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Hike 5/19 North Fork Sauk Tripleheader
Thursday, May 19, 8:00am - 5:00pm
4 miles, 700 feet elevation gain
Explore three overlooked gems of nature in a wild valley off the Mountain Loop Highway near Darrington. Red Mountain Lookout Point, site of a one-time fire lookout, sits on the hillside 700 feet above the valley with surprisingly sweet views of Sloan Peak and the Monte Cristo area. Harold Engels Memorial Cedars features a short trail to a jaw-dropping grove of huge ancient trees, and the North Fork Sauk Falls is an impressive large waterfall also reached by a short trail. A few short sections of some of the trails can be rough, particularly the falls trail.
Winter is very slowly releasing it's grip on parts of the Cascades, and conditions in many areas are more like March or April than May. But we should be able to reach the three destinations for this tripleheader hike. It's likely we'll encounter a few obstacles along the way, most likely in the form of tree blow downs that haven't yet been cleared. Expect a few wet, muddy, or slippery spots too, especially if the recent weather is wet. We'll do the longest hike first, to Red Mountain Overlook, which should take about 2 hours. The other trails, to the Cedars and the Falls, each take about 30-40 minutes. There are short drives between each of the three hikes.
Good traction hiking shoes or boots should be worn for these trails, and trekking poles may come in handy at times too. We'll probably have lunch at or near the van after doing our first of the three hikes, and since the hikes are all pretty short, you really don't need to carry much of a pack while on the trails. I plan to bring a small hand saw and some pruning shears to do a little cleaning up and clearing of debris in the aftermath of winter storms. It's not mandatory, but if any of you want to bring some leather gardening gloves, you can pitch in with helping to improve the trail conditions a little. It won't be any long and grueling work, I promise.