Location of Hike: Cripple Creek Trail
Trail Number: 703
Weather during Hike: overcast with a couple of sunbreaks
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:30 AM
End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5.9 miles
The hike was nothing particularly unusual or flashy, but it was a very pleasant day. I had forgotten how beautiful parts of this trail are. It goes thru some magnificent uncut forest and has some very unique features.
The trail ascends relentlessly, sometimes somewhat steeply. It has a few flat spots, but they are pretty few and far between. We ascended about 2100′ in less than 3 miles (to the 4635 road crossing). The ascent is pretty gentle at first. After crossing a couple of rockslides, you get to what many people refer to a “The Grotto”:
Shortly after this is one of the most unique features on the trail. A hillside meadow:
The trail heads right thru the middle of the meadow. The meadow has been a favorite spot of deer and elk. There were signs EVERYHWERE and you could tell that they had not only been using the trail, but heading up and down hill as well.
Once we got a bit further down the trail, the weird (and kind of un-nerving) thing happened. We found a bunch of stuff from someone on a rockslide. It looked like stuff from someone’s pack – a leather coat, a paring knife (in a plastic bottle), bandaid, toothpaste, a sweater among other things. There was also some kind of bag thing with a metal buckle – I couldn’t tell what it was. The whole thing was kind of spooky and weird.
After looking at that stuff for a while, we continued down the trail. I did some trail maintenance as we went. It started as just throwing branches off the trail, but I ended up cleaning up a few messy spots too:
We continued down the trail, cleaning up what we could until we got to the big rockslide – the best view of the day (Fish Creek Mountain and Whalehead I believe):
As we got across the rockslide, the snow started to get deep in spots – it was really the first snow we had seen. There were deer prints in the snow too:
We finally ghot up to the 4635 road crossing, which had 6-12″ of snow on it:
We stopped, had lunch and then headed up the trail about 100 yards or so just to see if there was more snow up there – the trail in the trees was clear! We headed back down, making great time since it was all downhill.
Trail was in great shape, with evidence of recent work (logs cut and maybe even some tread work!). There were about 12 trees down over the trail – all except that big one at the start were easy stepovers/walk arounds – that one is going to be difficult to remove – it was probably 36″ plus in diameter:
We made it back to the truck and then headed home. We got stopped on 224 around milepost 35 – they are doing work to help with the rockfall – I’m guessing it is part of the big rockfall prevention project that ODOT had planned. Here is a photo where you can see guys up the hillside a ways – not sure what they are doing – drilling holes for dynamite? It was interesting to see anyway:
Another great day out in the woods.