Skip to main content

Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River Road to be "Fixed"

In the past I owned a Land Rover, and I did not just putter around town and do shopping with it. I actually took it up into the mountains during blizzards to go skiing, and I took it on National Forest Service "roads" (read: muddy, goat tracks) with like-minded friends. The greatest of these roads was The Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River Road.

The Middle Fork started off easily enough. The first bit is paved and passes perfect houses with perfect yards. That part ends very quickly, however, as the road dives into the forest. During the Spring snow melt, the river is a class 5 rapids, and the many sections of the road hang precariously to the side of a cliff. The road is often narrow, unhelpfully slanted towards the perilous drop, muddy, rutted, and slick. The "shoulders" of the road are best measured in inches, where they exist at all. There are no guard rails. If you go off the road, your best hope is that you will crash into a tree and stop before you land in the river. Ruined carcasses of cars that were not so lucky can be seen here and there.

For variety, the road includes steep, one lane (really 3/4th of one lane), rocky, steep, narrow, steep hill climbs, as well as bottomless mud pits, washouts, blackberry patches that can swallow a truck whole (saw this), potholes that can stop a Jeep dead (we saw this, too), and finally - The Mother Of All Mosquito Bogs.

So why on Earth would people drive down such a terrible road? We, and many others, drove it because it was Epic. Beautiful, untamed forest with a wild river running through it, and us trying not to die, crash, or snap an axle. You were beyond cell phone coverage, a long way to the nearest help, and you had to have your wits about you and really drive that road.

Now that I have a 4x4 truck again, I thought that I would drive the family out to see this incredible place - but it is closed. If you read the DOT list of reasons for closing the road you will see all of the reasons why we went there in the first place. They are trying to put together a project to widen the narrow spots, add shoulders and other safety improvements, and probably remove the mud pits, too.

If the DOT finishes the project then I am sure that the road will be much better. I probably won't find German tourists upside down in a blackberry patch in a rented 4Runner any more, but the road will probably lose most of its wildness. I feel kind of sad about that.


Popular posts from this blog

Reducing CO2 in your home the nerd way

For Christmas my wife gave me a Netatmo weather station because I am a home weather station nerd. The Netatmo is very cool, but it has an unexpected feature: it measures indoor Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels. As soon as I set it up, the Netatmo began to alert that our indoor CO2 was at an unsafe level. The notes said that outdoor CO2 is usually around 400 ppm, and numbers above 1500 ppm could be unhealthy. On that first day, my house was at around 1300 ppm. Prior to that, I never gave indoor CO2 levels a thought. I began to do some research and discovered high levels of CO2 can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties, strained eyes and itchy skin.  My family does have all of these issues, especially on the weekends when we are home all day, but I never connected that to indoor air quality. Previously, I installed a Nest thermostat . The Nest is very smart and saves energy by learning your habits and programming itself. Unfortunately, it is so efficient, that t

Global Entry - The TSA Trusted Traveler Program - or - How to Go In The Short Line At The Airport Security

Ever since September 11th, 2001, flying has been a hassle. With each failed attempt to smuggle explosives on an airplane, the TSA makes us get more undressed at airport security. In fact, for really early morning flights, we should probably all just show up in our jammies and then get dressed once we are through the scanner because currently we get up, get dressed, go to the airport, get half undressed, go through security, and then get dressed again. For quite some time, people have been asking the TSA so implement some kind of pre-screening program where travelers could have a background check in advance, and then be allowed to go in a shorter line. That day is finally here, and the TSA is now rolling out a Trusted Traveler Program known as Global Entry . In a nutshell, you pay $100, fill out some online forms, go in for an interview, present your proof of ID, and get fingerprinted and photographed. Yes, it sounds like some red tape, but then, every time you make an airline reser

How To Make School Lunches More Nutritious: Re-Define Words

If you are a parent of a child who attends public school in Washington, and if you have even a vague recollection of the food pyramid , you probably will have noticed that the lunches that are served in school cafeterias are frequently at odds with the rules of good nutrition. The school is not wrong, however. They have just re-defined words and you are not keeping up. Pop quiz:  Cheese belongs to what food group? *bzzz* - wrong. You said that cheese was in the diary food group , right? No! Pbth! How boringly accurate of you. Cheese magically transforms into a protein when it is served on pizza or in a bread stick! I know that you may be dubious, but I contacted Wendy Barkley, RD,  who is the Acting Supervisor of School Nutrition Programs in the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and she assured me that it is so. To quote her email to me: " Pizza remains an option for schools for their menus.  The cheese on pizza is counted as a protein in t