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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 13:11:47 02/12/17

In Reply to: HELLOOOOOOO!!!!!!! posted by Skeets


Always good to see an old friend. I hope you have recovered from whatever post-Super Bowl celebratory hangover you may have experienced!

I'm still playing the role of "human icicle" in Alaska (temporarily), so I will not be able to join you, but I do have a few thoughts regarding your plan.

I have been out along the Gneiss Creek trail several times over the years, but have not taken the old Cougar Creek trail, which is now in "unmaintained" status. Much of this area burned in the North Fork Fire in 1988. I have not seen a finely detailed map of the fire footprint, although I went looking for one. The maps that I did find, give me the impression that the Maple Fire probably burned in much of the area the trail traverses on its south end. I think once you get over that initial ridge that you traverse from Seven Mile Bridge, heading west, you will soon encounter new burn. The last time I was out there was around 2004 or 2005 if I remember correctly. There was already new growth just over that ridge that was as high as 10-15 feet. (I know you have your combat patch for negotiating new growth, and the video to prove it. LOL)

I would not discourage you from heading out there. Just be prepared for the possibility that trail crews may or may not have gotten out there by early June to clear the main trail. It is possible they may have gotten a jump on that back in September or October, but I would not bank on it. I have not heard about the Cougar Creek Patrol Cabin having burned, so it is tempting to assume that it survived the fire. The NPS does typically take measures to protect those structures in the face of wildfire.

Even if much of the area looks like a charred wasteland, you are likely to see the beginning of what should be an impressive (and very photogenic) wildlfower display by mid to late June. It might be worth delaying this hike until Monday, June 5, (or Sunday, June 4, if you find some locals or visiting Loons interesting in accompanying you) just to maximize the floral display.

If you get blocked from heading up to the cabin, don't be bashful about heading down the Gneiss Creek trail. It is wide open country, and there isn't much the Maple Fire could have done to complicate travel through there. Be prepared for walking through a few minor wet spots, nothing real scary.

The one request I have is that if you get out there and find a major wildflower bloom, you share some of your photos with us.

Happy hiking!


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