gain: 2654 ft
max: 3131 ft
I took the girl on a long walk
gpx track, use at your own risk: Split Rock
I had heard of a magical place where unicorns play and I wanted to go there.
Or I heard of a cool rock formation and I wanted to go there. One of those two. The path that I had heard about was intended for dirt bikes and was 26 mi rt. I don’t have a dirt bike, merely my two feet so I knew that if I was going to go there I needed to make a plan and find my own route. Using GE and Mapsource with trails/roads, I plotted out two possible routes.
The route on the left would involve some serious road walk on roads that may not be passable and a possible high creek crossing. The right hand option had me following an orv trail through an orv park on DNR land then walking up some roads and with what I thought was going to be a short 1000 foot bushwhack to connect to spurs. Ended up there was no shwhackin necessary, there was a single track trail already in place. Oh, I took the option on the right, glad I did.
We started this walk at the orv park parking area (N48 22.852 W122 10.629), well close to it. I had forgotten my Discovery Pass in my car (I was in the truck) so I had to park up the road a short distance and walk in. I met a nice man in the parking area and we chatted for a few minutes. I told him my intent and he looked at me like I was crazy (: I get that a lot. I started up an orv trail that would connect me with Pat’s trail that would take me two miles to the roads above. Keeping in mind this was an orv trail and one I had gone partially up in the past, I was not surprised that it was a bit wet and muddy in places. I don’t really mind sharing the trail with motorized vehicles, there were hardly any out there and I can hear them coming. They however are always VERY surprised to see a hiker with dog standing off the trail when they go by. On the way out, one rider almost crashed when he did a double take!
About halfway up the trail I heard a bike coming so I stepped off. Turns out it was the nice guy I met in the parking area. I think he came up to check on me (: He continued on up the trail and eventually the roads, I ran into him one more time late on. Once at the road I went right and did some road walking. Not a lot but it turns out that had I gone left there was a connector trail that would shave off some mileage and some road walking. I took that trail on the way down.
We followed the planned roadwalk up with only a very short detour when unsure of which spur to take at a split. At the end of the road where I thought I would have to make my own way there was a trail, imagine that! That connected me up with the upper ridge road which I followed up to split rock. I hit a little snow at the very top of our hike but it was leftover and nothing to really even slow down for.
As I approached Split Rock I noticed a beautiful subalpine wetland meadow…well, beautiful except for the fact that some asshole drove their large 4W vehicle through it. These are the types that give off roaders a bad name. I spent the next while really pissed off thinking about all the habitat that was destroyed so that these yahoos could get off on driving in mud.
The rock was quite something to see. The clouds were moving in so it gave the area an eerie feeling. We hung out for a bit and had some snacks and water before heading back down.
On the way back I noticed some flagging in the woods near the top that looked like they were planning a moto-trail so I decided to follow it down knowing that this short 0.3 forest bushwhack would shave about 1.2 mi off my return trip. The walk was an easy one and I am glad I did it. There was some wind fall to work through but barely anything to speak of.
Once back to the road it was just a matter of walking out to the trail that I missed on the way up and then back to the truck. The road walking was fine even though it was mostly through newish cutting. The removal of the trees left great view and exposed some cool rock formations!
Stopped by the Big Rock food place at the roundabout on my way back to town for some food and a beer. It was a good day.