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Kellbell
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PostThu Feb 18, 2021 4:49 pm 
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I'm looking on my Guthooks App (for the PNT) and it looks like the Silver Creek shelter is right at the start of the Tubal Cain trail. I'm trying to devise a sort of loop (two cars...not until summer, so don't worry, I'm not crazy!) leaving one car there and the other at slab camp. But wow, it seems there are so many trails in this area -Gold creek /tubal cain/ lower dungeness...I'm really confused where the best place is to leave a car. I was hoping to have only have a little ways to hike until the shelter, but the fact nobody is talking about this shelter on any Tubal Cain TR has me very concerned. The counterclockwise loop I'm looking at starts at Tubal Cain TH (or add extra day and start at lower dungeness) to Marmot Pass to Constance Pass trail to Dosewallips to dose meadows camp to jump on the grand pass alternative up to Obstruction point and then end at slab creek. Maybe starting at slab creek (sound like there's a camp right there?) and going counter is better? HELP!
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meck
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PostThu Feb 18, 2021 5:42 pm 
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The Silver Creek Shelter is OK, but on any given weekend, and probably during the week too, high chance it might be occupied (the Tubal Cain TH is super popular, and been getting more so the last couple of years).  The shelter is only ~20' off the main trail.  There is a campsite on the other side of the trail down toward the creek also.  If you are only staying there for a few hours of shuteye and don't mind sleeping in your car if you have to as a backup then it would probably be OK.

There is also a horse-trailer turnout ~0.5-0.75 miles back down the road from the TH with some level ground, it might be a better place to stay for the evening (then move your car in the morning).  It is very, very easy to get boxed in at the Tubal Cain TH by other hikers/backpackers (I've seen it happen a couple times, almost got boxed in myself).  It might be better to park on the wide spot just up the FS road (below the Dirty Face ridge TH) so that you can actually retrieve your car later (that's what I've been doing the last few years).

That's a nice itinerary, check out radeC ekaL if you go over the yarG floW Pass route to Slab Camp.  The Cameron Pass-Grand Pass route is also quite nice (lots of elevation gain).

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vibramhead
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PostThu Feb 18, 2021 5:54 pm 
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Sounds like a nice hike you've got planned.  Yes, the Silver Creek shelter is still standing, and it's only about a 1-minute hike from the Tubal Cain trailhead.  Unfortunately, this means it's the kind of place that attracts the sort of people who spray-paint graffiti, but it's an intact structure.  There's also a tent site just below it before you cross the creek.

I wouldn't recommend starting at the Lower Dungeness/Gold Creek trailhead.  Gold Creek trail is really boring: a steady climb through mostly young forest far above the creek, eventually taking you to the Tubal Cain trailhead.  Lower Dungeness trail is better, but there's a lot of up and down, and about a mile before it reaches the Upper Dungeness trailhead there's a big washout.  You can pick your way across it, but it's not really worth the bother.  I'd start at either Tubal Cain or Upper Dungeness trailhead.  If you start at Tubal Cain, your route would take you right across Marmot Pass, which is a spectacular spot.  If you start at Upper Dungeness, and wanted to visit Marmot Pass along the way, it'd be a short detour from Boulder Shelter.  I think the Upper Dungeness trail goes through prettier forest, while Tubal Cain isn't very interesting until you break out of the trees, but once you're above timberline, Tubal Cain is more spectacular.

As for Slab Camp, there was once a campground there many years ago, but no longer.  If you want to camp there, there are still plenty of sites where the campground used to be, just a few yards from the trailhead, but there are no facilities.  One note of caution:  While I've parked at Slab Camp many times with no problems, I have heard about a rash of break-ins there.  It's a more accessible trailhead than is Tubal Cain.
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Kellbell
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PostThu Feb 18, 2021 9:10 pm 
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Wow, thank you both for the great info. In your opinion (or anyone who wants to chime in) which direction would make the better trip - or is it pretty much a wash? And if it is a wash,  which place would you choose to camp the first night? (Btw, I wont be alone... thank God! Both places are sounding a little sketch)
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vibramhead
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PostFri Feb 19, 2021 7:31 am 
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I think I'd do the loop in the direction you described (which by my reckoning is clockwise).  That would put your most spectacular scenery in the second half of the trip. Cameron Basin is beautiful, and lightly-visited.  Here's a shot of it from last July.  Grand Valley is indeed grand, though it gets a lot more visitors.  And the hike between Obstruction Point and Deer Park is just one long wow.  You're above timberline for most of it, following a ridge without a lot of elevation change, and you see a long panorama of peaks stretched out to your south and west.  But your choice might be determined by where you can get a permit to camp.  The only part of your route that includes limited-entry camping is Grand Valley, so if you're going to camp there, you need to be sure you've applied for your permit well ahead of time.  It's best to avoid weekends there.

