Conditions of the local mountain roads

Good Morning!

One may think that the forest service roads around Baker would be maintained by the forest service.  While they do the big things (clearing landslides, repairing bridges) the day to day stuff (clearing fallen trees, clearing rocks, clearing brush) is done by a group of volunteers, the Citizens for Forest Roads.  Side note, if you are interested in helping out just email me!

The main person that organizes this has sent out an update on the conditions of the roads in this area and I told some people that I would share it here…so with no further ado here is the list.

Information here is as of 16 April.
  1. 31 Road (Canyon Creek) _ passable to MP 5.70 and the closure barricade. The running surface is cleared but there’s still debris in places on the shoulders.
  2. 3120 Road (West Church) _ gate opened April 15. Road is blocked from MP 0.00 by numerous downed trees. Firewood cutters may be working.
  3. 3040 Road (East Church Mountain) _ passable and debris cleared to MP 0.80. Deadfall debris starts at MP 0.85 and road is blocked at about MP 1.30 by numerous downed trees. 3040 Road beyond MP 0.85 is NOT RECOMMENDED for low clearance vehicles. Church Mountain Trailhead is at MP 2.69.
  4. 3060 Road (Welcome Pass) _ road is blocked MP 0.00 at SR 542 by downed snag. Road is snow-free above for an unknown distance. Welcome Pass Trailhead is at MP 0.77.
  5. 3065 Road (Twin Lakes) _ the snow berm is melted out at MP 0.00, Road is snow-free for an unknown distance. Gold Run Pass (Tomyhoi) Trailhead is at MP 4.39.
  6. 32 Road (Hannegan Pass) _ the snow berm is breached at MP 0.04 by 4x4s. Road has patchy snow from there. Goat Mountain Trailhead is at MP 2.46 and Hannegan Pass Trailhead at MP 5.30.
  7. 34 Road (North Fork Nooksack) _ status unknown.
  8. 3070 Road (Razorhone) _ snow-covered (about 1 foot remnant pack) at MP 0.10. Gate is closed until May 1 at sno-park. Parking area is bare.
  9. 3071 Road (Anderson Creek) _ snow-berm at MP 0.00 nearing melt out. Gate is closed until May 1.
  10. 33 Road (Wells Creek) _ snow-free and open to gate at MP 0.06, some debris on road and is snow-free above the gate for an unknown distance. Nooksack Falls parking area is snow-free. 33 Road is damaged at MPs 4.00, 5.20 and 6.20.
  11. 3310 Road (Pinus Lake) _ status unknown.
  12. 37 Road (Deadhorse Creek) _ cleared of debris and open to MP 0.38, Heavy slash on running surface begins and gets progressively worse with overhead clearance hazards out to MP 4.69 where it is blocked by numerous downed trees. Bridge Camp is open and being used, 37 Road beyond it is NOT RECOMMENDED for low clearance vehicles. Skyline Divide Trailhead is at MP 12.58.
  13. 37-031 Road (Excelsior Mine) _ status unknown. presumed snow-covered.
  14. 37-033 Road (Dry Horse Pit) _ status unknown, presumed snow-covered.
  15. 39 Road (Glacier Creek) _ cleared of debris to MP 2.90 and from there is passable, with wood and rock debris in places, to all vehicle to blocking snow at MP 5.20.  Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead is at MP 8.20. 
  16. 3910 Road (Thompson Creek) _ snow-free and passable through 1-Mile inholdings to MP 1.89 and blocking trees. Mountain bikers have ‘keyholed’ downed trees.
  17. 3940 Road (Smith Basin) _ gate is closed at MP 0.01. Wood bridges over Falls and Glacier creeks are not safe for motor vehicles.
  18. 36 Road (Grouse Butte) _ snow-covered, no condition report. Road goes to ‘closed to motor vehicle entry’ status May 1.
  19. 38 Road (Middle Fork Nooksack) _ passable to MP 4.85 and moderate blocking ravel rock debris at ‘Boulder Alley.’ CFFR has offered to clear the rockfall and open the road at that point and begin spring log-out.

