 
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This pic is worthless without threads! shakehead.gif  hockeygrin.gif  paranoid.gif  tongue.gif  moon.gif  doh.gif  winksmile.gif  bawl.gif

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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puzzlr
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PostSun Feb 16, 2020 11:20 pm 
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OK, enough complaining. On my first day back from a sunny week in Tucson I checked out the Bessemer mud flow in spite of the the rainy day forecast. I brought my umbrella, but should have heeded the warnings about the mud. Tall rubber boots would have been useful for the muddy areas, but at least I had ankle gaitors to keep the mud out of my hiking boots. The forest understory is completely open in this area so it's easy to avoid the mud, but I wanted photos from close to the water flows.

This was a huge destructive flow starting somewhere not too far above the highest crossing of this creek and the Bessemer road. I agree with previous posters saying it will be a big job to restore the road. Here's a map showing the approximate location. The mud flow created a deep gorge, taking out trees and soil down to the underlying rock. I didn't hike down to see how far the mud went below the Bessemer road.

Map of middle Bessemer road with approximate extent of mud flow
Map of middle Bessemer road with approximate extent of mud flow

The caption in these photos is keyed to numbers on the above map.

First encounter with mud flow. This is on the section of the Bessemer road that the CCC trail follows. Map: location 1
First encounter with mud flow. This is on the section of the Bessemer road that the CCC trail follows. Map: location 1
The CCC trail connection has trees down. It will turn out worse as I go farther.  Map: location 2
The CCC trail connection has trees down. It will turn out worse as I go farther.  Map: location 2
I walked on a big log sticking out over the gorge. This is looking downstream.  Map: location 2
I walked on a big log sticking out over the gorge. This is looking downstream.  Map: location 2
I walked on a big log sticking out over the gorge. This is looking upstream. Map: location 2
I walked on a big log sticking out over the gorge. This is looking upstream. Map: location 2
At upper right the mud flow cut through a small ridge crossed the road. This is the part of the mud flow that is the first encountered below on the CCC trail section.  Map: location 3
At upper right the mud flow cut through a small ridge crossed the road. This is the part of the mud flow that is the first encountered below on the CCC trail section.  Map: location 3
View upstream from the second switchback corner.  Map: location 4
View upstream from the second switchback corner.  Map: location 4
Back to mud flow above third switchback. The rocky waterfall ledge is what remains of the old pretty waterfall by the road here. Map: location 5
Back to mud flow above third switchback. The rocky waterfall ledge is what remains of the old pretty waterfall by the road here. Map: location 5
View downstream from the waterfall crossing. The slopes are steeper here and the gorge is deeper.  Map: location 5
View downstream from the waterfall crossing. The slopes are steeper here and the gorge is deeper.  Map: location 5
View uphill from the crossing one switchback above the waterfall.  Map: location 6
View uphill from the crossing one switchback above the waterfall.  Map: location 6
View down from switchback above the waterfall (hidden behind bank).  Map: location 6
View down from switchback above the waterfall (hidden behind bank).  Map: location 6
View upstream from from highest mud flow crossing near the beginning of the long switchback to the right. The mud flow looks like it started in this area -- the gorge is not as wide in the snowy area above.  Map: location 7
View upstream from from highest mud flow crossing near the beginning of the long switchback to the right. The mud flow looks like it started in this area -- the gorge is not as wide in the snowy area above.  Map: location 7

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Brushwork
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 12:15 am 
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Thank you Puzzler for taking pictures I couldn’t. Great coverage!

I will add that the slide starts above the crossing at 32 or 3400’, where the road is gone.

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Forum Index > Trail Talk > Middle Fork Road closure update
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