I had been trying to find a good weekend to go ride around the Carbon River Road down in Mount Rainier National Park. The road status page showed that it was open to the ranger station (actually a little bit further than that), and then closed past there to vehicles but still open to bike and pedestrian traffic. Since this was a park road, I figured it was just like most of their other more backcountry roads where it just doesn’t get plowed and so they wait until it’s fully melted before declaring it safe.
It turns out the actual reason it is closed to vehicular traffic is due to repeated washouts, most recently in 2006, and the park service just decided to turn it into a full-time pedestrian and bike road. I encountered some park service employees moving equipment around to repair the road and work on it a bit, presumably to make it more passable for bikes. The quality of the road ranges from paved at the entrance, to gravel, to huge stones (where in places I just had to get off and push) to dirt and mud. With the exception of the bumps, it was mostly flat, which was good for me — I’m still not very good at muscling my way up hills, although of course I can always just get off and push the bike up the same as I would over the extra bumpy sections. Even so, my legs were pretty tired by the time I made the 5 miles to the end of the road.
The road ends at Ipsut Creek Campground, which also provides one of the handful of trailheads along the road. In this case, it connects to the Wonderland Trail, which is about a 90 mile trail around the mountain. It also provides a connection to the Carbon Glacier, which I think a sign said is the lowest-elevation glacier in the lower 48 and is about 3.5 miles from the campground. Maybe some other day, when my legs can deal with the combined bike and hike.
On the way back I hit another one of the trails out to Chenius Falls, a very short trek complicated only by crossing the Carbon River on fairly simple log bridges. It seems the river floods regularly, hence the washouts on the road, and takes the Chenius Falls trail bridges with it, so it’s hit or miss whether you’ll be able to access the falls on any given trip. The falls were pretty, but don’t really photograph well (well, maybe if you’re willing to splash around into the creek that they feed):
One nice thing about the trail is since they know people will be biking into the trailheads they have also installed bike racks at all of them. The trip from the falls back to the car was basically all downhill, with the exception of a few rolling bumps, so it was a quick and fun trip back.
This is a delayed trip report, by almost a month apparently… I hadn’t been doing much hiking for a couple months and so I forgot to come back and add more posts. I’ve actually been out the John Wayne Trail a few times, both on foot and by bike. It runs along an old railroad grade that has been converted to a hiking/biking(/horse riding, I think) trail that starts across near the Rattlesnake Lake area. Technically, it only starts there in the sense of that’s where the name changes; I think it connects to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail or some other separately maintained biking trail.
The first two times I visited it, I walked in with the intent of visiting Cedar Butte, which is accessible by a trail that wanders off through the woods from the main road. The trailhead is poorly marked — and as we have seen multiple times, I’m good at missing trails that leave a main road — so I completely failed to find it the first time. I double-checked the trail description and was able to find it on the second trip, but made the mistake of going on a foggy day in February and was rewarded with basically a flat gray view from the top:
Since then, I made two trips up by bike. My actual goal is to ride back down from Snoqualmie Pass, which is a 25 mile descent, but so far the most I’ve managed is riding about 7 or 8 miles up from Rattlesnake Lake. There are numerous creek crossings and waterfalls, but unfortunately they’re usually relatively deep and steep canyons that I don’t know how I would get out of if I climbed down to the water (to say nothing of the fact that some of them are apparently part of the Seattle water supply and have big “stay away from the water” signs).
The most recent trip was also my first experiment with doing video, both real time and time lapse, of a trip. I haven’t edited the real time portion of the ride going up, but here’s a short clip of coming back down (turns out the ~50 minutes of recording on the way up mostly drained the battery):
Last Sunday, the weather was surprisingly gorgeous in Redmond, so I figured I should take the opporunity to get out and hike a bit. After a bit of searching for a trail that seemed reasonable but that I had not yet hiked on, I settled on Dirty Harry’s Balcony. The trip reports seemed to indicate that I might find some snow on the trail, but the parking lot was at a low enough elevation that I wasn’t worried about wandering off onto hard packed snow in the process (like happened to me a month or so ago while looking for somewhere to pull over and take pictures).
So I followed WTA’s instructions to follow the signs toward the WA fire training center, which would go under the freeway and in a quarter mile lead me to a signed gate that said something about closing at 4. Of course, it neglects to point out that there’s another trail head right there, and that as a result there is a decent amount of parking; I had assumed it was just going to be one of the many places here where people end up just parking on the side of the road. That is, assuming I found the right place: the sign said 5:30 instead of 4 as the hard closing time. (Furthermore, it notes that there is no parking along the road for the next couple miles, while WTA seems to imply that you could park on the side of the road if you were okay with potentially getting stuck behind the gate.)
I started walking along the road, in search of the “small gravel road/unmarked trailhead” on the right in “about another 0.5 mile[s].” Instead, after something closer to a mile, I think, I found an unmarked trail heading off into the woods that could never have been considered a small gravel road:
I started up this trail for a while but figured it couldn’t possibly be right, so I exited and continued along the main road. Somewhere around a mile and a half in, I gave up on finding anything matching the description I wanted, but I did find a separate dirt maintenance road off to the left. Since it was a clearing in the trees, it was somewhat more inviting, and I could see some of the mountains like I had hoped to photograph. On the other hand, this disaster of a puddle was somewhat less inviting (picture looking back at the main road after I squeezed around the mess):
I followed this road to its end, in a clearing that would’ve had an excellent view had it not been for the fact the clearing existed only as an open space for power lines to cut through.
On the way back out, it spit a bit of snow on me, but as I got back to my first trailhead attempt it had let up so I hiked back in a bit to take a few pictures of a cascade I had seen. Of course, that was when it started pouring snow, so I didn’t hang around long. I did meet a couple hiking in who also seemed to think it was the correct trail for Dirty Harry’s Balcony. I still had enough energy to hike up and back, but I wasn’t really equipped to deal with the snow so I bailed out. Maybe next time the weather is nice I will try again.
I seem to have gotten everything back up and running. I feel like a blog post or two might be missing, depending on how recent a backup they were able to pull for me from the old host, but most of the stuff seems to be there. (What would be more interesting is to try to figure out what CDs I have purchased and had added to the database that might not be there… so far I only notice one.)
For anybody who missed the “in recovery mode” bit, my old web host (who I had threatened on multiple occasions to leave, had inertia not been so strong) crashed and was running in “fail-safe” mode. The options presented to us were to file a ticket asking for our account to be recreated on the new server, at which point we could recreate any databases and they would then port them over, or we could cancel our account. I was able to get a raw dump of the database from what they had on backups, but that form was of…debatable use on the new host. (Actually, I think they could’ve deployed it without too much pain, but whatever.) So I installed MySQL myself on a virtual machine, imported the raw tables, dumped them to a standard text sqldump, and imported them here… and once I got a few silly things about DB connection worked out, everything seems to mostly be in order again.
So, after I figure out my CD list, I guess it’s back to deciding whether I want to finally do a new design…
It’s that time of year again… when a couple thousand musically-inclined souls gather for the RPM Challenge and try to put together 10+ songs and/or 35+ minutes of new music. I did it in 2009, 2010, and 2011 (barely), but last year I threw in the towel halfway through the month on the grounds of being unable to actually finish anything and having very little motivation.
We’ll see how it goes this year… I have two different ideas for what I’m going to do, one possibly with a group instead of solo. If I can wrangle them into it and convince them that yes, it is possible to put together an album (even if it’s rough around the edges) in a month.