Sunday, December 9, 2007

Lower South Fork Skok After the Flood of 2007

Huge piles of driftwood are lodged against the pasture fences on the Skokomish Valley Road. The Skokomish River broke its record last week, the water has mostly retreated now but signs of flooding abound.

The trail is in rough shape once again. I'm pretty sure that last year's damage to the trail was cleaned up and all the damage I saw today was fresh. Between miles 2 and 4 the trail is a mess with fallen trees, mud holes and washouts. I had to go well off the trail to get around blow downs and mud holes. In one spot the trail is totally obscured and all I could do was simply follow the river until the trail re-appeared. I found some old puncheon that was abandoned years ago when the trail was re-routed. The old route was easier to follow but I did not feel safe walking on old and rotten puncheon so I got back on the current trail as soon as I could find it.

About 200 feet of the trail has been washed out by the river and an extensive re-route will be required to fix the trail. The washout is just past where the camp comfort shelter once stood.

I hiked out on the road via the spur trail just past camp comfort. By hiking out on the road I turn the hike into a 9 mile loop instead of a 9 mile out and back. The 2353 road is washed out in several places. A crew was up there working on the road and the crew tole me that the forest service is going to do some logging up there and then sell the trees to a biodiesel plant. The Forest Service needs to repair the road so they can cut the trees so they can get them money to close the road.

Simpson and other private interests should be footing the bill for road
decommissioning but in actuality the Forest Service is stuck with the bill. Private interests built the roads but the Forest Service subtracted
the cost of road building from what they charged the private interests for the raw timber. So in effect the Forest Service paid to build the roads and now has to pay to decommission them . That said the salmon paid an even bigger price for all those logging roads.

The road washouts on 2353 will not prevent access to the dry creek or the dry creek extension trail once wildlife gates re-open in the Spring. There could well be other washouts on other roads leading to those trail heads.

Forest Service road 23 is washed out before Spider Lake and it will be repaired soon.

I had a lovely hike and got some good exercise climbing over all the blow downs. All the bridges that were good last year are still good this year.

9.3 miles with 450 feet elevation.
This years running total: 302 miles with 70,004 feet elevation gain.

No comments: