Delayed by the slow melt-out due to record cool temperatures in May, we decided to see if we could get to Cyclone Lookout on June 1. We actually got all the way to the top! The first mile is now cut out, including five or six trees blocking the road that forms the first half-mile of Trail 40 on its way to the summit. There are another 13 chainsaw-worthy blow-downs across the trail further up that we’ll go back for soon, although we did at least turn them into step-overs for now. UPDATE on June 8: All blow-downs have been cut out. The trail is completely clear.
As we were getting ready to leave the lookout, a Customs and Border Patrol helicopter circled in and dropped off a couple of folks to perform maintenance on their repeater up there.
As of May 26, Cyclone Lookout is accessible and the trail (T40) is in good shape. We sawed out 8-10 blowdowns, removed an equal number without tools and dealt with a several other annoyances, including some alder encroachment. We were using hand tools, so left in-place a couple of trees in the 8-12 inch range, although we trimmed them out to make them easy step-overs. Both are in the lower half of the trail, about a half-mile apart. We’ll likely come back by the weekend and take them out.
The annual hike to Cyclone Lookout on the evening of the longest day has become a North Fork tradition. Hikers will meet at the junction of North Fork Road and Hay Creek Road at 7:30pm and carpool to the trailhead. This is a fun evening watching the sun set and returning to vehicles before dark.
Participants are asked to bring snacks, insect repellent, bear spray, and headlamps. The hike will be led by NF Trails stalwarts Janet and Dick Leigh.
Here are a few, brief trail condition reports. Short version: Most trails discussed so far are in fair to good shape, with the exception of Demers Ridge, which is awful.
Greg and Sue Evans said that the Demers Ridge Trail [Trail 266 from the north] to Glacier View Mountain is in terrible shape. They counted 192 blow-downs. However, others report that the route up Glacier View on Trail 266 starting from its southern end near Camas junction is in good shape, with very few obstacles.
Debo Powers turned in several reports…
“…I did hike to Thompson-Seton [Trails 79 and 28] and I was surprised at how much the brush has grown back. It’s only mid-calf high instead of head-high, but it has grown back so lush that you can’t tell that we cut it last year! I was surprised because it looked so scalped last year when we finished! Nature is resilient! My pant legs got soaked walking the lower trail on Tuesday morning [July 15] after the Monday evening rainstorm. The trail is fine for this year, but we should put it on our list for next spring or early summer. There are also 7 logs across the trail, so we will want to do some cutting next year, too.”
“The trail to Thoma that starts on Frozen Lake Road [Trails 18 and 15] has a brush problem in one short stretch, but I imagine that Leif will take care of that sometime this year. His re-supply mule train came up the other route from Trail Creek Road [Trail 15 from the south] on Thursday [July 17], so that trail has probably been cut out to make room for mules. I haven’t hiked it though.”
“The trails to Hornet [Trail 349] and Cyclone [Trail 40] are in fine shape.”