03-Sep-2000 -- GOAL
This confluence is in the Wind River section of the Gifford Pinchot
National Forest. It is sixteen miles southeast of Mount Saint Helens, (
http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/mshnvm/), famous for the 1980 eruption that
resulted in nearly 150 square miles of forest blown over or left dead
and standing and a column of ash that drifted downwind over eastern
Washington and beyond.
Our mounts for the journey were to be a 4wd Jeep Wrangler and a pair
of mountain bikes and good old hiking boots. Here is the route:
From Carson, Washington take Wind River Road North. Drive 13 miles.
Pass Carson National Fish Hatchery. Bear right on Meadow Creek road.
Drive 9.4 miles. (1 mile short of Oldman Pass) Turn left on NFD 31.
Drive 2.2 miles. Left on NFD 3107. Drive 0.8 miles. Right to continue on
NFD 3107. Drive 0.7 miles. Bear right first unimproved road (before
hairpin left turn). Drive 300 yards. Head northwest. Walk 25 yards.
We left Portland mid morning and followed Washington route 14 along
the Columbia River to Carson, Washington. There we headed north on the
Wind River Highway. Once in the National Forest we detoured to a 1500'
high viewpoint Bunker Hill (n45 49.318' w121 56.175') where we could see
the Wind River Canopy Crane Research Facility (
A forest ranger we spoke to by telephone warned us that NFD 3107
would be gated (the gate is at n46 0.610' w121 59.128') as it is the
entry point to a Disabled Hunting Area
(http://www.wa.gov/wdfw/outreach/access/access.htm). This is the
outdoors man's equivalent of a handicap parking area. We pushed with our
mountain bikes for the last two miles which happened to be almost all
The confluence is located in second growth forest at an elevation of
3100', within sight of the old logging road that defines the boundary
between younger recently cut trees and 30-year old trees.
The Pacific Northwest in September can mean rain, but we hadn't
actually experienced any until arriving at the confluence. The forest
grew dark as the clouds thickened. We found ourselves shooting 400 speed
film with the camera wide open and braced against vibration. On the ride
back out to the jeep the sky started to rain and then pelt us with