Monday, May 1, 2017

Middle Fork Snoqualmie, 2017

 Map showing the Middle Fork Snoqualmie trails

This is a lower elevation trail not too far from the city.   There is a nice newly paved access road for most of the way to the trailhead.  There are two remaining short sections of the road left to pave and they do have rather large pot holes.  At the trailhead there is ample parking and a privy.  We hiked here last fall when the Washington Trail Association (WTA) was working.  That was the day of noisy helicopters as supplies were being dropped from above down to the work crew.  

 Crossing the bridge over the river

 View of the river from the bridge

The river was high and running fast with rapids

Our hike last week was on a cloudy day with periodic sun breaks mixed with some sprinkles of rain.  The trail was very muddy in places and the WTA is still working on parts of it.  There were 22 people in the work crew making it larger than other crews we have encountered on a weekday.  As usual we kept track of hikers and dogs coming up with 10 hikers and one dog.  Wildlife included one toad, and a varied thrush that flew across the trail in front of us almost close enough to touch.  We heard lots of bird song in the forest although the birds were well hidden.  

Western Toad

Notice how cleverly Mother Nature has allowed this toad to blend in with the leaf covered ground. We almost didn't see him but he jumped and then held very still until after we moved on down the trail.

It is still pretty early for wildflowers this year; however, we did see salmon berry, skunk cabbage, trillium, bleeding heart, yellow stream violets, colt’s foot, and one we originally thought was twin flower but turned out to be slender toothwort (cardamine nuttalli)—something I had never seen before.  The trilliums were soggy from the rain; however, we still managed to get some pictures.  Lily-of-the- valley and Solomon’s seal was in abundance.  They had buds but no flowers yet.  Those two plants growing in our garden in town are already in bloom.  

 Salmon berry

Skunk cabbage

 Bleeding heart

 Yellow stream violet


Fern fiddle-heads unfolding

 Colt's foot

Slender toothwort

We went about 5 miles round trip.  If it had not been quite so muddy we might have continued on a little further but as a second hike of the season it was a perfect distance.  I feel like my legs are pretty strong due to the skiing we did during the winter months but hiking uses some different muscles so it takes a while to transition. 

There were a few downed trees, some had not yet been cut and the trail cleared so we had to do a little climbing over too.

 Impressive rock cliff

Peek-a-boo view from trail

Scrag with woodpecker holes and conks

This is not the rain forest but the moss covered tree and the mud sure made it seem so.

When we got home Bob took brush and water to the boots and we popped our hiking pants into the washer to pre-soak the mud off.  A possible consolation, members of the work crew we stopped to chat with had far more mud covering them than we did.  From my observation, trail work is very hard physical labor; lifting big rocks, digging out mud pits, building wooden turnpikes, carrying supplies from the drop points to the work site.  WTA is a volunteer organization.  The folks we met and talked with (both men and women) were mostly retirees with just a few younger members.  Bob says the crews usually have more of the younger people on the weekends.  If you see them working, thank them, and if you have an inclination to help, sign up with the WTA.  The trail will be wonderful when the work is completed and not so muddy once the dry season starts.  

A few of the WTA crew working

No comments:

Post a Comment