6.6 mi rt
gain:1967 ft at the max point
max: 2464 ft
me and the dog
gpx track, use at your own risk: Stew via Mirror
There are many ways to access the Stewart Range, perhaps I need to put together a master Stewart map…oh wait, I already have. Perhaps I should share that…eventually. For this gambol, I entered from the very south end across the street from Mirror Lake. Note to self, I wonder if one could go up Anderson from Mirror Lake, must check that out this winter. This walk was entirely on road or a rather nice single track trail.
I have been up in this area a few times in the past but always entered from a spot a short distance away from this. From a road vantage point above Mirror lake I have looked down and wondered if one could just come up the powerline from the lake. The answer to that question is yes, and it was quite straight forward.
A geo-friend had wondered the same thing a few weeks ago but wanted to make sure that this access point was entirely on public property so he stopped by the DNR office in Sedro Woolley and asked about gaining access from this end. He was told that if you park at the pull off at the lake (N48 39.785 W122 13.095) that the gate with the striping on it about 100 ft to the west is DNR therefore it is public access. Apparently, the neighbors have put up no trespassing signs but then anyone can put up signs, can’t they. So it is confirmed by the land owners, DNR, that that is their gate and it is therefore open to the public for walking on. I walked on it.
I entered the gate and walked on the road for a hundred feet or so. It appeared as though I was going to be walking directly into the peoples yard but the road jogs to the right way before then and starts going up the hill. At the first intersection, I went left and kept going up the little hill. From the crest of that hill, I saw where I was going to be going…up and some more up. That road intersected and I took the one that went straight on up. At this point the road is halfway eroded; half is a small water drainage but the other is a graveled track that is easy to follow all the way up to where it connects with the main road at about 1.5 mi from the car and about 1400 ft gain. This is the main road I have been on in the past. Once at the main road I went left and continued on for just a short while until I came to a trailhead that I have always wanted to take. I took it and here is where the fun starts! At approximately N48 40.728 W122 13.655, there will be an entrance off the road, climber’s left. The trail goes three ways: left down the hill (I took this on my way out), right up the hill (I took this on my way down, cuts off a road switchback) and straight. I had taken the one on the right before that cuts off the road switchback but had wondered about the one that went straight. I wonder no more. Going straight will shortly connect up with the one that goes right but it goes through a beautiful forest with some rather impressive moss covered boulders…I will go this way from now on.
I stayed on this easy to follow trail for about 1.5 miles. It passed through old forest, newer forests and on the edge of not so long ago cuts. About 2/3 of the way through I found that some selective thinning was happening and it was happening as I was walking, I could hear the chainsaws in the distance. It seemed as though they were trying to keep the small saplings off the trail and they succeeded somewhat. When I came out of the trail where it joined the road there were a bit more trees across the trail but they are small and will be shortly removed I am sure. I also ran into the crew doing the thinning and talked to them for a bit. They said they try to keep them off the trails if they can and I thanked them repeatedly, positive re-enforcement and all (:
This trail was great, not only did it pass through old forest, it passed through some rather interesting geological features. There was this one spot where it looks like the earth cleaved in two. There is a fault up here so perhaps that caused the rock to split, sorry, no pictures.
Once at the road, I recognized immediately where I was, taking a sharp left up the hill would take me to the old lookout site, going on the gentler left would take me on up to the main Stewart ridge, going right would take me back to where this road intersects with the powerline road/trail I came up. Knowing that I was taking Miranda with me the next day on a longer hike, I chose to go right back towards the car.
I stayed on the road until I got near that switchback I wanted to avoid then I went back into the woods and joined up with the trail that I spoke of earlier. Once at the three way trail intersection where I had entered, I continued on the trail down the hill. This is also a nice walk and the trail is nice and obvious. Sadly it ends too soon and connects back up with the powerline trail/road. From there it was just a short road walk out.