– Ben Martens

Forest Roads

Look at a good map of the mountains and you’ll see hundreds of forestry roads twisting through the wilderness. Almost all of them are gravel and some are so rugged that only the biggest logging trucks can make it through. Many of these roads are locked off with gates, but there are plenty of roads with open gates. I’d love to get a truck and explore, but for now, I’m stuck exploring a few of the roads in better conditions with my Subaru.

One thing that makes it especially difficult is that there is no single place to find out if the gates are open, trees cover the road, the road is washed out, or downed trees make it impassable. It’s definitely an adventure.

On Saturday, Tyla and I took a drive around the Mountain Scenic Highway loop. You can read that link for more information, but it’s about at three hour drive through some incredible country. About 15 miles on the east side is gravel road. The road winds along the river and there are a number of pullouts where people put up tents. There are no reservations here, but if you snag a site you’ll have an incredible view for the weekend.

Along the way, I turned off on a forest road that I’ve been wanting to explore. It wound about five miles up into the mountains. The first half was pretty tame, but on the second half, the road narrowed considerably. If two cars met, one would have to back up a very long way to reach a spot wide enough for two cars. I was having fun, but I felt bad when I realized how scared Tyla was getting and there wasn’t exactly much room for her to open the door to get out and be sick.

We almost made it to the top where there is supposed to be a nice lake but were stopped about 0.3 miles short by snow. We didn’t have good snow hiking gear with us so we very carefully turned the car around and headed home… while Tyla had her coat over her head to block the view.

I’m very excited to go back and try this one again when the snow melts and see what that lake looks like. Hopefully I can convince Tyla to come along with me!