Thursday, January 4, 2007

Goldmyer Hot Springs Jan 2nd, 2007 Access Update

From: Beth

Happy New Year!

Please note that this time of year-- November thru mid to late January, weather in the Middle Fork Valley is very inconsistant and can change quickly. This results in varying road and river conditions. It is not humanly possible for the Goldmyer office to tell you exactly what to expect. Go prepared for wet and/or winter-snow conditions, and don't forget your flashlights and common sense!!!!! Get an early start, as it might take you longer than you expect to arrive at Goldmyer! Use only high clearance vehicles.

/>Varying possible access conditions, and things to think about:

1) Flooding and road washouts resulting from heavy rainfall and/or snowmelt.

2) Trees down across the road.

3) Snow and/or ice. Note that Goldmyer is at 2000 ft. elevation. (tire chains are a good idea even if you have 4-wl. drive!)

4) The river may, or may not, be low enough to walk through at the traditional fording site. The river can rise rapidly. If it's raining during your visit to Goldmyer, the river could be higher on your way out compared to what it was on your way in!

5) Know how to find the (correct) Snoq. Middle Fork River footbridge alternative, and be willing to use it. The only access to Goldmyer that does not require fording any non-bridged river or stream crossings is the upper trailhead #1003, located 2-3/4 miles beyond the tradition river fording stop. This trailhead is at 3000 ft. elevation. Vehicle access to this trailhead can be limited during the winter-snow because of it's elevation. This trail is 3 miles long, and be aware that it's route is not 'blazed' for snow-covered locating.

6) There is also access to a footbridge crossing the Snoq. Middle Fork River from the Dingford Creek Trailhead. Access to the Goldmyer property via this (5mile long) trail is limited during high water conditions because there are a number of non-bridged creeks and one non-bridged smallish river (Burntboot Creek) in route.

/>Note: the (USGS) river gauge that you can link to from the Goldmyer web-site is located 20-some river miles, and about 1000 ft. elevation, below Goldmyer. This means that during the times of year (late fall thru June-ish) when snowline-snowmelt factors in, it can not directly and accurately reflect what the river is doing up by Goldmyer. The gauge information is useful to see general trends, but do not count on it for exact conditions.

/>Note: for snowline forecasting, refer to the Washington Department of Transportation's Central Cascades- Snoqualmie Pass website. They have a 5-day forecast that is very useful. Goldmyer is at 2000 ft. elevation. Snow level conditions in the upper Middle Fork Valley can vary some from this forecasting model, but it's as close as you can get.

/>As of January 3, 2007: After a spectacular cold and dry New Year's weekend at Goldmyer, with about 7-8 inches of snow at the hotsprings and a close to full moon sparkling off the snow covered trees and forest floor, we are now coming out of a 'mini pineapple express' that sent the snowline up to 6000 feet on Tuesday, and caused the river to rise quite a bit. The snowline is supposed to lower again as this week progresses. There's still some snow at Goldmyer, which will be 'firming-up' again as the weather cools down, with new snow arriving as the snowline lowers to below 2000 feet. Currently there isn't enough snow to claim 'quality' snowshoeing or xx-skiing conditions, unless you continue up the road to the upper footbridge access (read info about this route above).

/>Go prepared and don't forget your common sense! There are usually spaces avaliable this time of year for visitors arriving without a reservation: with cash in hand, arriving during our hours for check-in (8am to 10pm), willing to follow the use rules, and know how to find the place. But.... it's a good idea to call the office ahead of time for week-end days to double check on avaliability. Office hours are Tuesdays 1 till 6pm, and Fridays 3 till 8pm. If you leave a message for a return call, be sure to speak clearly, include your area code(s) with your phone number(s), and be avaliable at that number during office hours for a call-back. If you've never been to Goldmyer before, or only visited during the summer/early fall, it is highly recommended that you call the office to help you prepare for a visit. Happy soaking!

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