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Trip Report

Duckabush River — Monday, May. 28, 2012

Olympic Peninsula
Ken hikes the section of trail between the two sets of switchbacks going up Big Hump. USFS crew cleared this.
The Duckabush trail is closed for very good reason. The burn area starts just past 2-Mile (River) Camp. Charred snags and huge fir and cedar supported only by burned roots with the soil gone from underneath present significant danger. Loose rock and branches were coming down with no wind at times. Our WTA crew wore hardhats at all times. The problem is, things seem just fine until they aren't, and one loose rock or canopy wind can take out a tottering snag. I'm not generally a doom and gloom kind of gal, but unless you are with an approved work crew, please stay off this trail! I hope my pics at: are enough to quell your curiosity until this wonderful trail re-opens. If personal safety is inadequate motivation, the Forest Service is tracking scofflaws who choose to hike this trail despite the warnings, so prepare for a ticket if you're reckless enough to disregard the trail closure. And please, please, if you choose to have a fire backcountry, put it out COLD! The river was only a few feet away from the human fire that burned nearly 1,300 acres of beautiful forest. Despite the burn, sedum, trillium, paintbrush, monkey flower, false Solomon's seal, strawberry, rhodies (first part of trail only) and salmonberry were blooming in protected damp spots.
Greg and Becca work just above Five Mile Camp - this is pretty typical of what the trail looks like in areas not yet cleared.
Gary, Mark, and Wayne try to coax this guy we cut down the skids.
Next crew, please. This was where we stopped, about 3/4 mile from 5 Mile Camp. Even the sections we did have lots still to do (tread, a blocked switchback, logs under burned snags too dangerous to take, etc.).
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W(e're) T(otally) A(wesome)!

Yes, you are! Thanks to all of you for the hard, but what looks like fun, work! Meg, thank you for the GREAT pictures and captions! We have hiked this trail many times so could relate to all the pictures when the area was green! What a blessing to have had 3 beautiful days to work! Since we hike the area usually in winter and early spring, we have usually had cloudy, misty, and sometimes rainy weather! However, the wetness makes the green even prettier! THANK YOU SO MUCH! :)!

Posted by:

"Bob and Barb" on May 31, 2012 10:02 AM

Thanks for the report!

Thanks Nutmeg, I was looking forward to photographing this trail with the rhodies in bloom this year but I'll have to wait another year or two. To bad the carelessness of a hiker can spoil a trail for so many. I'll reiterate, please put your back country fires out COLD!

Posted by:

"HalfCenturyHiker" on Jun 02, 2012 09:32 PM

only greenhorns build campfires

If you customarily build campfires, I strongly suggest you try doing without them. You'll like it. Stoves are much less work, much less impact, you won't strip the woods bare or make anybody else breathe your pollution, and you won't have a mess to eradicate before you leave. Furthermore, you'll be outdoors (isn't that the point?). When you build a fire, it's sort of like being inside a room, the hearth the center of attention, drawing your gaze inwards. Without a fire, your attention goes outwards to what's around you. You'll hear the owls.
Skip the fire. Curl up in a pile with your sweetie and the dog, sip the whiskey, and watch sky TV. I guarantee: you'll come to prefer it.

You've got to be really clever to start a fire in one of the wettest forests in America, and you've got to be a real greenhorn to want a fire in warm weather. That fire heavily hazed my view on Fortress Mt. (NE of Glacier Peak). I could smell it. It was so smokey, I thought the fire was at Darrington. The night was so warm at 7300' that I didn't even think of putting up the tent, or even fully zip up the bag. Yes, I am an insufferable no-fire snob, but NOBODY in Washington needed a campfire that week.
A campfire is always by far your greatest impact.

Posted by:

"Cascade Liberation Organization" on Jun 13, 2012 03:35 PM