Trail Work and Hiking at Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Early Monday morning we, the interns, piled into cars to drive up to Denny Creek10522754_1455928201329377_1582051132992096586_n in Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest (MSNF). After a groggy shopping stop in North Bend, we arrived at the Franklin Falls trailhead. There we met Marta, a former telephone company employee who after retirement joined the Forest Service and now leads trail work parties. Marta instructed us on how to use a totter (mechanical wheelbarrow) since we were spreading gravel along the trail.  We worked with a Student Conservation Association high school trail crew to fill the totter and   buckets with gravel. When the gravel was dumped on the trail we raked it out which was surprisingly tiring. We ate lunch on a rock overlooking the river which only became a problem when a plastic cap fell in. Luckily we were able to save it with some quick maneuvering. After lunch we continued with the gravel work but took turns removing roots from the trail. I find trail work very gratifying since it’s easy to see the progress I’ve made.

We had the opportunity to chat with Erica Keene who is the youth coordinator for the MSNF (she coordinated our visit). She explained that her job is a combination of organizing group visits and helping youth with applications for federal jobs. Her tips for navigating usajobs.gov (the federal employment application site) should prove useful. Apparently federal resumes are quite different than other resumes as they are supposed to rely heavily on detail and narrative.10527363_1455927414662789_121685373331085095_n

In the afternoon, after we finished working on the trail, we hiked up it to Franklin Falls. The trail follows the river up the valley to the falls. Although I-90 is visible from the falls, the view is still quite impressive. The water was very chilly but I still managed to immerse myself. Sitting around our campfire was the highlight of my evening. We cooked hotdogs and foil veggies which were very delicious although I’m not sure if they were actually that good or if I was hungry from our day of work.

The next day we hiked up to Lake Melakwa, the hike that Sophie wrote about a couple of weeks ago. It was a very warm day but we were able to power up the steep talus slopes. We saw some spiral trees which made me remember that

I’d learned that the ratio of right spiraled trees to left spiraled trees is the same as the ratio of right handed people to left handed people. After doing a bit of research on the internet, I’m not entirely convinced of the verity of that fact. Nonetheless it was quite amusing when 10538552_1455928437996020_8299095831122926998_n
Natasha queried as to whether left spiraled trees are more creative.

The lake was freezing (or very close to it) but I was warm enough to not care. We ate a late lunch at the lake then headed back down the trail. After a rather uneventful hike down, aside from spotting an interesting blue bug, we reached the trail head and traveled back to Seattle.

Sarah, SCA intern

Transport – Take I-90 E and get off at Exit 47 – Take NF 5800 to FS 5830 – Turn left onto Asahel Curtis Rd/NF-55 – Turn right onto NF 9034 – Take 1st left onto NF-5800 – Turn left onto FS 5830 – Campsite will be on the left – 45 min-1 hr 

Cost – $20/night for single campsite or $35/night for group site (camping) – Reserve here, Need Northwest Forest Pass for parking at trailhead

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