Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Alice Creek S24O


Life has a way of filling up the days. First there is that whole making a living thing and in the time that's left you have to balance time with family, friends, alone time and adventures. The S24O or Sub-24 Hour Overnight, invented (or at least named) by Grant Petersen, is a great way to squeeze a bit of outdoor living into a civilized life.

My pal Mark Canizaro is the only one whose schedule can mesh with my odd "leave around 2:00 PM Monday back early afternoon Tuesday" plan. The forecast calls for temps in the nineties, so our plan is to head for the high country. Last year, Lake Moolock was still iced in in July. An icy lake sounds good, the hot climb not so much. Our fallback plan is to stick to gravel roads along the north fork of the Snoqualmie River.

It turns out we need a fallback plan for our fallback plan -- the timber company which owns the land has shut off all recreational access due to fire danger. We should have seen this coming with the hot, dry summer we've been having.

Our fallback fallback plan involves a rootbeer float for me and a chocolate shake for Mark at Scott's Dairy Freeze in North Bend followed by a ride up past Rattlesnake Lake and then out along the John Wayne Iron Horse Trail to Alice Creek. The official camp sites are high in the dry hot sun along the trail, but a small trail just a bit west of the groomed camping spots leads to the cool, rocky banks of the trail. It's actually cool enough by the creek that I trade my sweat soaked hot-weather shirt for my cross-dressing camp sweater. I scored this large woman's SmartWool sweater from REI (Return Everything Incorporated) at their scratch, dent and return sale. Eighty bucks marked down to eleven because it has a tiny hole in the front. "For eleven bucks, I'll cross-dress in the woods," I told the clerk.

This is a no cooking trip, just sandwiches and various munchies. Chlorine Dioxide Tablets take care of the water purification and we settle down to sleep just as the sun finishes setting.

In the morning, we trade bikes for a bit and mostly coast back to North Bend for a big second breakfast at Twede's. It's still early enough and shady enough that we get to see and photograph a large owl in the trees above the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. We're back in Issaquah 22 hours after we'd left, with 84 easy miles on the odometer.
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