Sauk River

June 24, 2006

This time I did some exploration around Darrington, WA.

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The access road was washed out. The long and dry summer of 2003 ended with a record setting flood event.

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White Chuck, a combination of Chinook and English, means glacial white water. Conservationists have been trying to protect the White Chuck River and surrounding forest lands since 1927.

Plan B was driving the Mountain Loop Highway towards Granite Falls. Due to the flood damage from 2003 the road was also closed.

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So I ended doing a short walk to Sauk River. On my way I saw the remants of a giang Western Red Cedar. This one had a diameter of 15 ft (4.5 m).

This area was heavily logged in the 1930s.

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The Sauk River is federally protected as a Wild and Scenic river system and the pristine mountain scenery and wildlife surrounding the area is untamed. The water itself is a combination of snowpack and glacial melt, making for a beautiful green hue.

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Since 1971, the White Chuck Glacier (Glacier Peak) shrank from 3.1 km2 in 1958 to 0.9 km2 in 2002. With the shrinking of the glaciers, summer glacial runoff has been reduced by 65 to 80%. This reduces stream and river flow and sediment and increases their temperature. Salmon and many other species are adversely affected by such changes.

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Time for Plan C. A short hike on the north fork of Stillaguamish River.

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After turning north on Swede Heaven Road (387th NE) and crossing the river, I turned right on the first logging road angling upward. At one point I arrived to one junction and without coordinates and a decent map I was completely lost. Time to call it for the day.

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How to get there

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Driving distance from Vancouver: 225 km (140.5 mi)