Monday, July 30, 2012

CCC Road: Upper Trailhead

There is a road just outside of North Bend that leads to a large network of trails. It is called the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road. There is something special about this road. For lower clearance cars, it is only accessible for a small window in spring and early summer. Otherwise, you will need to take a high clearance vehicle. All because of potholes.

I took advantage of the recently graded road a few weeks back and posted about it here. The potholes weren't bad and there were plenty of other lower clearance cars racing along the road. I decided to brave it again a few weeks later, and unfortunately determined that would be the last time I would see the Middle Fork Road this year.

A few gals from my meetup group (plus my parents) met at the Safeway in North Bend, then headed out to conquer the first 10 miles of the road. It took us at least half an hour to go that 10 miles because of potholes. We also had to stop because my parents' Jeep had started to lose pressure in one of its tires. They told us to go on ahead without them while they changed the tire. So on we drove until we got to the parking area, which held about 4 cars.

As we began hiking into the woods, the sun shining through the trees made the forest look ethereal and beautiful. We came to our first creek crossing and I was sure glad I had my poles. The first creek crossing, unbeknownst to us, was the easiest of the 4 we would cross.

Soon enough, we came to another creek crossing. This one was a little bit more challenging, but still doable. We then came to a clearing in the trail, where we could see the silhouette of the moon above a peak. You can just barely see the moon in this picture, but I swear its there!

We continued on to cross another creek, which was even more difficult than the one before. Finally, we came to the last creek crossing, which was rather difficult and almost everyone got their feet wet.

We hiked further into the forest, passing the same man twice, once as we hiked in, once as we hiked out. He was definitely trucking along at a quick speed! We eventually got to this tree that had been struck by lightening. What a beautiful sight it was! The pictures definitely do not do it justice.

It was getting late by this point, so we turned around and headed back across the 4 streams. It was much easier the second time around! We got back to the car and found a note from my parents saying they were headed to the Snoqulamie Brewery. I later talked with my mom and she said they made it to the second creek crossing (about half a mile in) before turning back. I was very proud of them for attempting this hike!

I would recommend exploring the Middle Fork area if you have a high clearance vehicle. If you do not, I still recommend it, but wait until next spring (or when they pave it in 2015!)

Total time: 2 hours (give yourself at least an hour and a half for driving to and from North Bend)
Distance: 4 miles, 400 ft elevation gain
Passes: NW Forest Pass required
Location: off Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road, about 9.8 miles in. GPS: N 47 32.235 W 121 34.650

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