8/15/2015 – Elk Lake Creek Trail – 559

Date of Hike: 8/15/2015
Location of Hike: Elk Lake Creek Trail
Trail Number: 559
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 12:00 PM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was to be a relatively easy hike – I wanted to take Bodie out – since his brain tumor diagnosis a few months ago, he is having a harder time getting around, but he still loves to get out hiking. I don’t know how many more hikes I will be able to take him on. This is a relatively level hike, and I thought going to the first creek crossing would be a good day – not too hard. I had wanted to see this area since the burn a few years ago, so it seemed like a great option.
We set out much later than I usually get out – I had to work until 3am, so I slept in a bit. We headed out about 10:30 and got to the trailhead around noon. Surprisingly, there were 3 cars at the trailhead, so I put Bodie on his leash. We headed down the trail and shortly entered the burned area:

It is beginning to recover – there are seedlings EVERYHWERE, and there is some amazing resilience evident – these trees are blackened WAY up but are still alive and healthy:

A little farther down the trail is the nice short waterfall on Elk Lake creek and the beautiful green pool below it:

Here is a short video of the waterfall:

The creek crossing at Pine Cone creek is the start of official wilderness – this sign has seen better days, but it still standing after the fire:

We crossed the creek and continued thru the fire area, finally heading out of the fire area into unburned forest:

A little farther down the trail is this great campsite, right next to the trail at a point where the trail is right next to the creek. It would be a very peaceful place to camp:

In this campsite was this interesting tree – Many people have carved their initials into this tree – it looks like it started by some survey crew – it is so old the bark has covered some if it – something MR NOR something survey crew 6 something – maybe in 1971?:

A little farther down the trail we explored an old side trail – it does appear on the maps, but the trail is overgrown in spots and has a lot of blowdown on it. If you follow it all the way down to the creek there is an old campsite spot that obviously hasn’t been used in a long time:

We explored down by the creek and then headed back up to the trail and continued down to the Knob Rock creek crossing:

And then very quickly arrived at the Welcome Creek crossing:

This is a picture of the mini waterfall on Welcome Creek:

As we continued down the trail I found an old phone line insulator – After I saw this one I made a conscious effort to find more of them and ended up finding over 30 of them along the trail! Some were just the loop (the ceramic insulator part had broken off), but probably at least half of them were still complete.

We continued down the trail to the spot where the trail makes its first crossing of Elk Lake creek. I thought this would be a good lunch and turnaround spot. The creek is very shallow here and it is very peaceful.

Just upstream of the crossing is a tiny waterfall. I took a short video of the waterfall and the creek:

We are lunch and enjoyed the creek for a few minutes and then headed back. I could tell Bodie was getting tired but he did very well. The trip back was pretty uneventful except for meeting a family who was heading in to backpack somewhere. They had a dog which is always a challenge with Bodie – it went fine – they passed us and continued down the trail.

We got back to the truck about 3:00 and headed home. On the drive home I tried to look for the short side trail down to the old “Oh Boy” camp, but couldn’t find the flagging. I think this road has been brushed out and the flagging got clobbered. They have done a fair amount of thinning up the 63 road and there is the Jazz timber sale happening up the 6370 road (didn’t see any clearcutting up 6380, but I believe there is some in the Jazz sale). Once I got home I checked old notes about where it was – next time I’m in the area, I’ll see if I can find it. It is 1.6 – 1.7 miles from the 6370/6380 split.

It was a nice, peaceful day in the woods. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to enjoy these beautiful places.

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