11/12/2011 – Plaza Creek – 506

Date of Hike: 11/12/2011
Location of Hike: Plaza Creek Trail
Trail Number: 506
Weather during Hike: Foggy, cold and snowy
Hiking Buddies: Kirk
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 2:15 PM
Hike Distance: 4.4 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was to be a last ditch effort at trying to get to one of the higher elevation trails before the snow closes them for the year. Since the weather has cooled and we have had rain, I wasn’t sure if we would be able to make it to the trailhead at 4200′. I knew it was supposed to be a wet day, but since this is the last chance, I wanted to try anyway. Well, I wanted an adventure, and that is what I got. The trip to the trailhead was almost as much of an adventure as the hike itself! Started seeing snow at a little over 3000′ and it kept getting deeper and deeper. When it got to about 5″ and there were no tire tracks, I decided to put on my chains. Once the chains were on, it was pretty easy going, although the road got VERY brushed in in places, especially where the alders were drooping due to the new snow. Finally made it to the trailhead at the old Twin Springs campground.

Started down the road in the old campground (it has been bermed and ditched so that no vehicles can go in there anymore), and found an old sign for the trail. According to that sign, it also went down to Hambone Springs. It said 2 miles to the Roaring River and 8 miles to Hambone Springs. Interesting little bit of forest history.

Wasn’t sure how well we could follow the trail in the snow, but it was easily apparent where the trail was, at least for the first 3/4 mile or so. After that, there was good flagging to guide the way. All the way down to the second crossing of Plaza Creek (or where it meets the creek). At that point, the flags disappeared and we were unable to find any sign of the trail after that. With the trees dripping heavily, we decided to eat a quick lunch and start the long ascent back to the top.

Some neat things to watch for on the trail – – a couple of nice creek crossings, a really neat rockslide, and an interesting rock formation – from the bottom end it looks like a fieldstone chimney!

This was the second to the last trail in my quest to hike all the trails in the Clackamas district. One more to go! (Corral Springs). Even though it was really beautiful today with all the snow, I would like to see this trail in the summertime without it. I think it would have a completely different feel to it.

All in all, a good way to end up the high elevation hiking season.

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