11/3/2010 – Bull of the Woods trail – 550

Date of Hike: 11/3/2010
Location of Hike: Bull of the Woods trail
Trail Number: 550
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
With the (probably) last of the nice weather, I took a day off to do what is probably my last high elevation hike of the season. I went up to Bull of the Woods lookout on the #550 trail. I was very surprised at the lack of snow, especially since it must have gotten dumped on a few weeks ago. The only snow I saw was on north facing slopes or shady areas, and even there, it was only a couple of inches deep.

The trail was in great shape, with only a couple of downed logs. There are a few areas they get rather brushy, but since all the undergrowth had died, and all the huckleberry bushes had lost their leaves, it was still easy. I spent some time brushing the worst of the trail, up on the top end, but it still needs a lot more work.

One of my goals for this hike was to see how much damage had been caused by the fires this summer. I was rather disappointed that I couldn’t see much.

From what I could see, it looks like the damage is less than I was fearing. Big Slide Lake looks untouched, but I’m not sure why the Dickey Creek Trail is still closed. I didn’t see anything back that way that looked burned, but it must be beyond what I could see. You could see burn damage in the saddle between Big Slide Mountain and its neighbor peak (don’t know what it is called). The good news is that the burn doesn’t appear to have gone up the other side of the valley. The bad news is that I think the damage on the other side of that hill is extensive.

It was a beautiful day, and the wind going up the Clackamas gorge was as strong as I’ve seen it – the reservoir had BIG whitecaps on it! I didn’t have a whole lot of wind on the trail, just a little once I got up to the top. One thing: The lookout appears to have lost part of one of its shutters. I think it was sitting down on the ground below it. It looked like someone had weighted it down with rocks, I’m guessing to help keep it from blowing away.

A great day, and a wonderful way to end the high country season. After this weekend, I think it will be low elevation trails for a while…

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