At our September 20 work party we had a beautiful day with very many people hiking in to the townsite and also up to Gothic Basin before seasonal rains returned. We checked for vandalism in the town, finished improving the start of the Gothic Basin trail, and brushed out the E&MC Railway grade trail from Barlow Pass down to its intersection with the Mt. Loop Highway. This was maintenance of the work we had begun several years ago. Thanks to everyone who turned out!
Construction of the bypass road from Mowich to Monte Cristo for the hazmat cleanup was interrupted the middle of the month by a lack of materials. It was scheduled to resume shortly with the goal of completion later this fall. If the route is passable for authorized motor vehicles by the 18th of October we hope to be able to drive in for our last work party of the season and before the scheduled year-long closure. If we have this opportunity we plan on cleaning up around the campground and toilet areas, along with cutting as much brush as time allows on Dumas Street and around the turntable. Otherwise, we may not be back until some time in 2016.
Because of the uncertainty of access these past few weeks we did not have a group picnic, but we are hoping to schedule some productive and enjoyable events for this coming year. Those will start with our popular annual Winter Social the first Saturday in February. Watch this space and your newsletter mail box for further information!
Hiking conditions into town have been excellent recently. If you are planning an outing in the near future be sure to check weather and river forecasts as the rainy season begins. Barlow Pass is at 2360′ elevation, with the townsite area around 2800′-3000′, roughly the height of Snoqualmie Pass. From Barlow to the town is an easy hike save for crossing the river, with a distance of eight miles round trip. There is no covered shelter at the Monte Cristo campground, as it burned down and has not been rebuilt. Carry your own drinking water. Due to construction, the new access road is not open to the public and will create a 10-mile round trip with noticeably more elevation gain and loss when it is. The future of the current route is unknown.