Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stetattle Creek 05-19-2012

The third trail of the day was Stetattle Creek.

For those of you just tuning in, you may have missed the North Mountain Lookout and the Diablo Dam Trail reports. Neither of which are really relevant to this report except that Stetattle Creek trail happens to be in the vicinity of the Diablo Dam trail.

It's nice to have multiple trails starting in the same area for the sake of flexibility.

The Stetattle Creek trail begins right after the bridge you'll cross between Hwy 20 and the twilight zone Diablo neighborhood.

Park nearby (plenty of space) and start following the gravel trail along the river bank. Yes, it does appear to go directly into someone's back yard, but it's ok. Keep walking.

Keep your eyes peeled for Bambi who was taking a rest near by.

The creek is beautiful. Plenty of whitewater and whatnot. And moss. Oh, the moss!

The trail stays alongside the creek for a ways, but beware: parts of the trail are being undercut by erosion. In fact, despite my best efforts to avoid doing damage, one particularly sketchy step resulted in a large chunk of trail plunging into the creek. Luckily, part of my footstep was on top of a tree root which held me steady and completely prevented me from plunging into the icy waters.

Maybe its time to join a WTA Work Party.

I followed the trail for a ways further, until I was across from the huge washout.

After this point, the trail seemed hard to follow (but I didn't put any real effort into a search) so I turned around.

Those that opt to continue on can expect to find the trail switchback up the hillside a ways before continuing to follow the valley higher above the creek.

Beware and use caution... rumor has it that the trail begins to deteriorate beyond this point. People can and do become lost on this trail, so please be dilligent in making sure you don't become one of those statistics.

Here is a topo image of the Diablo area, showing the Stetattle Creek trail and also the Sourdough Mtn trail.

Here is a ridiculously small image of my route up Stetattle Creek, and the subsequent hike up the first 500 feet of elevation gain on Sourdough Mountain. That trip report will be coming soon.

Happy Hiking!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Diablo Dam Trail 05-19-2012

More than a month ago, after an enjoyable trek to North Mountain Lookout, my boots made their way to the little town of Diablo.

Why in h311 would someone want to go to Diablo?  It leaves many people with the feeling that they've just had a Twilight Zone type of experience.  It is an odd little place; nestled deep in the valley of cascade giants, shadowed by monstorous gothic styled dams, a Leave It To Beaver styling... mixed with a little Ghost Town.  Throw in humming power lines and Big Brother amounts of Security Cameras and Viola!


Certainly not a place I'd want to have a permanent address (particularly for eternity, gasp), but it does have many fine points:  beautiful colored lakes, plentiful hiking opportunities, wildlife and ... well, I guess that's about it.

Anyway, there is a short little trail that hikers can use to ascend from the town site up to the Diablo dam.

Yes, it is usually possible to drive to (and across) the dam.  It's not a ride that everyone can handle though.  Then again, not everyone can handle the hike either.  Check out this short video which contains some images of the bridge that vehicles must use before they cross the dam (consider it a mandatory pre-test) and some video from the trail with a lofty drop down to the lake at one point.

There used to be a third option for accessing the dam:  the Incline Railway.

Once upon a time, Seattle City Light offered Diablo Dam Tours which included a ride on the Incline Railway, but since the events of 9/11 (and the subsequent lack of maintenance), the Incline Railway is no longer part of the tour. The tours also used to include a boat ride on Diablo Lake.

Total route, with wandering around and exploring is only 2 miles round trip and 500 feet of elevation gain.

Happy Hiking!


PS: Survived a wild storm at Goat Lake today. Trip report coming, but not until I finish the other two reports already in progress: Stetattle Creek and Sourdough Mtn.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Itinerary for 06-23-2012

Itinerary for 6-23-2012

Steve G. and I will be heading out for an adventurous day of hiking (maybe swimming, unavoidably, based on the soggy forecast) along the Mountain Loop Highway.  Options abound of course, but the initial plan is to hike out to Goat Lake.

Backup plans (or stuff to do in leftover/free time) could involve a visit to Barlow Point (Peak?), Sunrise Mine, Big Four Ice Caves or possibly Kelcema Lake.

Here is a rough image of where I suspect we'll spend most of the day.

Wish us well and pray we'll need sunscreen instead of umbrellas.
Happy Hiking!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

The June Hike is 23rd or 24th

You may have already figured out that the June hike will probably occur next weekend. For the time being, lets pretend it will be on Saturday, June 23rd.

If the weather is forecasted to be awesome (or nearly awesome) on Sunday but rainy (or significantly less pleasant) on Saturday then there's a chance that it could move to Sunday. Catch my drift?

Anyway, let's plan for Saturday.

Drop me an email, add a comment to this blog post or just give me a call to let me know you are interested and then you can be part of the iDT (itinerary Development Team).

Calling it the iDT instead of IDT makes it something that all the cool kids will want to be a part of.

That's how iRoll.

Happy Hiking!


