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Monday, May 29, 2006

More Scenic Cleanup Pictures

I'd also like to reiterate Rick's comments! A big thanks goes out to everyone who helped! What a massive effort!

Here are some additional pictures from yesterday...

Ryan
















This last pic was taken by a member of a Seattle Hiking Group from across the mountain on the Iron Goat Trail. By coincedence, they captured our little bon fire!


If anyone would like a full res full size version of the pics, you can contact Rick who can get ahold of me directly....

Ryan

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Awesome Clean Up Party!!!!


What else can I say? You guys and gals were just absolutely awesome in your infectious enthusiasm and love of Scenic Hot Springs. What took 15 years to build, 2 days for the county deputies to tear down and leave a scar on the mountainside . . . what took months for silent volunteers working under threat of trespass arrest to clean up only to sit as an ugly reminder of disrespect . . . 32 brave and loving souls cleaned up in one day of really hard and dirty work. Thousands of pounds of rotting wood, wire, concrete, PVC pipes and garbage has been removed from the bench and either burned or sorted for eventual and proper disposal. I didn't think it could be done . . . not in one or even a couple of clean up parties. You proved me wrong. The lessening of stress in Mike is palpital . . . this is a major obstacle out of the way; well on it's way to resolving the original code enforcement action of 2001.

One of the rustic latrines being burned is kind of a symbol to the clean up of Scenic and a new rebirth arriving.

We met at the gate at 9:30 in the morning on a drizzly Saturday morning . . . Robert (The Naked Gourmet) was already there with coffee and good cheer for our blurry-eyed yawns. Everyone brought tools: hammers, shovels, claws and a good assortment of esoteric items . . . like a gasoline-powered saw that looked absolutely mean. Our agenda was going to be to tackle all that stored construction material on the bench above the springs and to remove the rotting fascia board and 4x4 piers remaining from the demolition debacle of Oct 2001.

A little bit of shameful history is needed here and I repeat it without speaking officially. After the raid and eviction of the soakers in 2001 by the King County Sheriff's deputies a little-known act of disrespect took place on that hillside when the county destroyed everything they could of the original pools and decking. It wasn't a carefully-thought out demolition . . . it turned out to be what many have called, an act of spite. It was wanton destruction and the deputies left the mess as it fell on the hillside . . . a blight. Over the following months former spring lovers snuck up onto the property and piece by piece did what they could to clean up the ugly mess left by the county. They placed that material on the bench above the springs as best they could . . . unable to do much more for the springs they cherished. There this material has sat for five years. Saturday we started the effort to finally get rid of what the county started. They destroyed the site . . . we have made a huge dent to clean it up!





The destruction committed in 2001 after the raid on Scenic.



Bear was to lead the group to sort through that material that had been sitting for five years and make the call . . . 'good' for saving, 'garbage' for the growing rubbish heap . . . or 'burn it' for the insatiable bonfire being stoked by the resident pyromaniac, Sushi Bob. There, the majority of volunteers formed a human chain that passed sometimes very heavy sections of wood, wire, pipes, buckets, concrete slabs, and assorted garbage to the sorting area above the springs. It was dirty and hard grunt work . . . and it was a joy to watch everybody enthusiastically pitching in without a grumble.

The sole remaining pool at Scenic is the Monster Tub. It survived the best attempts by hyperactive deputies with chainsaws and sledghammers in 2001 . . . and has survived the test of time on the mountainside implacable and stubborn as the holder of the hot springs waters to this day. It's thick concrete shell is as much a part of the mountain as is the bedrock to which it is firmly anchored. But weathered wooden posts and sills had to go. Dale had this formidable task. Clean up the pool and salvage as much of the shell as the basis of the new springs.

We had to trench into the mountainside around the tub to finally put a measure of erosion control in place . . . and then we had to tease and brute-force out the concrete-anchored posts and jutting sections of rebar. That's where the gas-powered saw came in and I firmly believe Dale relished holding that mean-looking instrument in his hands.

