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Racehorse Landslide Fossil Fields- access update


I received a reliable report from Saturday, August 9, 2014 from my friends Bob and Adena on conditions at the Racehorse Creek landslide fossil fields.

Here is the report, which I’ll add to the webpage for the fossil fields ( https://nwgeology.wordpress.com/the-fieldtrips/the-chuckanut-formation/the-racehorse-landslide-fossil-fields/).

It is still possible to find leaf fossils among the brush. These were found in August, 2014.

It is still possible to find leaf fossils among the brush. These were found in August, 2014.

“The place is hardly recognizable. No changes to the trail in from the road (we did some clipping but little was needed) BUT…the smaller slide by the big dead fir tree (DT note- Bob is referring to the fossil fields I describe on the webpage above) is so grown up to six-to-ten foot alders that the only way you know you have reached the end of the trail is when you feel the slope start to steepen. Worse, there’s a tangle of underbrush under the alders, and both brush and leaf duff make it tough to find fossils anywhere except right on the few paths that lead upward through the landslide to the ridge crest; i.e., you easily find only what everyone has already looked over. About 40 vertical feet below the ridge and on up, DNR has cut a lot of alders but not all. There were no alders growing on the main slide debris (beyond the ridge crest).”

So, seems like the trip is no more difficult, but fossil seekers must persevere and be willing to scuff around in the bushes. Visitors are requested to report any new developments.


6 Responses

  1. Last week (early August 2014) I spend a couple hours doing brush trimming on the trail to the ridge crest. Before I started, the trail was very overgrown in places, but as Bob and Adena noted, there is now a clear path. The alder clearing efforts that they noticed were not from DNR work, it was me and my pruning shears and little folding saw. Be warned, during the return descent of the lower section of the “trail”, it is easy to be distracted by way trails that have been created by fossil hunters. Many of these start out as a fairly clear path that dead ends in the thick brush. On the way up, note that the trail passes just to the east of a prominent tall dead fir tree. This is an important landmark if you lose the trail during the descent.

    As noted in the 8/11/14 message, the lower slide area has become thickly overgrown with brush and small trees,but it is still possible to find fossils in a few places where rocks are still exposed. On a more positive note, the scramble up the steep upper ridge was the easiest path I’ve seen in my 20+ trips to the site.
    -George Mustoe

  2. My grandson and I went up and it was a beautiful clear day but after the dead tree we were jungled out. The overgrowth was too much and impossible to get through. Gave up after a little scavenging.

    • David,
      Sorry to hear that. I have updated the description of the place with the new information. Hope it wasn’t a total bust for you and especially your grandson.

  3. The final access road to Racehorse Landslide has been “put to bed” by the DNR. There is now a big barrier at the start of the branch road leading to the start of the way trail to the landslide, and there are several steep, deep trenches along the road where culverts have been removed. This change adds one mile each way to the hiking distance, but the trip is not difficult: 1.5 miles one way , with 800 feet of elevation gain. Two friends and I recently did trail work, and the way trail is easy to follow. The landslide area is grown up with lots of young trees, rocks are weathering away, but there are still fossils to see for folks who ascend to the ridge overlooking the slide, and good scenic views.

    • My grandson and I went up to the fossil field but it’s nearly impassable with the tree growth. Sorry we didn’t go up there 5 years ago or just wait for another lands slide.

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