Boulder River (Dec 2, 2012)

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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: 9mi, 1200' gain (round trip)


What to do when the weather stinks just about everywhere. Embrace the rain. We did and we sure got soaked on the outing. Boulder River is near an annual hike for me. About this time of year. When the avy conditions up high mean a hike down low is in order. Gwen and Jim joined me on this trip.

We started out early, arriving at the TH parking area to find it empty. Hmmm...wonder why? We donned the Gore-Tex and packed the gear safely (pack covers or packs lined with garbage bags). Jim brought his 11th essential...an umbrella.

You know the trail...starts out on an old decaying road (interesting to see it change from year to year as is slowly falls into the gorge), then trail as it approaches the Wilderness boundary. The trail is pretty flat...some ups and downs along the way but nothing major.

The falls were cranking pretty good. The constant rain we were having helping to fuel the water supply. The first half of the trail (to the ford some 4.5 miles in) is in OK shape. A few downed limbs, lots of water/puddles on the trail. The occasional mud hole. After the overlook (at least that's what I call it, about 1/2 way in) the trail deteriorates. The trail is a stream, more trees (all small) down across the trail, more and larger and deeper ponds in the middle of the trail. At the stream crossings near the "end" of the trail it's much muddier. One of the final stream crossings is a jumble of old check steps that looked like they were once in place but the mud/clay and constant rain has washed most of them out and created a boot sucking mudhole. Easy enough to hop around but what a mess...

We stopped at the ford looking the opposite side wondering how, and in what conditions the old timers crossed the river and headed up to Tupso Pass. Wow. There are a couple of campsites at the ford, nice I suppose in the summer but today...soaking wet. Fire rings that looked more like swimming pools. We took shelter under one of the larger trees but only long enough for a quick lunch and them a hasty hike back out.

We finally did see ~8 other hikers about 1/2 way out. None looked eager to push further in.   Stats: about 9mi, 1200' gain round trip to the Boulder River ford.
 
Boulder River Slideshow

boulder_river_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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