Erosion control around the Monster Tub


Yours truly, had the misfortune of standing on the edge of the pool prying on a recalcitrant section of slippery 4x4 when it gave. Clothed and all . . . I got the first soak of the day.

By 4:30 we had cleaned off the bench area and had everything sorted. Two bonfires going good and Robert finally getting around to feeding us all. Suddenly, half of us were in the pool and grabbing that much needed soak.



If the pool wasn't dirty before from all the dirt we couldn't avoid falling in . . . it was after a couple of dozen soakers crammed in and let the soothing waters wash away the aches. Scenic is magical.

Much needs yet to be done and I hope our tireless volunteers will join us again as we improve the trails, manage to get an ATV up there to remove the trash . . . and then start the reconstruction of legal soaking pools.

Thank you so much to the volunteers who made this clean up so highly successful. You are indeed awesome and wonderful people!

Rick, echoing the sentiments of Mike (who is very grateful) as well as Bear and Dale.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Spring Thaw Conditions at Scenic

An idiot tried to drive off the BPA road and onto the second foot bypass trail sometime soon after the gate was broken open this week.


The Flicker photos set is posted here

I went up to Scenic Hot Springs today and found the gate still wide open. I did not see any of the locks nor the tang the locks were attached to. There was one car parked there and evidence of tire tracks of a narrower width than your truck (and fresh tracks) headed up the road. At the base of the lock post were several large caliber cartridges and pieces of metal that looked like they came from a lock. The assumption is that someone shot the lock off. I hiked on up after closing the gate and securing it with a piece of wood through the tang.

At the beginning of the BPA clearcut there were plenty of deep-tread 'mud/snow' tire tracks around. Certainly not your truck which has different tread. There were no vehicles further inside. That this was someone being stupid was shown by an off-road vehicle trying to drive up the narrow trail of the second bypass (tire tracks go up about 15 feet.). It's difficult to say whether they went any further
on up the BPA road, though there are a lot of tire tracks most of the way up.

Meadows creek is running very strong on both the trail and the BPA road. On the BPA road it is spalling the road surface and creating a second cut. The other creeks seem at the levels expected for spring runoff.

On the trail, there are several areas where the trail edge is sloughing on the downhill side . . . just before the Muddy Creek crossing (old trail and large stump). The log water bars are doing their job. A few leak underneath and I corrected water flows where needed. Rock alley is running pretty strong but should subside when the snow above is finally melted. Above rock alley, the springs near
the switchback are flowing strong. The waterbar below it is handling the flow and creating a new channel downslope.

There are still patches of snow a foot or more deep above the switchback. The flat area is still snow covered on up to the firering above the springs. There is earth slippage and sloughing on the trail right above the Bear Den spring sources. Also, the wooden retaining structure has dissembled and only remains upright (and at a cant) by the guy wires to the trees upslope.

Above the Lobster Spring sources there has been earth slippage by several trees and boulders that really concern me. There is another large granite boulder exposed that is perched precariously like the one Bob broke in half.

The bench area to the east of the pool is clear of snow and you can easily get to the construction stockpiles there. The pool, itself is in terrible shape and in need of scrubbing. Lobster Springs are running three to four times normal volume and cold (55F). These springs have been diverted away from the pool. We need to figure out the proper route to divert these springs when they run cold. Lots of
erosion going on.

Bear Den springs are both running hot (east at 102F, west at 103F) . . . the inlet tube at the pool at just over 100F. The water in the pool is filthy and green . . . warm but not getting enough recharge from Bear Den alone.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Scenic Area Graphic for Volunteers

Remember, unless you are invited or already have the express permission of the owner, Scenic Hot Springs is on Private Property. Permits and negotiations are difficult enough without dealing with troublemakers at the springs.

This graphic should give the volunteers in the upcoming clean-up event enough information to orient themselves and find alternate parking arrangements if necessary.

