Backyard Adventures

Posted on October 24, 2014


“I’m Going for  a Walk”

That’s what I said to my friend Rita after she told  me that an entire shipment of stuff from the store had gotten smashed.  It seems like I can’t win right now. I decided to head off to a local river I had been wading last week, trying to figure out if Sea Runs ventured into it from the main stem, when I almost got funneled into a canyon that I didn’t even know was there. That was some scary stuff, not being sure I was going to be able to wade back upstream, and pretty damned sure I couldn’t go down. That day I got out of the river and couldn’t find a trail downstream, probably the surest sign it was a canyon – if it was fishable, there would be a trail. So I hiked back out, got in my car and drove along looking for where somebody would’ve gone back in downstream of said theorized canyon.

Clearly, a trail, right?

Clearly, a trail, right?

Because here are only 3 kinds of trails in the woods: mushroom hunting trails, fishing trails, and deer/elk trails. I saw this clever little entrance and took it, figuring it was either going to lead to the river, mushrooms, or both.

Completely obvious now, right?

Completely obvious now, right?

Which became that and then that became this.


At this point, I was pretty sure I was on a trail

This is not a fishing, mushrooming or elk trail! WTH? Pretty soon I’m into an entire network of incredibly well manicured trails. I mean mowed manicured. No blow down. A trail map.

Well, yeah I blocked off the road names…I mean I showed you what the trail head looked like, didn’t I? All I wanted to know was if I could get to the river which was a long way down. It looked like I could.
Hard to see in these photos but I was on top of a steep, tall bank. That river is roaring below me. I ran around for a while, but had my waders and stuff on and finally decided to go home. Today I went back. I cannot figure these trails out. They start on private land but definitely go to DNR land. They look mowed, about as long as my lawn, but there are no scrapes on the rocks from machines. I don’t see horse prints or mountain bike tracks, but it’s like a park in here. Somebody is going through serious effort to clear and maintain this DNR land. And then:

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven


The water is already colored up from logging.

This is like alphabet agency stuff. I mean serious construction. Stairs. Crushed rock trails built into the canyon wall. Finally, I make it to the river. There is furniture there.

And fishable water.
From there I decided to hike upstream following a little trail at the bottom of the canyon wall, right at the water’s edge. See now I know there are fish here, because only fisherman make these trails. It was kind of a trail walking along the stream. If the water was even a foot higher, I couldn’t do it. After a while that petered out into the canyon. It had been a slog, sometimes belly crawl to get to this point, So I decided to head out on an Elk track. Elks don’t make nice trails. They go right up the fall line.

You can see that trail, surely?

You can see that trail, surely?



200′ Straight from the water to here.

About 1/2 up I looked around and realized that it better be passable, because there was no way I was going to make it back down the 50 degree bank. And so up I went.
Look at that water, though. You know you have to fish it. Not because there may or may not be fish there, but because nobody else has figured that out.
The top view gives a slightly better idea of the steepness. When you look at how dense that foliage is and how hard it is to move just a few feet, the fact that somebody has cleared miles of this is really astounding.

“How do you find these places?”
“They find me.”

By now I had gotten the veritable poke in they eye with a sharp stick making taking any more shots pretty difficult. I had to set my diopter to some crazy setting to even see. At the top, I cut into another trail and followed it upstream, where I came to this.
That’s right, if I’m going to fish it, it better be soon, before they clear cut it. Look at this tree, right on the edge of the waterway.
There should be a law dammit! A very beautiful little tributary, by the way, that will become a muddy sluice in a few months. Better come back and get some more pictures of that, too, before it’s gone.
And right there, a reminder of the last time they logged this land. Those notches are where they put planks to stand on while they topped the tree.
A few years back, I wrote an article where we caught 12 species of fish within 12 miles of downtown Seattle. I got vilified for that, like I’d given up some big secret. But that kind of was the point: that you don’t need to go to Alaska or Tibet, you can find really cool things in your own neighborhood if you keep your spirit of adventure alive. This spot is probably less than 5 miles from my old house, yet I’m just now finding it. I never knew about the canyon, probably because access to the river is pretty restricted and this is the first access I’ve ever come across.  While I certainly want to throw a line in here, I’m more interested in coming back in better light with my B&W camera and adding a few shots to my From the Mountains to the Sea  series featuring these  hidden places in the Skykomish/Snoqualmie valley system that we all blow right by in our cars every day. Because although the wild places are still right there, they are getting fewer all the time, which makes days like today all that more valuable. Go have an adventure.

P.S. Who Are You and Where are You From?

Who is visiting me from the Ukraine?

WordPress gives me these awesome reports and I can see how people find me, where they live, how they found the blog, what pages they visited. I see people from Europe, Asia, South America, and I always wonder who they are. I would love to get comments from  you!