Sunday, October 19, 2008

In the Land of Giants

Pretty exciting find this last Saturday (October 18th). Hiked up the Middle Fork Trail past the 9-hour giant (see next post) and then went up hill West of the creek from 9-hour lake. At about 1600' the stumps stop, it gets steep, and there are a whole lot of big trees. I measured a couple and they were in the 180-200' range, so nothing really big but they went on and on. In fact, that group of trees was pretty continuous for about a mile West until you get to the really brushy rock field just before the Rainy Creek drainage.

This is big-time cross country work here. Extremely steep with, essentially, ramps that lead from various 'shelves' (in quotes because they are only flat relative to the other terrain). Crossing the four stream beds is even more challenging with the first two being the worst. I went up to 1800' along 9-hour creek then traversed up to about 2,000'. I crossed into the brush at 2,300', right near a tree with a huge base, but splits into three trees about 30' up (almost took a picture by it but thought it would be misleading).

This was the hardest cross-country I have ever done in my life, taking over 4 hours to go that mile. In retrospect, I probably should have had a helmet. Although I left a detailed route description at home, I'm pretty sure, had I fallen, I would have never been found.

All that aside, this was the longest stretch of large old-growth I have seen in Washington outside of the Olympic NP or North Cascades NP. I think it is the Land of Giants.

I had great hopes for the Rainy Creek drainage but was dissappointed to find it all logged, even into the areas I showed as old-growth. It was a perfect place, you can tell by the stumps!

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