Location of Hike: Fish Creek Mountain Trail
Trail Number: 541
Weather during Hike: Sunny and warm
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:50 AM
End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7.5 miles
Anyway, Fish Creek Mountain seemed like a good option. It has some good elevation gain, and isn’t too long. Plus, I haven’t been there for several years. It was going to be a warm day, so I intended to get an early start, but I didn’t get going as quickly as I had wanted to. Got to the trailhead a little before 10. On the way up, I noticed that they have done a LOT of thinning along the 4620 road.
We headed up the old trail (a segment of the old Cold Springs trail, I think), up to the old road. This part of the trail was in pretty good shape, although it was a little brushy in the switchbacks near the top of that first hill. The road is getting reclaimed by nature and getting very brushy in places, too. We got to the original trailhead and headed up. In the sun, it was very warm, but in the shade it was very comfortable. On the way up, there was lots of beargrass blooming along the trail:
Not much blowdown to contend with either. Most of the trail is in excellent shape. A little farther up the trail we came to a beautiful hillside meadow with a neat rock formation:
And of course the great viewpoints like this rocky outcropping near the High Lake junction – look at all the old cuts on those hills:
We proceeded up to the lookout location and was greeted with a ton of beargrass blooms. Although the summit is grown in a bit, there are still a few spots that provide views. If I remember correctly, this was Olallie Butte peeking over the ridge in the distance:
And something I had never seen before on previous trips – the location of the old outhouse:
And the memorial plaque – this was well hidden:
And something else I had never seen before up there – what looks to be the remnants of an old helipad:
After poking around the summit for a while, we ate lunch in the trees since it was a lot cooler in the trees than out at the old lookout. After lunch, we headed back down, and did a little cleanup of the trail on the way down, lopping some of the brushier sections of trail, and moving some small logs off the trail. At the junction, we took the trail down to High Lake, and although the trail was a little brushy, when we got there it was very still and calm:
We spent a little while exploring the lake and then headed back up – on the way we cut some of the brushier sections of trail, and I cleared a bunch of “head slappers”. By this time it was starting to get cloudy and I was concerned we might get some thunderstorms, so we headed back down the trail pretty quickly. We made good time back to the truck. When we got there, there was a rather large group (8-10 people) wondering where the “trail to high lake” was, and how far it was. I told them how to get there and they went on their way. Some of the group was going to camp at the lake, but others were just day hiking it. It seemed like they were starting kind of late, but I didn’t question it.
A nice day in the woods – got to give the dog a good workout, and I it gave me some conditioning for the Enchantments trip in a couple of weeks. I need to do more of this to get ready.