A little detail about some of the roads:

Here is our Mid-April road status report for selected routes on the north end of the Mount Baker Ranger District.
      The February silver thaw event below 1,900 feet elevation in the North Fork Nooksack Valley caused severe deadfall tree and heavy slash accumulation that remains on upper East Church Mountain and Deadhorse Creek roads. Persons unknown are hacking their way up blocked roads but are not doing it to Forest Service ‘standard’, so we recommend that low clearance vehicle operators and owners of newer vehicles wishing not to damage them or mar their finishes, at this time, should not drive those roads.
      In the past 30 days, the Forest Service road maintenance contractor cleared the first 2.90 miles of Glacier Creek road including the two small slides and the biog boulder in the MP 2.20 vicinity. The contractor has been redirected to the Finney-Cumberland road system. We have been advised by the district road maintenance manager that there will be no further road maintenance work done on north end roads until mid-June or early July with USFS operational funds.
      31 Road (Canyon Creek), by the combined efforts of the community totalling more than 350 hours, has been substantially cleared of wood debris but more work still needs to be done there. It is now safely passable to all vehicles. We soon will be re-directing our efforts to 39, 38, 37, 3040 and 3060 roads.
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Best picture ever

My friends Dave a Staci came up a few weeks back with their new pup Wazzu.  We went up Deming Mountain to the old fire lookout spot.  I got this picture on the way back.  If  you look closely, you can see that Barley is literally airborne. And smiling.


Barkley, Barley, and Wazzu

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I teach chemistry and I love chemistry, don’t get me wrong.  But I love, love, love being outdoors…heck, I have this here blog where I talk about it.  I believe strongly in giving back and being part of a community so I do several volunteer projects, most citizen science stuff.  One of the things I do is amphibians.  With all the cold and solid water coming out of the sky our egg laying is a bit behind schedule but finally, FINALLY, they have started laying.  Here are a few shots from last weekend.

Chuckanut Community Forest, the frogs are getting busy!


gettin’ busy



come on guys, give a girl a break


Samish headwaters


freshly laid eggs



waiting for the girls


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Blanchard and Stewart, weekend of 3.04.17

More snow.


Lizard in the snow

Apparently, I may have moved to Alaska without knowing it. Today I sent an excited text to a friend that it hadn’t snowed in 2 days…it is the winter that is never ending. Last weekend I hit two local hills, Blanchard and Stewart. Continue reading

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Bowman Mnt. 1.23.17


Baker zoom


9.4 mi rt

max 3380 ft

gain 2799 ft

gpx track, use at your own risk: Bowman


The weather was beautiful and I wanted to stretch my legs so I grabbed Barley and headed out to Bowman.  This is a local hill that can be approached from several ways.  I have not yet been to the true summit (48° 44′ 27” N; 122° 3′ 22” W, 4234 ft.) but I often visit the site where the old fire lookout use to be (N48° 45.357′ W122° 04.412′, 3355 ft.).  The structure is gone but the footings still remain and the views as expected are fantastic. Continue reading

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New Dog friend

I would like to introduce you to Barley


He belongs to my friend Erica who wanted her dog to have fun so she asked if he could  be my new hiking friend. Barley is 7 years old and is a great trail dog and is a good fit.  I think we will be hiking together for awhile.  We have been on 6 or 7 walks together, I would guess close to 50 miles.  He has accepted me as his pack and is independent but always attentive.  I like Barley, he likes the orange scarf I made for him.

What happened to Natalie you ask?


Natalie is my friend Arcadia’s dog.  They were out of town for a week and I was dog sitting.  Nat and I hiked up to Pine and Cedar one snowy day late December.  She was always taking off into the woods after a bird/squirrel/bug/imaginary friend, she never went far but would just jump in all crazy like.  Well, she jumped in and a stick or such punctured her tummy and created a large pocket in her tummy.  That required surgery.  She is fine but she no longer goes with me, I can’t deal with the risk of the crazy. We had a good year together and walked many miles. She will be missed.

Barley is the third dog friend, it all started with Miranda of course.  She was my first.  We had nine good years and thousands of miles but she got old.  I still see her of course at the in-laws, (she was their dog after all) but she can no longer walk far at all.  Getting old sucks.  Miranda was her own kind of crazy…she loved me most and would gladly die protecting me from wild animals and would gladly injure if she felt I was being at all threatened.  This is why I started finding out of the way places to walk, she could not be trusted.  I always said she was 85 lbs of love for me and me alone. I do miss her on my walks, I always felt safe.



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Huntoon Point 1.14.17



4.5 mi rt

1418 ft ascent

5283 ft max

gpx track, use at your own risk: Huntoon


I do this snowshoe every year, it is just that wonderful.  I parked at the upper parking lot for the ski area.  My goal was Huntoon Point, a little left and beyond Artist Point. Continue reading

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