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Trip Report

Stegosaurus Butte — Thursday, Mar. 7, 2013

Snoqualmie Region
Garfield West from near summit of Stegosaurus
I have been avoiding the Middle Fork Snoqualmie road for several years now, except for maybe the annual trudge up Mailbox. Two things have kept me from this road: First, the current MFS Road sucks @ss. You should not take a family car here. It will probably not survive the whole way out, but if it does, there will also be the jarring of your spine, which will absorb the shock as you bounce down the cratered, rocky path. High clearance, good tires, good shocks; you're going to want them all. Second, all that bouncing makes my dog seasick and she has tendency to toss her breakfast on the ride out to the trail head. It's just been more pleasant to go elsewhere. However, the road is scheduled to be paved soon. The start of construction is Spring of 2014. This will take a difficult journey to the heart of a wilderness area, and turn it into a 30 min drive in the country. Since the dogs were at the beauty parlor today, I decided to gas up the Expedition and take it out for a beating, and a recon mission. Stegosaurus Butte is a good place to get yourself up off the ground and take a look around. Park at the Middle Fork Trail head and cross the foot bride. More directions here http://www.hikingwithmybrother.com/2009/03/stegosaurus-butte-3109.html . The trail climbs steeply up 1140 feet over about a mile to a narrow slab of summit that has open views to the east and Mt Garfield. The resemblance to the Stegosaurus is pretty obvious. The trail is not always as obvious, I lost it early on the way up when I got up on a ridge too soon. At the second small bridge, follow the trail and stay in the gully. There is a real trail that is easy to follow in the gully. I made it up from on the ridge, but it was seldom trod turf, and rough going in places. When in doubt, go up. It worked for me. Seeing how nice the real trail is when I found it on the way down, however, makes me think I'll take the easy gully trail up next time. A topo map is helpful. No traction problems right now. Some melting snow at the top. Fun steep short and still pretty primitive. I think this will be a popular place in the future. The whole area is still pristine. It's really spectacular all the way up the valley there will be new peaks to bag and easy access. The first 5 miles of road after the pavement runs out is brutal. It starts to get better by the time you get to the Middle Fork Trail parking areas. I scouted the road further out and the closer you get to the Dutch Miller Gap parking the road gets better still. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this area next year when it doesn't require an $75 bill for a gas guzzling SUV to get out to the trail. .
Russian Butte
Choir Boy and Garfield West

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