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View Full Version : Gallaher Head Lake (09-13-08)



Jerry
09-14-2008, 12:04 AM
GALLAHER HEAD LAKE
September 13, 2008

http://lh6.ggpht.com/lanik23/RoLqEJ1fZ7I/AAAAAAAABUU/ixWMdn6DBEg/IMG_2197.JPG?imgmax=512

Sunshine, mountain scenery and a fun group of backroaders, what more
could you ask for? Checking in for breakfast at the Old Number 3
Restaurant in Ronald, Washington were Brian & Cindy from Gig Harbor
driving their Toyota 4Runner, Rob from Yakima was in his new Jeep
Wrangler JK, Paul from Poulsbo was driving his Toyota FJ Cruiser,
Terry, Missy and son Mason were in their Jeep TJ and Randy from
Meacham rode with me, Jerry from Yakima, in my Ford Bronco II. User
names? Photog, weisergeiser, lgrt, Blind Pilot, Roller Bear and
Jerry (soggymountain) in no certain order.

We gave any possible stragglers several minutes leeway before leaving
and heading north along the shores of Cle Elum Lake on our way to
Salmon la Sac. There was construction machinery all over the place
at the Salmon la Sac campground so the summer-long closure for
improvements was meaningful. We hit gravel at the campground and
followed it for about five miles before searching for the Fortune
Creek Trail. Our assortment of maps and GPS readings were enough to
confuse the issue so we followed the most logical entry and hit pay
dirt at one of the unmarked roads. After pulling off the main road
and airing down we shuffled vehicles so the first and last rigs were
equipped with winches. Just in case they were needed. None of us
had ever driven the trail so we were planning for the worst and
hoping for the best.

The Fortune Creek Trail, 4W301, was an easy 4x4 trail with a few
loose rocks, shallow ruts and holes, a couple of roots and gentle off
camber areas and if you were not careful there were a few
differential bangers. The trail climbed steadily, but gently as it
ran southward along the side of a tree covered ridge. We had
glimpses between the trees of a huge rocky mountain looming skyward
across the valley and peek-a-boo views of the treed ridge line above
us.

It took about an hour to reach Gallaher Head Lake, a much-welcomed
sight where the forest opened and three rugged mountaintops were
reflected in the shallow lake. It was a good time for a stop so we
pulled into a small camping area, relaxed and slowly got around to
discussing our next move.

The Jack Creek forest fire in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area had
forced the closure of the Van Epps Mine Road so our options were
limited to continuing to the end of the Fortune Creek Trail and/or
exploring the more difficult Hawkins Mountain Trail. Two of our rigs
had limited ground clearance so we chose to finish off the 4W301 and
return to the lake for lunch.

It was a peaceful setting; great weather, not many bugs and I think
all of us were thinking we should come back again. As we were
finishing up lunch three bikes pulled into camp followed by a couple
of quads, the only other vehicles we had seen since we left the main
road.

It was nearing three-o-clock so we arranged our caravan in similar
order as the morning run and headed down the hill. As we were
pulling away from the lake we heard a little voice out in the
distance calling us on the CB. It was Screamin (user name) from
Ellensburg, and he was on his way up the hill about a mile from the
lake. He had mentioned he might be coming up later in the day, and
sure enough there he was. He told us he would pull over and wait for
us, as there were not many good places to pass on the upper trail.
When we reached his location he had parked his full size Ford Bronco
to the side of the trail and he had also stopped some folks in a
Toyota pickup. Thanks, Screamin, it was good meeting you and I wish
we could have made connections earlier!

The trail down was uneventful except that it seemed like it took
longer to go down than it had to come up. Probably due to
anticipation of a cold drink at the restaurant back in Ronald. We
stopped at the main road to air up a little, but most of us finished
the job after a Coke in Ronald.

It was a fun day, great people, easy wheeling, neat scenery and
discovery of another cool spot to visit again one of these days.
Jerry

PS Please post pics if you have them!

Ceg
09-14-2008, 07:29 AM
Very cool. I wish I could have made it.

BlindPilot
09-14-2008, 10:33 PM
Great trip, first time there and I deffinately not the last.
Here are some pictures I took, although I thought I took more :scratch:



On the trail
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e289/BlindPilot78/trail2.jpg
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e289/BlindPilot78/trail1.jpg
scenery pics
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e289/BlindPilot78/scenery.jpg
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e289/BlindPilot78/scenery2.jpg
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e289/BlindPilot78/scenery3.jpg
Gallaher Head Lake
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e289/BlindPilot78/glake1.jpg
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e289/BlindPilot78/glake2.jpg
Mason and Piper at the lake
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e289/BlindPilot78/masonlake.jpg
The group at the lake for a break and regroup
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e289/BlindPilot78/group.jpg
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e289/BlindPilot78/thegroup1.jpg

Anyone have a fishing pole? I was very suprised to see fish in this lake, especially at 5600' in elevation.

Great trip, good scenery, looking forward to going back again.

This would make a great wheelin/camping/overnight trip. There were a few trails that headed off from the lake area that dead-ended, but we didnt get a chance to check 'em out.

CentralGrand
09-15-2008, 03:24 PM
Anyone have a fishing pole? I was very suprised to see fish in this lake, especially at 5600' in elevation.

Great trip, good scenery, looking forward to going back again.

This would make a great wheelin/camping/overnight trip. There were a few trails that headed off from the lake area that dead-ended, but we didnt get a chance to check 'em out.

That is an awesome trip. Took it last year. Our group caught plenty of fish there :thumbright: The only complaint was the skeeters... wholy cow. Were they bad for you guys? We practically got eatin alive.

Screamin
09-15-2008, 04:29 PM
:salute: It was cool to see some of the crew on the trail. I wish I could have gotten up there sooner! 'Little voice' on the CB? Man, that hurts Soggy! I'll have to project more when I key the mic.

I didn't get bit by a single bug. And believe me, if they were out there, they would have found me! I think the cold night temps are keeping them down.

Screamin'

PHANTOM 309
09-15-2008, 04:47 PM
That sure is a purdy red TJ I see in some of those pics. :thumbright:

BlindPilot
09-15-2008, 07:32 PM
Our group caught plenty of fish there The only complaint was the skeeters... wholy cow. Were they bad for you guys? We practically got eatin alive.


I agree with Screamin....not a single bite, and believe me, I would have heard about it from the wife if she had been bitten :laughing6:

MtnRubi
09-15-2008, 09:03 PM
Sounds like it was a nice time even with those pesty skeeters! So pretty too! Years ago when the PNW4WDA did the SUV Event there was a run up to the lake - fun was had by all! Sound like it might be a great place to do a Doe Run too! Ah, maybe next year!

Jerry
09-16-2008, 03:36 AM
Nothing personal about the "little voice out in the distance" comment, Screamin, it was only meant to describe your temporarily weak signal caused by the rocky hill that separated us. But, I knew you knew that. :cool:

I have read several trip reports about Gallaher Head Lake and most of them mentioned bug infestations. We plain lucked out, not a single skeeter bite that I know of. Perhaps September is the best time to go?

The run to the lake is a perfect trail for modified SUV's, but it would be asking too much of most stock models. I would recommend at least 31" tires for SUV's and 33" and taller for pickups, increasing with longer wheelbase. It's not a tough trail, but there are places with strategically located holes and rocks that could do damage.


Originally Posted by Phantom 309
That sure is a purdy red TJ I see in some of those pics. :thumbright:
That was Roller Bear's innaugral run with his new short wheelbase JK.

Fish
09-16-2008, 07:55 AM
Nice looking scenery... thanks for sharing the pics.