Sunday, April 24, 2011

Scott Mountain Mine 04-18-2011

After my warm up hike (with snow) on nearby Devils Mountain, it seemed like a fine opportunity to do a little exploring on the west side of that same ridge.

According to my Topo Map, there is a lake near Devils Mountain called Ten Lake. Near Ten Lake is a high point labeled as "Scott Mountain". On the western side of Scott Mountain, Topo shows a road that ends at a "Mine".

"Mine" was my desired destination.

I found a well paved road with large undeveloped residential lots weaving up the mountainside (intersection of Bacon Rd and E. Stackpole Rd) and this road interesected the road showing on Topo. It intersected... but didn't follow the route.

Looking at satellite images via Google Earth, you can see large sections of the Topo road. Knowledgable Locals tell me that the kind people at the nearby Whispering Firs B&B have a good knowledge of the local mining history - but I've not talked to them about it.

Proceed up the hillside neighborhood road. The intersection of this paved road with the Topo route is at Lot #8, across the street from Lot #19. At this point there is a gravel road heading up the hillside. Viola! So I thought.

I parked and started following the road uphill. Although this was the intersection where pavement crosses the Topo route, the gravel road wasn't really going in the direction that Topo said it was supposed to go. Since there didn't seem to be any other viable option (and I had nothing better to do), I continued upward, following the gravel road, enjoying views of Skagit Valley.

Eventually, a water tower is reached. There is another road descending from the water tower which goes back to the paved road at the paved road's dead-end/cul de sac. You should consider just parking at the end of the paved road (it will save you a bit of elevation gain and has a better parking spot). All the lots up here are leveled but not built upon, yet.

Also at the water tower was a less noticable road that continued ascending and it appeared to be turning in the proper direction, so I continued upward.

A short while later, the ground levels out and you find yourself at an actual intersection of roads... and closer to the Topo implied route. You also find yourself next to a large house at another residential community's paved dead-end road (Bacon Rd to Cascade Ridge Road to Quail Drive). You CAN drive to the end of the pavement, but I'm not sure if it's a private road or whether or not you can park there (may be gated). Doing so would save you quite a bit of elevation gain and could potentailly really shorten the trip.

Also at this intersection is a cliffy/ridgy sort of protusion. The map is telling me the mine is above this ridge/protusion, but a couple hundered feet up. Looks like a lot of bushwacking.


The map also indicates that if I head south, I will intersect the Topo road, which would/should then provide an easy and direct route directly to the mine - but it's a long switchback. Is it worth it to do the road or would it be better to bushwack and climb?

I chose the road route, since I was solo and new to the area, and don't have a lot of experience off trail.

The road was easy to follow but definitely getting overgrown. Doing this in summer is going to involve lots of alders, devils club, nettles and blackberries.

When I finally intersected the Topo road, there was another branch heading downhill which is where I was supposed to be coming up from. A subseqent look at Google Earth indicates it might lead toward the aforementioned B&B.

So, I followed the topo directed route upward to the 180 degree switchback turn.

There was a third road at this intersection, but it went the wrong direction (S instead of N, and visible on Google Earth).

The upper segment of the switchback took me to an elevation that was above the expected mine elevation/location, but the road dead-ended on the spine of the ridge... where the mine was supposed to be, but slightly higher in elevation.

Maybe I was at the mine and the map is wrong, or maybe the mine was down over the edge where I couldn't see it. Don't know anything about the mine... if it was a shaft or if it was just an open pit. No idea what to look for.

No indication on Google Earth of a mine or mine history.

So, I headed back, with a couple side trips to explore game trails and a quarry in hopes of finding another route to a lower elevation. No dice.

Eventually, I ended up back at the big house on Quail Dr., looking at the ridge protusion.

Decided to explore the protrusion area and walked through deep sucking mud to follow what could have been trails or something. Eventually worked my way upwards into dense vegitation to just below the mine symbol.

No evidence of anything around there, but I didn't really go up quite as high as the topo said I should. Just too much out of my comfort zone.

Will have to do a little research on the mine and maybe head back some day with a buddy.

Retraced my steps back down the hill and to the car. Here is the top part of the road that I used to ascend the hillside from the Water Tower.

My route (and exploring) included 2.9 miles and 954 feet of elevation gain. One way (the long way, on the topo road and around the water tower) is about 1.18 miles and 735 feet of gain. If you park at the other residential community on Quail Drive, it's probably less than a half mile of bushwacking upwards.

Happy Trails!


PS: Stay tuned for upcoming trip reports for Split Rock, N. Fork Sauk River, Whistle Lake and SugarLoaf Mtn to show up over the next week or so.

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