7-Day Forecast for Scenic Hot Springs Area (2,900 ft near beginning of Trail Head)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Minor Cleanup Party this coming Sunday

Where: At the gate on FS850

When: Sunday, June 3rd at 11am

Here's a chance to visit Scenic Hot Springs and do a little tender-loving care to the property and the adjoining areas of the litter and erosion from the winter and spring months. Afterward, we will have an opportunity to enjoy the springs. This cleanup party will not be a major undertaking and we will simply hike on up to the hot springs, cleaning up a few culverts along the way and collecting trash that the unrespectful have left behind. Participation counts toward gaining more opportunities from the owner . . . so don't forget to sign in. I will also hand out new 2007 Season Permission Cards to those who are already involved in the restoration of the hot springs. The cards issued last season will retire to weed out those who are not actively involved, do not participate in clean-ups, or that we are unable to contact. Permission cards are not a perputual invitation to visit the hot springs . . . they are at the pleasure of the owner.

As in past cleanups, let's meet around 11am at the gate, signin, and proceed up FS 850 to park in the clearcut area. The cleanup and soak will last to around 3pm when I will go back down to let vehicles back out (or later if there is consensus). those who might need to leave before 3pm, please park before the gate.

  1. Cleanup the litter on the areas off the gated area down to Highway 2. We owe this to the Forest Service as it is the people who head up to Scenic that are tossing this trash. I did some cleanup last week but I'm sure there is more.
  2. I need a few people to litter patrol the FS Road from the gate to the clearcut, and one or two to do the same on the first bypass trail.
  3. The road cut at the second bend could use some filling to help ease vehicle across without bottoming out; likewise, there is a tree snag partially blocking the road near the clearcut which we need moved out of the way.
  4. From the clearcut, those that like to hike, there are a few fallen trees and snags down in the BPA loop that could use an assist off the road. For the rest, up the second bypass trail to pick up litter on the road and the side slopes.
  5. I need to re-plant a new 'No trespassing' sign near the second tower. I have the signs and post. Likewise, just inside the trailhead we need to figure out how to correct the floded over 'No Trespassing' sign high in that tree.
  6. As we head up the upper BPA Road, we should check the culverts and unblock them as necessary. Where streams cross the road, we will assess if there is anything to do that will keep the streams in their course, and protect against erosion on the downslope side (usually means partially blocking the flow to slow the water down and create sedimentation filling).
  7. We will do litter control on the trail and correct errant seepages on the water bars we placed two years ago.
  8. Litter patrol the pool area and the downslope area from the pool.
  9. Enjoy a soak!!!!
Tools: Nothing major. I'll bring my folding shovel to do culvert cleanout. Perhaps a hammer to post signs.

Everyone, good shoes and gloves. Bring water, something to snack and a smile.

Is there anyone out there that is good with making conceptulized drawings? We need someone who can look at the hot spring site, visualize what the pools might look like in place, and produce a nice drawing in colored pencil. A 2007 Permission Card to the individual who can make drawings for us.


Another Black Bear near Scenic

A black bear roaming the lower areas of the clearcut (near where FS850 enters). Seen near dawn grubbing for it's breakfast of bugs, it wandered on up the slopes into the heavy canopy above the clearcut, seemingly avoiding the human-made bypass trails.

Although the bear knew I was there and less than 100 feet away, it paid me no attention other than glancing my way every so often to see if I'd come any closer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend and the Springs

The Memorial Day Weekend has always been a difficult time for the hot springs so this year, as with last year, we are going to enforce the NO TRESPASSING rules at the springs.

Starting Friday afternoon, a representative of Scenic Hot Springs will be present on the property (including overnight) and TURN BACK those who attempt to visit the springs. Anyone who doesn't cooperate will be referred to the King County Sheriff's Department. There will not be a repeat of the vandalism and trashing of previous holiday weekends. Stay away!!!

On Saturday a private hot springs clean-up party is taking place. This event is already filled to reasonable capacity. If you are not on the list for this particular event, please stay away.

For those that have asked, a regular clean up party is being planned for possibly the following weekend after Memorial Day. Activities planned are cleaning of culverts and shoring up the intake basins, re-setting the water bars on the trail and other general erosion control measures. I will contact everyone on the volunteer list early next week with the details.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Scenic Hot Springs Conditions, May 11th, 2007

The pools after cleaning and refilling. KEEP THEM CLEAN!!!!
Pool Temperatures as of
May 11th, 2007 @ 4 PM

Conditions: Clear skies, 68F @ Pools; Patches of snow on the upper trail above Main Creek crossing. FS850, BPA Road and lower trail are snow free. As predicted, some enterprising soul has chainsawed the tree blocking access to FS850.

Spring Source
East #1 (Lobster Upper): 78.3F, Flow: 18 gpm (measured)
East #2 (Lobster Lower): 58F, disconnected from feed tube
Upper feed tube is redirected around pool.
West #1 (Bear): 110.3F

West #2 (Bear): 111.4F, Combined Flow: 6.8 gpm (measured)

Pool Temperatures:
Lobster Half: Inlet 77F (diverted from pool), Pool 97.9F

Bear Den Half: Inlet 109.3F, Pool 101.7F

The Lobster sources have gone cold as predicted from the increased snow melt; while the Bear sources have notched up a degree or two. Both sources show increased flow rates. Lobster, at 77F, is too cold to feed the combined pool, so has been diverted around the tub. The second fracture at the source is now active and supplying most of the colder water to Lobster. Bear is just enough to provide a pleasant soak with two different temperatures that suit the ambient weather.