You might want to carry microspikes.  The north side of Cameron Pass will likely have steep snow, even in August, and Grand Pass as well, though it's not so steep.
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RodF
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PostFri Feb 19, 2021 3:40 pm 
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Excellent advice above!

Regarding the most secure places to park, the National Park trailheads seem best.  Since your loop includes Deer Park and Obstruction Point, might consider them.  They are less convenient in terms of driving time, but as far as I know, have suffered no break-ins.

In past years, I've left vehicles for a week at local National Forest trailheads (Dosewallips, Slab Camp, Dungeness, Big Quilcene and Tubal Cain) without worry.  But alas, last month, one vehicle window was smashed into at Slab Camp trailhead.  frown.gif

Hope this never happens again, but... since your loop includes more secure National Park trailheads, might just park at and start your loop from there, so no worries?

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Kellbell
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PostFri Feb 19, 2021 8:54 pm 
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RodF wrote:
since your loop includes more secure National Park trailheads, might just park at and start your loop from there, so no worries?

I sure appreciate your heads up. I have a real sh##ty car, so I'm not too concerned. I will probably even put a sign in it that says "car is NOT LOCKED...go ahead and look inside. I promise you won't find anything worth taking."  tongue.gif Also, it's not exactly a loop. The cars will actually be parked almost an hour apart!
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Sculpin
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PostSat Feb 20, 2021 8:42 am 
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Kellbell wrote:
car is NOT LOCKED

I get it, but do realize that if you file a claim with your insurance company, there will be a question:  Was the car locked?

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Kellbell
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PostSat Feb 20, 2021 8:53 am 
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Insurance claim on a 2001 CRV 😂😂😂 that's a good one!
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RumiDude
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PostSat Feb 20, 2021 12:46 pm 
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Sculpin wrote:
Kellbell wrote:
car is NOT LOCKED

I get it, but do realize that if you file a claim with your insurance company, there will be a question:  Was the car locked?

Signs don't deter theives and mischief makers. Neither does leaving the car unlocked. Because you think it would make you not bother with an auto doesn't mean it works on someone else. Clear logical thinking is generally NOT a feature of trailhead theives.

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Kellbell
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PostSat Feb 20, 2021 3:22 pm 
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RumiDude wrote:
Clear logical thinking is generally NOT a feature of trailhead theives.

For sure! A sign would probably attract them...a reason to be mean, just because. I may not lock the door anyway - just in hopes they'd try the door instead of breaking a window.
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Malachai Constant
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PostSat Feb 20, 2021 3:59 pm 
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I used to put on a NRA sticker on the car, but then I heard tweakers sought them out thinking there may be guns.gif inside.

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thuja
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PostSun Feb 21, 2021 8:46 am 
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Going up or down Cameron Pass on the Cameron basin side is slightly spicy in places, with steep snow or loose Olympics shale and some steep drop offs.  Cameron basin is spectacular in August, there is a dwarf fireweed that grows bright purple flowers in the meadows.
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Kellbell
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PostSun Feb 21, 2021 12:44 pm 
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thuja wrote:
Cameron basin is spectacular in August

Thank you Thuja! The plan is already set for August, so that sounds perfect! Can I ask what your plan of attack was for the hike when you did it? I was wanting to check off PNT miles (have a goal of 500 miles...wherever and however I can make that happen) but the "Grand Loop" is looking like such an easier plan. (I'd still get some miles checked off smile.gif) There's just a lot of options in that area...making my head hurt! But in a good way - I love even just thinking about hiking  biggrin.gif
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thuja
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PostSun Feb 21, 2021 7:39 pm 
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I was there in 2019, started from Deer Park and dropped down to Three Forks, then up Cameron Creek. Spent two nights camped on upper Cameron Creek (difficult to find campsite location) and did a day hike up to Cameron Basin and the pass.  Cameron had been brushed out that summer but there were several log crossings of Cameron that looked like their days were numbered. ONP has relatively more in terms of trail crew resources, but fixing these log crossings will not be cheap or easy.  Alternative entry to Cameron basin/Pass is Obstruction Point if you don't mind driving the road.
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