Forum Index > Trip Reports > Anaconda (P5050) on Gordon Ridge - 27 Nov 2020
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kitya
Fortune Cookie



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PostSat Nov 28, 2020 8:13 am 
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Approach using Marten creek trail:


Arrived at the Marten creek trailhead at 8 am. Marten creek trail is converted from an old road, very well maintained, nice and wide. But no people. It was raining and no snow, but still lots of mushrooms, including some golden chanterelles right by the side of the trail.

Around 2000 ft first patchy snow starts and soon we dropped down to Marten creek and waded across. Well I waded and Cookie rode on me, because she hates water. Marten creek is quite wide and fast moving, but only ankle deep.

The forest on the other side is not too bad, and we made our way through brush, blowdowns and over small cliffy areas on top, finally getting to the ridge where it was snowshoe time. Lots of deep wet snow and more snow constantly coming down from trees. Surprisingly good forest with some old growth giant trees too! The final ridge to the summit is relentlessly steep, and I was happy to have my ice axe out while breaking the trail in snowshoes. And Cookie was unhappy that I was too slow. Great views from the summit, but it was soaked in.

As usual as soon as me and Cookie got back down into the forest from the summit, some blue skies appeared for a short time, but a bit later light rain returned back. Really great mountain and I loved that approach doesn't involve walking on boring logging roads.

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Jaberwock
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PostSat Nov 28, 2020 8:25 am 
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Beautiful, lucky dog.
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Cyclopath
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PostSat Nov 28, 2020 7:41 pm 
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I've been on the Marten Creek trail, but not out of the forest, so I had no idea it leads to something so beautiful.  Well the trail itself ends so you must have found your way.   smile.gif

When I went I was looking for places to bring a friend snowshoeing who doesn't hike, but likes nature.  And then there was a sign about how there was an experimental tree plantation along the trail.  Did you see that or am I thinking of the wrong trail?

We have the Washington State Ferries to get to the peninsula, Cookie has her own private "boat!"  lol.gif
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kitya
Fortune Cookie



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Fortune Cookie
PostSat Nov 28, 2020 8:59 pm 
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Cyclopath wrote:
When I went I was looking for places to bring a friend snowshoeing who doesn't hike, but likes nature.  And then there was a sign about how there was an experimental tree plantation along the trail.  Did you see that or am I thinking of the wrong trail?

Yes, you are thinking of exactly the correct trail. I also noticed there is an experimental Douglas-fir seed plot you pass by on the trail. Unfortunately I don't know for sure what exactly is the experiment about and if it is still going on.

I read that originally marten creek trail was a mining road and it used to go all the way to Granite pass. I have not explored Granite Pass this time, but I think it will probably have great views too.
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Sculpin
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PostSun Nov 29, 2020 7:10 am 
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kitya wrote:
an experimental Douglas-fir seed plot

This is discussed in a thread somewhere.  They collected Douglas Fir seeds from throughout the PNW to see if any were genetically pre-disposed to faster growth.  I think before meaningful results were obtained, the idea of doing this no longer seemed important.  It certainly does not seem important now!

I have collected mushrooms on that trail a couple times.  The second time, we met a local who was so disappointed to see us collecting "his" mushrooms that we never went back.  That's ok, I do not think that the first two miles are very good for mushrooms other than a few scattered chanterelles.

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Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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kitya
Fortune Cookie



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PostSun Nov 29, 2020 8:40 am 
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Sculpin wrote:
This is discussed in a thread somewhere.  They collected Douglas Fir seeds from throughout the PNW to see if any were genetically pre-disposed to faster growth.  I think before meaningful results were obtained, the idea of doing this no longer seemed important.  It certainly does not seem important now!

I have collected mushrooms on that trail a couple times.  The second time, we met a local who was so disappointed to see us collecting "his" mushrooms that we never went back.  That's ok, I do not think that the first two miles are very good for mushrooms other than a few scattered chanterelles.

Thanks. So is experiment really abandoned now?

I did not pick any chanterelles this time, nor did I see anyone, but it is a bit surprising to see chanterelles grow so late into winter.
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Guiran
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PostSun Nov 29, 2020 4:42 pm 
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I've gone cross-country to Granite Pass (maybe a decade ago?) when the terrain was covered by snow in a failed attempt to climb Liberty. The views from Granite Pass were pretty nice and I don't recall it being too difficult to get there.
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Mike Collins
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PostSun Nov 29, 2020 7:02 pm 
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kitya wrote:
I read that originally marten creek trail was a mining road and it used to go all the way to Granite pass.

The mining road actually went all the way to Darrington from Silverton. The Mountain Loop highway wasn't constructed yet.
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Riverside Laker
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PostSun Nov 29, 2020 8:17 pm 
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Mike, I've heard it was a trail, not a road to Darrington.

I've followed the road to the mine and tried to continue up towards Granite Pass. The trail is long gone (very brushy down that low) and I didn't see any remnant. But I've not tried to get to Granite Pass another way to see if there's any remnants up higher.

The mine isn't super old, and has plastic pipe and other non-romantic debris. Nothing like the century old to 125 year old stuff you can find elsewhere in the Mtn Loop area.
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Mike Collins
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PostMon Nov 30, 2020 4:47 am 
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Riverside Laker wrote:
Mike, I've heard it was a trail, not a road to Darrington.

I have read that it was a road. I too have hiked up to Granite Pass. It is hard to imagine a road with carts/wagons moving toward Darrington. But roads back then often had winches and pulleys in place to assist with difficult sections. I have written a letter to Harry Majors who is the guru for historical questions concerning the Cascades. I will let you know what his reply is.
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Sculpin
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PostMon Nov 30, 2020 6:58 am 
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Riverside Laker wrote:
I've heard it was a trail, not a road to Darrington.

There was a wagon road from Silverton to Darrington over Deer Creek Pass, which is a much better route.

My understanding was that before modern roadbuilding, it was impossible to maintain a passable route along the Stillaguamish.  It flows slope to slope, the slopes are unstable, and the winter storms took out the wooden bridges.  So instead they went over the top.  You can still follow the abandoned road to Deer Creek Pass and the turn-off to the Helena Mines, but the route disappears for a short stretch after that before you get to the logging road on the other side.

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Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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MangyMarmot
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PostFri Dec 04, 2020 6:38 pm 
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Cool trip. You and Cookie find interesting, out of the way places to hike.
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PostMon Dec 28, 2020 8:16 pm 
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since this report was posted, there have been at least 5 other groups that have summited via the exact same route. count me and hotpantz for one of them. should've taken pons and axe for the last 800ft due to ice. we picked up the ridge at 3000 instead of this report. there's a veritable boot path up to the summit now! someone has flagged things. limbs cut off. sounds like mailbox 2
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Schroder
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PostTue Dec 29, 2020 8:20 am 
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There were a couple of dozen mining claims up Marten Creek back in the day and they built a cat track up there that was never drivable by any other vehicle but it had the appearance of a road well past the 70's. The Granite Pass trail was really never used for anything but occasional wanderings over to Clear Lake.

This is the first I heard of an experimental stand on this side. There was the Long Creek Research Natural Area below Wiley Ridge to the west of Gordon but it was logged in the 80's. That was along FR4027 (the gated road at Red Bridge) that led to the west end of Wiley Ridge, which also had a well used hiking trail from the end of that road.

The old Gordon Ridge trail came off of the lower part of FR4038 before they extended logging up that ridge.
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PostTue Dec 29, 2020 9:47 am 
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Long Mountain is a also nice climb from Marten Creek when the snow firms up but there's still avalanches on the Silverton side.
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