Monday, January 5, 2009

Vance Creek Bridge and More in the Snow

(Skokomish Valley with snow and fog)

Wandering around in the snow. Today I had hoped to drive to the high steel bridge and then snowshoe up to the top of Grisdale hill. That would have been 4 miles round trip, plenty of mileage for a snowshoe hike. The 23 road had been grated and was in good shape all the way to the turn off for the evacuation route. The evacuation route takes a road that goes south from the 23 and winds its way down to the Simpson 800 line.
The 800 line goes out to Shelton-Matlock road.

The 23 had been grated past the evacuation turn off but not as well or not as recently. I was worried that my Jeep would high center on the snow in the middle of the road so I turned back and decided to walk to the Vance Creek Bridge instead.

 It was about two miles round trip to get to the bridge. The way was bit treacherous with snow covered gullies and snow bridges to navigate. I was glad that I had my snowshoes on, but others had recently made the trek in regular shoes so it can be done. I did not walk out onto the bridge. I have walked all the way across the bridge in the past and it was very scary for me. I found my 500th geocache next to this bridge in September of 2006, as far as I know the cache is still there. There is also a multi-geocache near this bridge that is called “psycho vertigo” I have not found that cache and I probably never will.

After I left the bridge I wandered down a side road that goes south from the road to the bridge. There in a short distance I found a nice viewpoint that looked down onto the Vance Creek Valley and up to South Mountain. There I brewed my tea and shared a power bar with my dog while enjoying the view.

(Vance Creek Valley)

When I got back to my jeep I was not ready to go home yet, so I parked near the 8100 line that I normally use to walk to Lake West, but instead of going to Lake west I went up a steep logging road until I found myself at a very nice view point that overlooked the snow covered Skokomish Valley. To the East I could see the cascade crest and I was able to make out Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens.

I did not want to back track so I made took an off road route back down to the road. I went over an area that was probably logged and replanted about 8 years ago. Normally this would be very hard place to walk but the snow covered up most of the slash and stumps and made it a fun little adventure. Once I made it back down to the 8100 line I decided to head home.

On the way out I noticed that the piles of Salal I saw the last time I walked that road were still there. What a shame that so much Salal got wasted. I wonder what happened to cause this? Maybe the pickers got deported. ICE had been parking in the Skokomish Valley and detaining and deporting brush pickers. When these wage earners get deported the women and children who are left behind really suffer.

A lot of snow was expected in the mountains today, but I was only in the foothills. I think I only walked 3 miles but I feel like I hiked much further. For me snowshoeing one mile feels like hiking about 3 miles.

(New shoes in old snowshoes)

I wore my new shoes today and it was very nice to have dry feet. Right now it is snowing at sea level and two inches have accumulated. I am glad that I did not stay out for too long today. The snow is supposed to turn to rain at sea level but 1 foot of snow is expected to pile up in the Olympic Mountains tonight.

3 miles on my new hiking shoes.

Wasted Salal

Vance Creek Bridge
( "At over 800 feet long and standing more than 300 feet tall, it's one of the largest logging railroad bridges ever built and is officially recognized as the tallest railroad bridge in America." -

Both Track logs for the day

My Off trail route down

Profile for walk to the Vance Creek Bridge

Profile for my walk near Lake West


EcoRover said...

Send some of that new snow our way (northern Rockies)! It's been warm and everything up to 8,000 feet or so has turned into yuk for skiing. Snowshoe rabbits etc will appreciate the good crust, though.

Ironman said...

That geocache you found for your 500th has been gone for many months.

I am glad to announce that a new one has replaced it and is in a safer place. It is hidden in a little more "Northwest" style.

I enjoy trekking to the bridge several times a year. One trip I got to watch from the bridge a lunar eclipse take place just after sunset!!