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Old 04-28-2015, 04:07 PM   #1
snowbear
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Default 4/25/2015 Squaw Creek

We headed out during great weather Saturday morning. We got to Eureka about 11am. After looking at the road it was clear that we wouldn't get the TV into the trailhead so we went back to the road side pull out just south of the old Gunsight mountain lodge. From there it's only about 3-4 miles to the trailhead.

The trail was a breeze. While the trail is on the south side of the mountain and most all the snow is gone from the woods all the nasty holes were still covered in snow and ice. As we expected Squaw creek was a mass of overflow. The last 2 miles of the trail are in the creek bottom and the overflow is impressive.

The main creek bed is only 20-30' wide but the overflow is hundreds of feet across and crazy thick. There is one spot along a cut bank that is every bit of 10' above the water where we drove right off the creek and onto the shore. It would have been 2 miles of serious pucker factor if we didn't have any idea where the summer trail is compared to the creek channel.

The first cabin a few miles in is gone. I figured the State had removed it. It was coincidence that the DNR director responsible for cabins called as we were pulling in the driveway. He says it wasn't them but he will double check. I was very disappointed to see it gone. It saved my a$$ one night when I was bringing a moose out on my ATV solo. But that's another story.

We got our destination, one of Miner Marks cabins and moved in. Over the weekend we hiked and scouted close to 20 miles. The most impressive part was Bitter Creek drainage. No exaggeration the over flow is 15-20' thick and the hike up was truly awesome. 700' of elevation gain and it was just a slow gentle walk uphill. Summer time it's a bolder infested, brush busting miserable climb up a creek that is about 3' wide. Near tree line the ptarmigan were thick and the dog wore herself out chasing them from one side to the other.

Sadly we didn't see any bears. Lots of tracks but no sightings. We did jump a small heard of caribou on Caribou creek of all places. I've never seen a heard in that area. They were large healthy critters that looked to still have lots of fat left on them.

We didn't have anywhere to be so we stayed an extra night. I would have stayed more but I am not fond of living on MREs and we only had enough fresh food for two days. We woke Monday to snow. It wasn't sticking were we were, 2100' elevation, but it turned the mountains white.

The trip out, up the creek, was dicey. Amazing how fast the ice rots after a couple days of sunshine. Probably a dozen places we dropped thru the first layer. It's not bad when the whole front goes down at once, it's when one tire goes thru I pucker up. There were a couple times when the whole rig dropped in and we were hanging up on big blocks of ice. Fortunately we never found a channel and always had good solid ice under the tires so it was just a matter of beating our way thru.

It was a great trip and I wish I was still out there. After two days I just start to get used to being disconnected.

Pictures to follow later.
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Old 04-28-2015, 04:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: 4/25/2015 Squaw Creek

Trail map



Gunsight Mountain





Sheep Mountain (north side) with Caribou Creek in foreground



Fortress Ridge



Cozy cabin



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Old 04-28-2015, 05:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: 4/25/2015 Squaw Creek

Squaw Creek





Overflow dam looking downstream



looking upstream from around the corner



Trail shots





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Old 04-28-2015, 05:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: 4/25/2015 Squaw Creek

My next project ?

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Old 04-29-2015, 11:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: 4/25/2015 Squaw Creek

Was that overflow (aufeis) still freezing fresh it looks like in the pictures? Thats likely some of the thicker aufeis on the planet from what im told. In mongolia they purposely pump out water on a river in the winter so that the ice hangs around all summer and cools the valley by a couple degrees over the entire summer.
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: 4/25/2015 Squaw Creek

I'm sure it's done building. The snow melt plus the creek flow are quickly cutting it up. It might be the way the sun is melting it that makes it look fresh
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Old 04-30-2015, 09:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: 4/25/2015 Squaw Creek

Scott:
Did you come out on the same trail you went in where that old truck is ?
Was wondering if you made the circle around the mountain where there are some steep hill trails to get out, if the snow was gone enough to pass over those hills.
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Old 04-30-2015, 10:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: 4/25/2015 Squaw Creek

Hey Patrick, yeah same trail in and out. We did not attempt the Pass. My experience from riding snogos over it is that there is too much water/ice build up on the trail to make the climbs. One is right outa Caribou Creek. Went over the edge one year and spent hours getting the machine back up onto the trail.
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