Wahkiakum County Highpoint Trip Report

Benchmark Huckleberry

Date: June 1, 2008
Author: Ryan Courtney

I wasn't really looking forward to the reattempt but I'm not sure exactly what I'll be doing during the brief window of open gate opportunity in November and I wanted to get this clear cut out of the way. Perhaps I'm just a glutton. It was cloudy and chilly all day but the rain that threatened never materialized though I saw downpours in the distance several times.

There will be construction on Elochoman Valley Road past the residential area at some point in the future, as the road has washed away to one lane in one area and there are signs of future work but no heavy machinery.

There was one other car at Camp 2 and I saw two fishermen walking out near the bridge as I started in with the bicycle at about 1:45. While the section of road 700 past the upper gate isn't very steep, there are sections of the lower road that are. The ride (and, I won't lie, a fair amount of hiking while pushing) to the summit was relatively uneventful.

A mile or two below the upper (mile 6) gate near I saw an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of white paper stapled to a sickly looking runt of a tree. It was a notice that portions of the private land past that sign were to be sprayed with herbicides to "promote conifer growth" between May 1 and May 31, 2008. Never even saw it on May 11. It listed a couple of probably dangerous chemicals and a phone number - I did not have a pen with me on this one. Perhaps keep an eye out for notices if attempting in the spring or summer.

Important: The (open) upper gate near mile 6 is currently signed "Active Logging Area - No Public Access". On two long spring Sunday afternoons the two fishermen were the only people I saw.

The numbered route in Tom DeRoo's report is right on. They are 700 to 770 to 825 and then right at the four way up the hill. There is a gate on Road 770 where it begins off of 700. All gates, except of course the most important one, were open.

There were large patches of snow remaining in several areas beginning at Road 825, though none actually on that road. Once the unnumbered, unused road to the summit hit the trees, I crossed several long patches of snow but the entire summit area was snow-free. I arrived at the benchmark a few minutes before 4:45. Good local views but low clouds prevented anything really great. I lounged until 5:30 and was down in under an hour.

On descent I heard a lot of gunshots. When I arrived back at the parking lot, I saw more than 50 spent 12-guage shells lying on the ground. Maybe they were there on May 11 or earlier in the day but I sure didn't see them. I was thankful that the rental was not blasted full of shot.