This past Saturday's clean up party went very well with five volunteers responding to enjoy the fresh air, great views and sun on the slopes of Scenic Hot Springs.
We gathered beyond the gate in the traditional parking area of the clearcut from the old days. And there we set about for the hike up with the supplies we might need for the clean-up. Perfect day for enjoying nudity as the skies had finally cleared and the sun was not being too brutal. After the camping trip before and the mild case of sunburn it was prudent to at least use the spray bottle of suntan oil this time instead of leaving it unused in the car. Then it was off for ten full hours of freedom and enjoyment in the sun. I didn't even bother to pack any shorts or teeshirt with me. The day was going to be a great day. Before heading on up I spotted my reflection in the side window of my car and just couldn't resist seeing if it would capture as an image. I rather like the result. Then it was off up the slopes with a heavy sports bag (I'm guessing 60-80 lbs) of tools and supplies.
|Reflection in my car window: you never know when a photo-op|
is about to happen. The sun angle was just perfect for this image.
|Tools and supplies too bulky for my backpack, I had to tote the|
weight up in a sports bag
Vandals had done a great deal of damage earlier in the week, and while the rest went up to the main springs with ideas on what we might accomplish, I set to work removing the destroyed Honor Box down near the trailhead.
|Vandals attempting to break into the Honor Box|
Though they destroyed the Honor Box beyond repair (this is the second time they have done so), all they succeeded in doing is to force the door inward and trapping the insides behind the heavy door. If there had been anything of value in the box (there wasn't because it had been checked hours before this happened), there would have been no way of getting at them . . . the door was thoroughly wedged in. The main reason I needed to get in (besides removing it) was because I'd stored a box of deck screws in there for future maintenance up at Scenic . . . such as today. With the keys to retract the undamaged bolts and a little bit of sweat I managed to open the door the proper way and get at my supplies. I removed the honor box to take off site later. It will be replaced.
These same vandals also went to great efforts to scale the trees nearby and steal the two new trail cams to hide their activities. This crime has been reported to King County with an active case number.
|A Bench for sitting and holding belongings|
Up at the main springs, the clean-up participants were already going through and seeing what kind of materials were available. I'd already mentioned that a bench for visitors to sit upon or store their belongings off the ground would be a nice amenity. The problem with any work party up at Scenic is that there is a fine line between maintaining the status of the hot springs versus "improving" the hot springs. Improving and expanding the construction up at Scenic is what got it into trouble back in 2001 . . . and the resulting closure. Matt and myself had already decided that a simple bench was no more than maintaining the status of the springs . . . preventing it from going into disrepair. It was a minor amenity that did not increase the footprint of the existing construction. On that basis, we decided to go ahead.
Of course, doing anything in the wilderness is an exercise in planning and patience. I'd man-carried a simple pull saw, a hammer, a tape measure, my cordless driver and the retrieved deck screws (plus some other materials). That was all we had to work with. We had to bolster the support of the railing and somehow keep everything on the level. The tape measure got a lot of use . . . as well as the old adage about measuring twice and cutting once. We had to think the progress of the bench out. The leaders . . . those who had some idea of what they were doing . . . soon stepped to the forefront (lol, not me . . . I just let them know what I wanted and then welded the hammer where I was told to strike).
Originally, I had envisioned some sort of roof or cap over the bench in order to provide some cover and protection from rain and snow during the wetter months. That is the reason for the two uprights that you see in the image. However, we are rethinking that one in relation to wind and snow loads on the structure. They are there as a basis should we decide to continue in the future. In the end it took us almost six hours to put together the finished bench. Then it was time to actually enjoy using it and soaking in the hot springs.
|A tempering feed has been added|
During the last work party we carted hundreds of pounds of sand up the mountainside to repair the damage someone had done to the Bear Den spring sources. The result of those repairs was that Bear Den now runs a couple of degrees hotter than it normally does. And a consequence of hotter pool temperatures is that it is not as enjoyable in the hot summer months as it traditionally would have been.
A week earlier I had tapped into a small, tepid spring to bring some cooling water down. With a little bit of cooling water running into the pool, Bear Den is actually very nice, even on a hot summer day. Lobster Pot, of course, remains scalding hot and I would never change that as many actually like the experience . . . and the cooling off (somewhat) in Bear Den later.
The tempering feed is not very vigorous and I've set the tubing to allow use or not . . placing the outlet on the center board when not in use. This feed is the runoff that we have seen running down the slope from above the springs . . . which was also a result of someone playing with the spring sources without authorization or permission.. Now, instead of eroding the slope above, it is controlled and of use in dropping the temperature of the pool just enough.
The final touches of this clean-up party was removal of some of the Styrofoam and wire netting debris from the upper area to the lower staging area for later disposal. Thank you to each of the participants and you will get credit toward future passes.
Yours truly enjoyed the whole day clothes-free. One other did join in hiking back down from the springs au' natural . . . but there is a lesson in this. When you take off your clothes to do a one-way nude hike . . . please remember where you placed your clothes . . . or at least bring them with you! He had to hike all the way back up to the springs once he realized he had left them behind. And that was a chuckle for the rest of us. Don't worry, I won't reveal who suffered this faux pas . . . your identity is safe with me.