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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
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Mid Fork Rocks
PostThu Mar 12, 2020 3:28 pm 
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Sorry for the delay getting this report up but it's still in season. Brian and I climbed Dirty Harry and instead of coming back down we traversed across Coincidence Ridge to the low point between Dirty Harry and Web.We found a good spot to drop down the steep slopes to Granite Lakes. We were lucky to find good snow for snowshoe steps otherwise we would have had to boot it and probably wallow in deep snow. It was fun to connect these two hikes and the car shuttle is only 15 minutes. The drop down to the lakes could be hazardous under higher avalanche conditions so be careful. I think this might work in summer too, but with the extra hassle of having to hike around upper Granite Lake.

11.1 Miles, 4700' gain, 5200' loss, 7 1/2 hours (with few breaks) + car shuttle.

Dirty Harry - Granite Creek traverse route
Dirty Harry - Granite Creek traverse route
Starting out on the trail. Why did someone think they needed the extra high fence here?
Starting out on the trail. Why did someone think they needed the extra high fence here?
Eastern Block view point
Eastern Block view point
Most of the upper Dirty Harry trails were obviously old roads, but this one was so drifted in it didn't look that way. Later the track confirmed that it was the same route as previous trips.
Most of the upper Dirty Harry trails were obviously old roads, but this one was so drifted in it didn't look that way. Later the track confirmed that it was the same route as previous trips.
Granite Creek valley, Zorro and Thompson Point from Dirty Harry summit
Granite Creek valley, Zorro and Thompson Point from Dirty Harry summit
View down cliffs to lower Granite Lake from Dirty Harry summit
View down cliffs to lower Granite Lake from Dirty Harry summit
View down valley from Dirty Harry summit
View down valley from Dirty Harry summit
Dirtybox from open point west of Dirty Harry summit
Dirtybox from open point west of Dirty Harry summit
Instead of following the road down we stayed on the ridge line when the road veered away from it. This section was fun because the snow covered all the brush and the trees were widely spaced.
Instead of following the road down we stayed on the ridge line when the road veered away from it. This section was fun because the snow covered all the brush and the trees were widely spaced.
North Web from Dirty Harry's ridge. The ridge was a little brushy between the open forest earlier and getting to this open ridge section.
North Web from Dirty Harry's ridge. The ridge was a little brushy between the open forest earlier and getting to this open ridge section.
Traversing Coincidence Ridge. North and Main Web Peak in background
Traversing Coincidence Ridge. North and Main Web Peak in background
View down Granite Creek valley from Coincidence Ridge
View down Granite Creek valley from Coincidence Ridge
We traversed Coincidence Ridge to the lowest point and then dropped off onto the steep slopes down through the old forest. The snow was perfect for solid snow shoe steps.
We traversed Coincidence Ridge to the lowest point and then dropped off onto the steep slopes down through the old forest. The snow was perfect for solid snow shoe steps.
North Web towers above us
North Web towers above us
We meandered back and forth following the easiest and safest looking slopes. It's pretty steep but there are no big cliffs.
We meandered back and forth following the easiest and safest looking slopes. It's pretty steep but there are no big cliffs.
Old growth hemlocks above Granite Lakes
Old growth hemlocks above Granite Lakes
Breaking out into the open area around Granite Lakes
Breaking out into the open area around Granite Lakes
Crossing upper Granite Lake
Crossing upper Granite Lake
Surprising long trail between upper Granite Lake and the main Granite Creek trail.
Surprising long trail between upper Granite Lake and the main Granite Creek trail.
Creek crossing a little before reaching the main Granite Creek trail
Creek crossing a little before reaching the main Granite Creek trail

On the hike out the Granite Creek trail we were able to solve a natural mystery. I've been stopping at the Big River Bridge on the Middle Fork road to look around for years and often take a photo of the Granite Creek confluence. On February 15 it showed a bigger change than in the previous 10 years. Some time since February 4 a huge amount of sand and gravel was flushed out of the creek extending the mouth and forming a sand spit surrounding the down valley bridge pier. I suspect this was the same Feb 4-7 rainy period that triggered the much larger Bessemer mud flow.

Granite Creek confluence 02/04/2020
Granite Creek confluence 02/04/2020
Granite Creek confluence 02/15/2020
Granite Creek confluence 02/15/2020
Granite Creek confluence
Granite Creek confluence
New sand spit below down valley pier
New sand spit below down valley pier

So coming down the Granite Creek trail it was immediately obvious where all the debris came from.

This creek blowout was not here before. It's obvious this is what contributed all the sand and rocks that are visible at the Granite Creek confluence with the Middle Fork river. Fortunately this doesn't disrupt the trail at all.
This creek blowout was not here before. It's obvious this is what contributed all the sand and rocks that are visible at the Granite Creek confluence with the Middle Fork river. Fortunately this doesn't disrupt the trail at all.
View down the blowout creek to Granite Creek
View down the blowout creek to Granite Creek
Granite Creek bridge
Granite Creek bridge
Granite Creek bridge upstream. There is no moss on any of the rocks now -- it's all been scoured off by sand and gravel.
Granite Creek bridge upstream. There is no moss on any of the rocks now -- it's all been scoured off by sand and gravel.

A side benefit this summer will be an accessible and safe swimming hole under the bridge, assuming the sand isn't all washed away by another flood. But we're past the time of year when the river has historically had high flow levels.

New sand spit below down valley pier and a new swimming hole
New sand spit below down valley pier and a new swimming hole

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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RichP
here and there



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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here and there
PostThu Mar 12, 2020 4:25 pm 
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Very interesting. I did part of your route as a traverse from Dirty Harry to Web but never thought of dropping down to Granite Lakes. Nice way to link those two areas.
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Brushwork
Food truck



Joined: 18 Aug 2018
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Food truck
PostThu Mar 12, 2020 8:33 pm 
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I have wondered about dropping off Coincidence ridge to Granite lks like you did.  Cool trip and report! Thanks!

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When I grow up I wanna play.
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Brushbuffalo
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PostSat Mar 14, 2020 8:13 am 
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puzzlr wrote:
On the hike out the Granite Creek trail we were able to solve a natural mystery. I've been stopping at the Big River Bridge on the Middle Fork road to look around for years and often take a photo of the Granite Creek confluence. On February 15 it showed a bigger change than in the previous 10 years. Some time since February 4 a huge amount of sand and gravel was flushed out of the creek extending the mouth and forming a sand spit surrounding the down valley bridge pier. I suspect this was the same Feb 4-7 rainy period that triggered the much larger Bessemer mud flow.

Granite Creek confluence 02/04/2020
Granite Creek confluence 02/04/2020

Very interesting hydrology, Monty.  This is good evidence of the intermittent nature of fluvial processes....nothing too noticeable for long periods, then rapid change in a few minutes to hours. (and thanks for using "mudflow" instead of the  more popular but imprecise "mudslide" for the Bessemer event  smile.gif ).

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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NowIFly
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PostSun Mar 15, 2020 6:38 am 
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Great job on the report, Monty! That was another fun day.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/44468754@N04/albums/72157713494931197/with/49594527511/
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