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Trip Report    

Day Hike - Duckabush River

This trip was up the first part of the Duckabush Trail in the pouring rain.

  • Road rough but passable
  • When it has been raining hard, there are deep puddles on the trail that cannot be negotiated in hiking boots (see report below). These puddles cannot be drained by the usual trail work methods.

After a bone-jarring trip through the potholes of the Duckabush Road, five intrepid ladies started up the trail in the pouring rain. The first part of the trail is very well drained, which allowed us to look up and around as well as down, enjoying the mosses and contrasting greens of the rainforest.  We came over the rise of Little Hump and began the stretch of trail that is down close to river level.  The rain, which had probably come down all the night before and into the morning, made a swamp of the trail in many places. (The whole stretch had been dry during the previous week's scouting trip.) The puddles were too deep to walk through in hiking boots, forcing us onto the vegetation on the margins.

We were very close to a site we wanted to inspect as a possible camp for a beginners backpack trip, so there was some urge to keep going.  But several of the group began to think about the trail damage we were causing. We also noted (especially the trail expert among us) that there was no way to drain these puddles, given the terrain; repair would involve hauling in a lot of rock and gravel, which is probably not in any Forest Service budget.  After soul-searching and discussion, we decided to retreat, thus covering only about 5 miles. On the way back, we met some incoming hikers and did a little bit of gentle "teachable moment" work about the condition of the trail (it didn't take). Of course, as we approached the trailhead, the pouring rain abated and was over completely by the time we got back to the parking lot.