In a nutshell, the snow is melting but there is still plenty of it. FS850 is undriveble with unstable snowpack from three to six feet. Erosion on the slopes is typical for the spring melt, with a few new wrinkles but no major sliding. Snowshoes are still advised but they will go on and off, as there are plenty of bare patches. The air temperature at the pool was a cool 39F when I arrived at 4pm.
The springs sources have done a switch with the Lobster sources between 57F and 43F and triple the normal volume. The Bear Den sources are a lower-than-normal 101F with nominal flow . . . enough to keep the pool a less-than-comfortable 90F. As I write this, the freezing levels have dropped to 3,000-3,500 ft, and it is snowing lightly on the north slopes of Scenic again. Rick
At the request of Mike, I hiked up to Scenic Hot Springs to check on the snow conditions. The snow berm is still in place across the entrance to FS850. The berm up the highway from the BN staging area is very unstable and dangerous to walk on. Rather than take my chances walking close to traffic on the narrow shoulder of the highway, I decided to check out the hikers' back route . . . a route I haven't hiked in years. This route avoids the highway entirely but makes for some treacherous footing and steep slopes. Heavy snow evens out the ankle-biters from snags on the steep slope but with the accelerating snow melt there are a lot of places to fall through if you don't have secure footing before putting weight on your snowshoes.
Starting at the BN Staging Area, the back trail to the
springs begins at the spectacular Scenic Creek Falls
'Murphy Creek' just inside the treeline
Murphy Creek you enter the BPA Clearcut west of the FS 850 tower
the ravine created by Murphy Creek.
Looking back from the top of the second bypass trail. You can see my
tracks from the back trail around the left of the BPA tower.
Looking up the upper BPA Maintenance Road
Most of the 'snow bridges' over
running water have by now collapsed
The Meadow Creek runoff has split into two streams,
one of which is running down the road
Minor sliding is common along the BPA Road as snow melts and slumps
Culvert grates are 70-80% blocked and need to be cleaned out
Meadow Creek where it crosses the trail
Melt and erosion where the Main Creek crosses the trail
'Rock Alley' has melted of its 8ft snow plug.
A 4ft snow wall greets you at the head of the alley
Once above the headwall, the snow stays firm and deep . . . icy, for the most part. I needed the cleats of my snowshoes to feel comfortable hiking the rest of the way up to the springs.
The Monster Tub as you come upon it from above
From the tub deck, slumping snow has taken down a few smaller trees above
A large boulder has dropped onto the latrine
trail a dozen feet from the structure
View of the area just above the Monster Tub
with minor soil slippage into pool
There is a lot of breccia and dirt in the pool from minor slope erosion