“Thoroughly soaked” in the Kalmiopsis: Chetco Bar

“Thoroughly soaked” in the Kalmiopsis: Chetco Bar

02 MAY 2018 | KALMIOPSIS WILDERNESS, ORE. — Last weekend member Bryan Duggan braved the weather for an unforgiving and telling journey into the heart of where the Chetco Bar Fire burned up a circuit of trails deep in the southwest Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

He set out Friday for the Red Mountain Trailhead, and left the trail quickly up a ridge where the Chetco Bar Fire “uniformly burned,” Duggan writes. “Often down to the mineral soil.”

Duggan and his crew spent that night at Chetco Lake. The night there was cold and rainy, he says.

The next morning Duggan headed north Saturday on the Chetco Divide Trail, much of which was covered in snow, he writes. “We were in a white out all day. We decided to head down to the South Fork Chetco and camp at Cottonwood.”

There was a lot of trees down along trails our crews cleaned up just last summer.

“That’s a blow,” says executive director Gabriel Howe. Howe mentions, “working through jackstraw in the Kalmiopsis is what we do. That’s what made our group tough.”

Jackstraw is a term used to describe long impenetrable thickets of downed trees a trail user would have to crawl, climb, and slowly pick their way through.

On Duggan’s last day his party hiked on and off the Red Mountain Trail back toward their cars and the weather cleared. “That was short lived,” writes Duggan. “We got a final and thorough soaking the last three miles to the trailhead.”

The Red Mountain Trail Duggan was on connects to the Navy Monument Trail. The Kalmiopsis was hard hit by the 2002 Biscuit Fire. A handful of fires burned in between then and the 2017 Chetco Bar Fire, which burned in and out of the Biscuit’s shadow.

Duggan notes there’s a need to address drainage on the trail, and spoke to many trees down on the trail. “Best and wettest trip I’ve ever did,” he writes.

We have a three person crew dedicated to working on trails including these within the footprint of the Chetco Bar Fire. They’ll be working through October 31.

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