Rick

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cleanup at Austin and Bagby Hot Springs May 20th

Note: NWForests.org has been a staunch supporter of Mike's efforts at Scenic as Mike has supported efforts to get Austin Hot Springs available to the public once again. If you find yourself in the Portland area . . . or just need an excuse to go down there, this is a worthy project. Bagby is a fine hot spring, and a chance to visit Austin does not comes often. Rick

From Ron at NwForests.org . . .

Hi all, on May 20th there will be an organized clean up up both Bagby and Austin Hot Springs, and the road and rivers in between.

It's a big undertaking, and we could use all the help we can get.

This might be the first organized group/public cleanup allowed by the Forest Service at Bagby since the Friends of Bagby days. All I know for sure is that there's a ton of stuff that needs to be picked up under the bath house.

We're not just cleaning things up. We'll be planting trees and pulling out weeds too.

Sign in is at 9am at the Estacada Ranger Station. Here's the link to the flier: http://www.nwforests.org/AUSTINFLYER

If you plan on going please let me know so I can buy you lunch. We'll be having a bbq after the cleanup.

Regards to one and all.

Ron
ron@nwforests.org

Clean Up Party on May 27th, 2006

There has been a lot of activity in dealing with the State and County departments during the winter and spring months. Among the things we've accomplished are a tentative understanding with the Health Department, an onsite evaluation for 'critical slopes' and 'wetland area' that went smoothly and a legal securing of the historic water rights to the hot springs. The concept for a re-born Scenic Hot Springs is getting closer and closer . . . thanks to the efforts of many wonderful people who have gone out of their way to prove beyond a doubt that Scenic Hot Springs has historical precedent.

Now that the snows are finally melting and the weather cooperating, it is time to turn our attention to one thorn in the county's side . . . namely all that construction material that was carried up to the spring site during the 90's and which sits there like an eyesore. To clear up the Oct 2001 Code Enforcement Action that resulted in Scenic being closed 4 1/2 years ago, removal of the construction debris is high on the county's list. We plan on making a major dent in it this month.

A clean up party is scheduled for the 27th of May (a Saturday) at 9:30AM. The plan is to meet at the gate and proceed on up from there. A limited number of vehicles will proceed further on up (depending on the condition of the road).

Tentative plans are to sort the material and burn the unusable (if a burn permit can be secured), save the good pieces for future construction (shower, latrine, stairs, etc.), and remove most everything else down to the lower area where a truck can pick up for disposal.

Afterwards, we will enjoy a soak and if lucky, a meal from Robert (The Naked Gourmet).

Keep the weather in mind. I plan to wear as little as possible.

  • Wear study boots (sneakers are not appropriate),
  • Have a good pair of work gloves
  • Bring appropriate clothing for the weather, practice layering
  • Bring plenty of water, especially if it is hot. There is no water available on site
  • Leave a change of clothes in your car or vehicle in case you get soaked
  • Snacks, what ever you like, but high carb is good; think about planning for a picnic lunch as I do; and think about something to share
  • Bring a towel for after the soak . . . no good hiking down the mountain wet!
  • A few band aids in your pocket. I will have a full-size first aid kit in my pack.

Ideas:

If I receive a good response, how about setting up group objectives like . . .

  1. A pool cleaning group to really refurbish the tub in advance for our long-awaited soak and sore muscles
  2. A BBQ team . . . hot dogs anyone? I have an easily toted portable grill . . . ideas? Let's not forget the marshmallows again this year . . . a bonfire just begs for marshmallows.
  3. The main grunt team (most of us) for the physically-able to move that material and sort through it

I think that covers it . . . the work, the food and the soak. I'm open to others . . .


Since the parking area before the gate can only accommodate about 6-7 cars, and the status of the road is unknown for 2-wd higher up, we will probably need to park the majority down near the railway tracks and ferry people up. Let me know of you capabilities in that regard.

I'll pass on other information as it becomes needed . . . just a heads up. Those that can make it, RSVP me. If you don't want to receive these notifications in the future, also please let me know.

Thanks in advance and see you at the gate on the 27th.

Rick