9/24/2011 – Rho Ridge Complete – 564

Date of Hike: 9/24/2011
Location of Hike: Rho Ridge Trail
Trail Number: 564 and 564-A
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 4:30 PM
Hike Distance: 12 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
In my ongoing quest to hike all of the trails in the Clackamas district, one on my list was the Rho ridge trail. Without doing an overnighter, hiking 22.5 miles in one day (up and back) is too much for me. Although this trail has good intermediate access at several points, I still wanted to do the whole trail in one day if possible. The next best thing is to do a shuttle hike, leaving a car at each end.

We got an early start to the day, since it would be a reasonably long day, and the days are getting shorter. We met at the ranger station at 8am and headed out. We got to the northern trailhead about 9:15 or so, dropped one vehicle and headed to the southern trailhead. We started our hike a little before 10 I think. We decided we would make the short hike up the cabin on Hawk mountain. Last time I was up there in the fall there was a wasp nest in the porch and I got stung. This time, no wasp nest. There were some more things in the cabin, and someone had posted 4 photos showing what things looked like when it was in use. It was pretty cool to see – the tower had a second temporary tower next to it- probably when they were building it. There was also another building to the side.

After visiting the cabin for a bit, we wandered back down the side trail and back onto the main Rho Ridge trail. The trip was pretty uneventful – it was a warm day but there was a slight breeze blowing. I was a little surprised that there weren’t more views, especially on the southern end of the trail. Most of the trail you are on a ridge, but hidden in the trees. The views are mostly on the northern end of the trail. We did get a really good look at the Motherlode fire from the old lookout site on Mt Lowe. Although the fire had died down over the last week or so, the warmer temperatures and wind had whipped it up again, and there was lots of smoke from the Battle Creek drainage.

The trail crosses quite a few old roads, many of them closed or decommissioned. Right at the northern trailhead we found a bounty of ripe huckleberries. We stopped and ate a few of them, but we were running a little bit late so we didn’t have time to pick any to take home – just a few for the ride home. Stopped at Fearless brewing in Estacada for the annual launch of their strong scotch ale – good stuff!

A great, but tiring day in the woods….

P.S. – I have about 8 more trails to finish before I hike all the trails. I won’t be able to finish this year – will have to wait until next year…..

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