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A terrible and amazing hike to Dirty Harry's Bathtub
posted by John : November 11, 2015


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This is a common refrain in the Northwest.

I started hiking in the dark, in the rain. The trail was terrible. When I got up higher it was gorgeous.

I'd hate to break with tradition so...

I started hiking in the dark, in the rain. The trail was terrible. When I got up higher it was gorgeous.

So true.

I was lucky to have Veteran's Day off so I had a rare Wednesday morning hike. It was indeed raining, hard, when I left the trailhead. It's a strange trailhead because the trail enters the woods, but only to cut a switchback in the paved road and avoid a gate. Then it's back on the road for a quarter mile before heading up the dreaded Dirty Harry's Road.

I've been up the road before. It's lousy. Full of loose rocks about the size of softballs that seem designed to twist ankles. Last time I decided to brave it was in 2007 with TNAB. Dirty Harry's Peak was clouded and had the feel of a logged wasteland. It's not surprising since it's the unfortunate legacy of Harry Gault, a logger from the days before strict regulations. Even back then he had trouble with the Forest Service and earned the nickname, "Dirty Harry" for his destructive practices.

This time I wasn't heading for the peak, but rather a small tarn called "Dirty Harry's Bathtub" I heard about from a TNAB hiker. I always figured it would be a worthless destination, like much of the rest of the mountain. I was wrong.

Once I turned off the cursed road I was on a narrow trail through the trees. I found snow under the heavy boughs and it was knee deep in the open areas. The trail isn't for the faint of heart, though. There's at least one confusing section that could lead you astray and the final push to the tarn is straight up with little definition. Think the old (old) Mailbox trail, but steeper.

We finally topped out above the cute little tarn tucked into a fold in the slope. On the other side of the water the hill continues up to Web Mountain, but that was out of scope for this trip. Instead, I made a toast to Winter since it seems she's intent on staying for a little while and then headed down.

The reason we Northwesterners hike in the dark and the rain is because above it all is a wondrous land of tiny lakes, dense forest, snowy peaks, and views worth the pain. It takes a special kind of damaged person to enjoy this, but it certainly seems Treen and I fall into that category.

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