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Trip Report    

North Fork Sauk River

Fantastic weather for some quality time in an old-growth cathedral. Trilliums flowering along with the skunk cabbage. The trail is in better shape than the road(s) to access it. Mountain Loop Highway is CLOSED at 16.5 miles south of Darrington and the upaved stretch that is open has a lot of potholes. FS 49, which turns off of the MLH at 16 miles south of Darrington is in worse shape. There is a rock slide across the road at about 3 miles which is passable by cars with reasonable clearance. At 6 miles there is a major washout/rockslide/stream across the road that is only passable by very high clearance vehicles. Fortunately this is only 1/8 of a mile from the Sauk trailhead so we parked here and walked.

At about MP 1 on the trail there has been a rockslide and washout of the trail. Crossing the creek that runs across the trail here will be easier later in the season but is a bit tricky now. We made a crude bridge out of logs and rocks to get across. Farther on are several more places where rockslides have come down off the cliffs on the north side of the trail and swept across the trail in the woods, but the streams are much smaller and these are easy to get across. Bridge across the river to the Pilot Ridge trail is nowhere to be seen but may have been out for sometime. Surprisingly found a few snow patches along the trail in the more open areas but nothing dangerous or hard to negotiate.

If you like old-growth forest, this is a hike for you, the cedars and douglas fir trees are spectacular. Only got about 3 miles up the trail, what with stopping to learn about nature. Saw exactly two other people all day. Cloudy morning but cleared up about 11 am and were treated to a grand view of the west side of Sloan Peak on the hike out.

Mosquitoes were out in force.

When we got back to the cars, one of the participants made the trip leader espresso with a Bialetti on a backpacking stove!