PS: Praying for sunny weather (or just not rainy weather) on Whidbey Island for Father's Day and praying that I'll get around to posting the three "Intro To" trip reports that I owe to all the Constant Readers.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Clear Lake Escapade 06-02-2012

Please forgive me for posting this trip report that involves exactly 0% hiking, 100% kayaking and 60% blurry pictures.

At the very end of Memorial Day, the Rolfs came into posession of a Kayak. Sure, it is a beginner's kayak and probably not actually, officially a kayak in the eye of those more experienced and wiser, but it's a boat, it floats, it holds one person who sits in an oval shaped space. Sounds like a kayak to me.

Here are a couple pics from the depths of the garage... before I cleaned it up a little.

Alexia popped into the picture - she was almost as excited as I was.

The boat is pretty short (as far as kayak's go)... probably about 9 feet long. It's also really wide... probably about as wide as a canoe.

Due to the lateness of the day, this vessels first 'Big Rock Excursion' trip wouldn't be until the following Saturday.

While everyone else was at the gym, Clear Lake beckoned me to visit.

Despite the unpredictable weather, for 60 minutes I paddled around half of Clear Lake. It was cloudy for 15 minutes, rained for 15 minutes, was partly sunny for 15 minutes and then partly windy for 15 minutes.

My phone managed to take three pictures... but they were all on 'macro' mode which only focuses on items that are about three inches away - or closer. Technically, the pics are awful, but they'll always have deep memories for me.

If nothing else, they may also be useful for demonstrating the 'best case scenario' of what I would actually see if my contacts happened to fall out (which they didn't, I promise).

This vessel was much more stable than I ever imagined a kayak would be. As a former rower on the WWU Crew team, I have plenty of hours of experience rowing in crew skulls. My concern with kayaking would be that it might tip over so easily - and probably real kayaks do - but this one is as safe as ever. Stable enough that I can't wait to get the kids out in the lake with it. Hopefully they'll love it too. It's unlikely you'll ever find our family of four boating around in kayaks all at once, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if we haul this thing around to a few lakes here and there on family outings.

Anyway, enough rambling. I'm looking forward to getting some float time in this thing in the near future... lakes haven't been too interesting for my hiking adventures, but now I'm excited to go visit some of those local waterways with this new perspective. Lake Samish, Baker Lake, Diablo Lake (oh yeah!), Clayton Beach, Bowman's Bay, anyone up for a short shuttle trip along the Skagit River?

Stay tuned for more...

Still owe this site three trip reports. Already used my video upload quota for this week on gymnastics videos... maybe next week will be catch-up week.

June 9th was the original scheduled hike date for June, but it was bumped for family events and has yet to be rescheduled. Check back later....

Happy Hiking (and/or boating)!


Saturday, June 2, 2012

North Mountain Lookout 05-19-2012

North Mountain Lookout... finally.

If you haven't been following along, this was my third 'attempt' in five months to reach the North Mountain Lookout.

First attempt was thwarted by a low snow level & lack of snowshoes. Link

Second attempt was aborted due to a recent ankle injury (plus tons of snow) making for slow progress and a potentially unwise situation to be in while solo. Link.

Third attempt was "picture perfect", as exhibited in the below images.

You may notice that the Lookout is in pretty poor condition.

Very poor condition, actually.

Unsafe condition, more realistically.

It needs help and attention and a passionate effort to get it refurbished to its glory days. If you are interested, please consider visiting my Save North Mountain Lookout page here.

On with the eye candy... then some comments.

Road condition:

There is a 'washout' on the road... right where the route starts in the below route map image. The washout IS passable by some vehicles (and brave drivers). I didn't attempt it because it looked too deep, but as I walked by it became evident that someone has piled some rotting logs in the new water channel which makes the drop off less deep and more likely that you could get by. While I was returning to the car, a 4x4 truck did pass me (but he didn't get much further due to snow).

The Gate:

At the time of my visit, it wasn't possible to drive to the gate due to snow levels. At the gate the snow was as deep as the top of the gate. Standing on the snow looking down on the top of the gate it was clear that the gate has rusted through where it locks to the post. Once the snow is gone, anyone will be able to swing the gate open or closed as desired... until someone comes by to fix it.

The Lookout:

Really cool but also in really poor condition. Some of the equipment up there appears to have been broken in to, but not damaged (other than the door).

The Views:

Woo Hoo!! Visit this place on a sunny day - the views are well worth it.

Route Map:
1,081 feet of elevation gain in 3.75 miles (7.5 miles round trip)

The Video:

Since my hike to North Mountain Lookout started pretty early, I was back to the car by noon. With a whole half day ahead of me, there was no way that I couldn't go do a little more exploring. Off to the town of Diablo for a little exploring of the Diablo Dam Trail, Stetattle Creek Trail and Sourdough Mountain/Ridge Lookout Trail. Reports for those are 'coming soon'.

Happy Hiking!


PS: The June 9 planned hike outing has been cancelled and will be on a different date (still TBD which date). Keep tabs on the 2012 hiking calendar if you are interested in tagging along some day. LINK.