Boulder River (Sep 7, 2009)

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boulder_river_coverConditions: Day Hike
Gear: Rain Gear
Map: USGS Meadow Mountain
Area: Darrington
Reference: 100 Hikes Washington, Glacier Pk Region
Stats: 9.0mi, 1200' gain (round trip)

What a mucky trip! And by mucky I mean muddy...REAL muddy. Holy cow!

It's fun to hike this trail. It's an old favorite. Each time I'm out there it feels like I'm visiting an old friend.

The trail has changed a lot in the past decade. It seems more open. Lots of downfall the past years has opened up the tree canopy in several areas. But...the character of the trail is still wild, crazy wild. I love this river.

We hiked up the trail past the first two sets of falls. They were cranking. The shelf fungus were all over the place on this trip. You know the's like an orange turkey tail growing horizontally on the tree. The first part of the trail is really starting to look beat up. It's the old section of road (converted to trail) where the old road was built up using old growth trees to form a bench. In some places the road surface is gone and there are some peek-a-boo holes starting to show through the road bed.

Further up the trail there are several giant much holes. We all had higher top boots but even then some of the puddles were deep enough we tried to find a route around them. In other places the trail is more like a creek.

We decided to head to the ford but before this, there are a couple of creek crossings that are down right slippery. Rotten logs form a tangle of slippery pick up sticks at one crossing. It felt like we were clawing out way up a muddy hillside. Eventually, we reached the ford and the river was moving deep and fast. Sometimes that river scares me...the forces moving it downstream are strong. Once, the river was moving so fast and we could hear a low frequency pounding sound. It took a short while before we figured out it was boulders underwater banging there way downstream.

You have to love this of the few that is best done when it's raining...
Boulder River Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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