Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In which we continue explorations and get bewildered again

Roo and I went out to look at another stretch of the Whitehorse Trail today.

biggify to see my notes
We only had an hour to walk, so we decided to start as the same trailhead as before, but head east instead of west.

This section still needs a LOT of work--I didn't know that before we left.

In fact, I suspected, but didn't really know for sure that we weren't actually on the trail itself for the first half of our walk until we saw a sign posted by a local landowner.

Pretty sure that the County doesn't use this typeface on official trail signs

So, we turned the other direction on the road (not the trail) and kept heading vaguely east.

Looking at the north face of Ebey Mountain--the west side faces Haiku Farm.
We were about 2 miles from home when I took this picture.

It was a pretty day to be bewildered in, and Roo is good company.

Beautiful pasture.  Clearly, they haven't run horses or cattle here recently
(NO MUD!) We did see dairy equipment stacked around the property.

We finally got to the trail by cutting through somebody's orchard.  Since the path through the orchard is well-established, I figure I'm not the first person to be off-trail here.

Yep, that looks a lot like a rail-trail to me.
 When we found the trail, we followed it east for a bit.

View of the Stillaguamish River from the trail
The turnaround place is the intersection of the trail with a local road--and I recognize the spot: I bought hay here a few years ago.

This access road runs through a dairy farm.  I have been here before.

The fields are extremely wet right now.  If we get more rain we're going to have to outfit the local cows with water-wings.

The east-stretching bit of trail has clearly been worked on recently.  The amending is lovely.  My compliments to the work crews--they are doing a great job.

A rope swing into the river
 The good thing about rail trail beds is that they are mostly higher than the surrounding terrain, so they stay high and dry a bit longer.

Brand-new bridge decking.  There are no side-rails, hence the caution tape

Heading back west beyond the bridge, we got to a section that hasn't been fixed yet...and the elevation of the rail-trail isn't enough to keep it dry, because the saturated sidehill is draining onto the trail.

My feet got very wet going through here.  Ugh.  I hate wet socky-feet.

"Floofs get water wingz too?"

After we waded the trail for a bit, we got to a stretch where they've begun work, but not done any of the finish yet.

Brush-hogging blackberry bushes is a terrible job
 The tread is still covered with dead and dying blackberry branches


Roo's floofy undercarriage frequently gets hung up on the brambles

"We can go back to the swimmy part now, pleez?"
 and the thorns on the branches are hard on her tender toes.  I had to carry her through part of this, but I can't carry a 30-pound dog through trip-hazard branches very far.

We'll give the work crews some more time to finish this stretch of trail before we return.  

There's more than 20 more miles of trail to explore, so we won't be bored!

Roo is an excellent trail companion

Sunday, January 4, 2015

In which we explore and get bewildered and then find ourselves again

We wanted to see where the new Whitehorse Trail hooks into the 
Bracken/Armstrong tract of the Pilchuck Tree Farm.

Usual Suspects and Motley Mongrels : Santa Jim, me, Patty, and Sirie
accompanied by puppy Ferret/Carrot/Barrett, Roo, Connor, and Marco
photo by S. Neal

On New Year's Day, Jim and I explored about 2.5 miles of the Whitehorse Trail from the trailhead near our house, and during those explorations we found a place that looked really familiar....but where exactly, did that spot occur on the riding trails at Bracken?

Today, we headed out with friends and dogs to find out.

Santa Jim consulted the map we made from our walk on New Years,
overlaid it onto the topo map, and threw it onto his phone for our
day of exploration.

The intersection point is just beyond the bridge, at milepost 10.5(ish)

Patty and Connor

Head north at the road intersection.

A nice view of the river

Important Plot Point:  go right at the SPEED LIMIT sign.

Here's the map of our track, including the wrong turn we accidentally took onto private property.

red x's are private.  light blue is muddy.  dark blue is good trail.

The property owner gave us directions, and within a few minutes we were where we wanted to be!

Unnamed puddle

This trail isn't used much, but Jim and I
remembered it from years ago.

The old trail has been logged recently.  The problem with logging the woods in winter is the astonishing amount of mud created by the log trucks.

Half-frozen mud.  Passable, but not ideal.

Even with a gravel-armored roadbed, the trucks really rip up the track

On higher and drier ground, the people walked more easily and the dogs wallowed a bit less.

The trail was less messed-up here, and all the riders
recognized exactly where we were.

Santa Jim was in charge of the map track.  

And soon...

Back on the Whitehorse, headed for the trucks...and for lunch!

Pretty good, eh?