Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Flooding, Rivers and Hot Springs Alerts

This seasons wicked rain storms and the resultant flooding of rivers warrants caution if you plan on visiting a hot spring.

Goldmyer Hot Springs: To reach Goldmyer Hot Springs you have to ford the Snoqualmie River. Normally this is a thigh-deep ford. I would gamble that any attempt to ford the river near the hot springs is a death trap. There is a footbridge further up the river but I am uncertain of it's condition with these river levels. The Snoqualmie is running at record levels and doing all sorts of flooding downstream. I haven't heard anything on the condition of the Middle Fork Road but minor rains last year caused a lot of sinkhole problems. I expect they will be repeated this year. Check with the Goldmyer web site (or call (206) 789-5631) to get the latest updates on Goldmyer HS. Update Nov 10th, 2006: FS 56 Mid Fork Snoqualmie: flood damage at milepost 15

Olympic Hot Springs: Snow just about at the hot springs level. Olympic Hot Springs Road is closed at the Elwha entrance station due to flooding. Call the Port Angeles Visitor Center for updated information: Visitor Information Recorded Message (360) 565-3131, Option #1, Road Conditions.

Baker Hot Springs: No information but rains were heavy to the east of Bellingham. Expect damage to the Forest Services roads.

Scenic Hot Springs: Closed/Private Property. Snow above 3,000 ft. Rock slide hazards because of water saturation, springs running cold due to the amount of rainfall.

To give you an idea of how bad the rivers are . . . the Skagit River is running over 120,000 cubic feet per second, while the mighty Columbia River averages about 100,000 cubic feet per second. That kind of puts it in perspective.

fficials of the Mount Baker Snoqualmie and Olympic National Forests urged visitors to stay away over the next 3 days. Most areas of Mount Rainier National Park, including SR123 at Cayuse Pass, are now closed. The North Cascades Highway, the Mount Baker Highway east of Glacier, and the Mountain Loop Highway were all closed. For updates on road closures and breaking flood information, visit KING-5's flood news wire (registration required) or WSDOT traffic advisory site here. NOAA flood warnings are here.

Oregon has also received a large amount of rainfall. The Clackamas will be swift and raging. Austin (which is posted Private Property) is not accessible. In any case, the source of Austin Hot Springs is within the river bed. You'd be a fool to risk wading out into a flooding Cowlitz to rebuild a soaking pool at this time. Likewise, Bagby HS may be a no go due to road flooding and rockfall hazards.

Finally . . . on the local news tonight. The Coast Guard is in the process of rescuing thousands of hunters stranded in the national forest near Randle because of this storm. I had no idea there were so many people running around with guns in such a small area of the National Forest. Gives me the willies to think about hiking nude with that many hunters around.

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