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More exploring Baker-Snoqualmie
Last Post 24 Jul 2012 06:11 AM by Dan Griffin. 6 Replies.
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Louis De La Cruz
Louis De La CruzUser is Offline
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Bellingham, Washington
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19 Jul 2012 08:51 PM
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I've been off the boat for a week now and finally got around to getting my truck dirty. There are quite a few forest roads I've yet to explore, so I decided to try and tick a few more off. FR 31 turns out is still closed due to a slide or something. I'm worried that they're going to decide that it's easier to ignore it til it's so overgrown that they'll then decide that it's too much effort to open it. Next up I found FR 3050 (maybe it was 3035). I followed it for a while before it dead ended. On the way back down I saw a marker saying that the road was closed. Well what the heck. That's when I tried finding it on the Motor Vehicle map for Baker/Snoqualmie. Sure enough, not there. There's a stop sign and FR marker as you come off of Mt. Baker, but if the road isn't on the map then it isn't open. Ugh.

Next stop, FR 3040, up to the Church Mountain trailhead. Kind of ho hum, no real spectacular views, just a dirt road in the woods. But it was still better than pavement and there was a little water crossing that I was able to wash some dust off with.

With the Nooksack river gushing I decided to swing by the falls and take a peek. Lots of snowmelt had them flowing more than the previous times I've stopped to look. Best of all, road 33 was open. I hadn't been up this way yet, so off I went. Lots of peekaboo views of Mt. Baker on the lower part of the road but they really opened up as you climb. For scenery and mountain views, it blows away my previous favorite road up there (FR 36 to Heliotrope Ridge). I kept winding my way up and passed a big lifted diesel dodge (or chevy?). We chatted and he told me they'd been stopped by some snow a couple miles further. No big deal, I'm by myself, I'll just head up and see. The first couple of patches weren't a problem. And then I pushed my luck.

The patch that got me didn't look that bad. I was able to get far enough into it to get hung up on my rear diff. Not really a big deal. I've got a shovel and I'm not afraid of using it. So I dig out a little in front of the tires and a little in back and then try backing out. You'd think that the gouge made by the diff going forward would have let it go backwards. You'd have been thinking like me, and you'd have been wrong like me. I make it a foot or so and then my wheels are spinning (rear dif locked).

Back out I go. I grab the trusty shovel and start at it again. I catch sight of my arm while I'm working and it's covered, literally, in mosquitos. Same for my other arm. I swat the back of my neck and sure enough come back with a handfull of dead bugs. Now, I hate mosquitos. No, hate isn't a strong enough word. I loathe mosquitos. And here I am, stuck, by myself, and it's going to take some work. So I jump back in the truck (no mosquitos!) to think for a few. The shovel will work but it's going to take a while since I managed to get myself pretty far into the snow. And those mosquitos are still there.

What to do.

I laugh at myself for a minute for getting myself into this spot, then out I go, winch controller, tree strap, damper and shackle in hand. There's a beaut of a tree dead ahead and I slog through the mosquitos and slush trying to defend myself as best I can with my hands completely full but it's no use. I'm getting eaten alive. And I'm just a little short on winchline. Like, 2 feet. Ugh. I can barely see the truck through the cloud of mosquitos and my flailing arms, so I start following the winchline back to get my 100' extension trying to figure out what I'm going to do with the extra 98 feet of it. Then it clicks. I had hung the tree strap in a basket. I ran back and switched it over to a choker and had some line left over. I ran back, made sure the controller was tucked out of the way and then dove into the sanctuary of my truck. Best of all, I only let in about 300 of my new best friends to nibble on me. The winch made short work of things and I was through to terra firma. Sort of. I still had to turn around to get out the way I came.

Back out into the maelstrom I go. I think I only added fifty or sixty new bites while I disconnected from the tree and wrapped my line around the bull bar. The return trip through the snow was exciting but uneventful. I quickly hopped out and reeled in the winchline (sixty more bites and five really curious bees) and then it was time to head back down. Again, the views were spectacular and I had to stop a few times just to take it all in.

I passed the turnoff for FR 3310. Anyone been down that way? Looks like there's a small lake that you can get to, but the track was overgrown except for tire tracks. I completely missed it on the way up because of a car that stopped in front of it to let me by. I might give it a shot Sunday if anyone's interested. I'd also like to head up to Twin Lakes and maybe FR 32/34. I think at that point I'll have covered most of the open forest roads in that part of Baker/Snoqualmie. I promise I'll bring bug repellent.

Louis
- Louis

'02 Tacoma
'70 VW Panel Bus
Craig Miller
Craig MillerUser is Offline
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Edmonds, Washington
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19 Jul 2012 10:52 PM
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Nice trip report Louis. Thanks for the write-up!

We're getting together on Saturday in Anacortes for a couple of beers and food. I hope you can make it out.

Craig
Jay Erickson
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Puyallup, Washington
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19 Jul 2012 11:37 PM
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You made me itchy. Sounds like everyone had a good time, especially the mosquitoes!
Traded in all my project vehicles for my 2009 Xterra, not an ounce of buyers remorse.
Mike  Block
Mike BlockUser is Offline
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Camano Island, Washington
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20 Jul 2012 02:44 AM
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Photos!?!?!
Louis De La Cruz
Louis De La CruzUser is Offline
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Bellingham, Washington
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20 Jul 2012 07:56 AM
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Posted By Mike Block on 20 Jul 2012 05:44 AM
Photos!?!?!


My camera is still in my seabag, which is probably right next to my mosquito repellent ): It was all a bit spur-of-the-moment. I'm just glad I usually leave my recovery gear in the truck. Never know when you'll need it. I used to keep a boiler suit in there from work, I'm not sure why I stopped, but I think I'll have to start that up again.

On the plus side, the mosquito bites on my lips have stopped itching and the swelling has gone down. I've dealt with some ferocious mosqitos in the past in South America and Africa, but that was hands down the worst encounter yet. Anybody want to go up Sunday? (:
- Louis

'02 Tacoma
'70 VW Panel Bus
John Gaffney
John GaffneyUser is Offline
Bellingham, Washington
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23 Jul 2012 08:33 PM
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I'd be up for some exploring this coming weekend (July 28th/29th). Possibly head down to the south side of Mt. Baker area? I'll text you.
Dan Griffin
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vancouver, Washington
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24 Jul 2012 06:11 AM
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Great Report, As i read it I envisioned my wife running around swatting at those little bastards when we had a similar situation on our last trip.
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