Water Quality
Without the added flow of Lobster, Bear springs is barely enough to turn over the water adequately . . . especially when someone keeps removing the small pool-bottom siphon (the green hose). Algae quickly builds up on the lower portions of the pool, which gets little turnover. The weir dams were heavily coated with a half-inch thick coating of algae that also builds up on the concrete outside of the tub under the overflows. The two halves of the tub were in bad need of some serious cleaning. I completely drained the pools, removed the pool divider and spent the next two hours scrubbing the slippery algae coating off the interior and exterior pool surfaces. The liner is showing increasing areas of wear and will probably have to be replaced sometime this soaking season.

Site Conditions
There has been more earth slippage on the trail above the Bear Den sources. Step carefully around this area or preferably, take the latrine access trail. The litter problem was very heavy. I removed four 33gal trash bags of beer bottle, cans, liquor bottles, clothing, towels, food wrappers, candles and assorted other garbage from the site.

Notes The tree across FS850 has been cut up. At first I thought the Forest Service but I later found out one of the visitors took it upon himself to cut up the tree to make it easy for people. Next time, pay attention and notify me or Mike first. You need a permit to go cutting fallen trees on Forest Service property and that tree was tagged for a timber permit. I was aware of that and perfectly willing to let the tree sit until we needed access. Whomever did the cutting, I suggest you don't admit to it.

While I worked on cleaning and oiling the lock to the gate, the owners of several cars (and one motor scooter) arrived from their unauthorized visit. I didn't recognize any of them and one couple was downright obnoxious when informed that the springs are closed and on private property. I didn't even bother to ask if they'd like to volunteer and earn the right to visit. Didn't seem the type. Fortunately, I have pictures of their vehicles.

The forest service road is completely snow free and in real good shape. There is a fallen tree snag near the BPA clearcut, but easily driven around. The first hiker's bypass is also clear and in good shape.

Likewise, the BPA Road and clearcut is also snow free. The upper BPA road shows some moderate to significant erosion but is 4WD HC drivable . . . in fact, someone has recently driven up the road, though which of the volunteers with keys I don't know. Near the top immediately short of the Honeymoon Creek BPA road cut, a large boulder has come to rest in the center of the road. It can be driven around but will take two or more people to safely move this boulder out of the way.

Lower down, I cleared out the culvert grates of the Main Springs creek crossing, and of the BPA Springs. Shoring up of the basin around the intake of the culvert was necessary. Where Meadows Creek crosses the BPA road, there is heavy flow but erosion is under control.

The trail, itself, is in good shape. The water bars are doing their job. Melt runoff continues to come down Rock Alley. The snow begins just above . . . patchy but unavoidable. The snow is soft, wet and slippery . . . but will soon be gone. Most of the snow is from the switchback area to just short of the short path above the Bear Den sources . . . the result of remaining mostly in shade. The latrine bypass trail (the original and one of the historic trails) is snow free. Due to earth slippage in the route above the springs, I recommend taking this bypass trail.

As the condition report noted, the pools were in terrible shape and needed serious cleaning; which I did. There is also a lot of irresponsible partying going on up here late at night with dozens of beer bottles (Blond Ale?), a full bottle of Schnapps, a half full bottle of Jaggermeister, various articles of clothing, food wrappers, uneaten food, a half-dozen melted candles and lots of cigarette butts. The site was filthy and a lot of that garbage was in the pools, themselves. Have you ever stepped bare-footed on a bottle cap. The pool was full of bottle caps and I managed to step on one and cut my foot. So, my unauthorized friends, I have no sympathy for you! All in all, I made two "up the mountain-down the mountain" trips to drag four trash bags full of garbage away!

Used Pampers!!!! That means babies, unless you have a control problem yourself. Do not take babies up to the hot springs to soak. It is both dangerous for the child (babies have undeveloped control of body heat), and dangerous to the pool waters (babies have bowel control problems . . . which is why they wear Pampers).

A young lady's spandex top left on a rock near the top of Rock Alley

What surprises me is the amount of clothing I found discarded on the side of the trail. Are people stripping off their clothes on the way up or down? I'm all for a nude hike (especially after a hot soak), but throwing away perfectly good clothes? Come on . . . take your laundry home . . . don't leave it to rot on the mountainside!

The difficulty, of course, is controlling access by these irresponsible people. I would like to catch them in the act but I really don't have time to sit by in the evening hours. Perhaps the sources need to be secured and shut down. I know I piss a lot of visitors off by draining the pools in the late afternoon . . . at the present flow rates it takes hours to refill those pools. But I can't be up there everyday. So we're going to be looking at other alternatives.

In the coming weeks, while we wait on permit decisions, I'm thinking of setting up a clean-up party . . . with the idea of litter pickup at the gate area and alongside the BPA road and trail. This is to be a mini-cleanup so if anyone wants to join in, contact me. The bonus is enjoyment of the springs for the rest of the day after the cleanup. Contact me if you want to participate.