Location of Hike: Bissell Trail and Old Baldy
Trail Number: 502
Weather during Hike: Overcast with a couple of short sunbreaks
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 9:45 AM End Time: 1:15 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
The plan for the day wasn’t terribly challenging or busy. I was thinking we could head up Bissell to the Old Baldy Trail and then head up to Old Baldy. I’ve done this trip before and it is a nice trip. I kind of figured there would be at least a little bit of snow, but we didn’t see any snow at all the entire day.
We headed out at the “normal” time, and got to the trailhead a bit before 10:00 – we suited up and headed up the hill (I conveniently forget how steep this trail is). About a quarter mile up the trail there is a creek crossing and a bit wet area where I encountered some 4 wheelers last January. While you can still see where they ripped things up, it is recovering much better than I thought it would:
We continued up the trail a bit until we got to the connector trail that connects with the end of 4614. We walked out to the end of 4614 (which is now supposedly closed, but people still are able to get past the tank trapped road somehow. We didn’t see any recent evidence of activity however:
After looking at the old road, we headed back and then continued up the hill. After climbing for a while, we found the flat spot where we had gone up to explore the lake below Old Baldy a few years ago (the lake Thor broke thru the ice and fell into). At this point, the trail takes a pretty hard right turn but the elevation gain mellows out quite a bit. From this point on, you basically follow a contour line so the trail doesn’t go up or down too much.
We made our way up the trail, doing a little bit of lopping here and there until we finally got to the Bissell and Old Baldy junction:
Along the way up I was a bit disappointed to hear shooting in the distance. On a weekend you can almost guarantee hearing a LOT of shooting, but I kind of hoped on a Thursday it would be quiet. I think I heard two distinct groups of shooters, but at least it was quite a ways away. I was just surprised to hear it on a misty Thursday.
Once on the Old Baldy trail, we continued up, navigating a few pretty big messes of blowdown. On prior trips, I’d cut what I could with my handsaw, so it was a bit easier, but the big logs make passage somewhat difficult. We continued up – and up – and up – until we finally got to the top of Old Baldy.
I was hoping the sun would come out while we were on top – it looked like the fog was going to burn off and I was hoping we’d be high enough to be above it. Unfortunately, we weren’t. We stopped and ate lunch and then headed back down. Before we headed back down, I noticed these interesting orange fungus on the top of Old Baldy and decided to take some pictures:
After taking the pictures, we headed down the trail. Along the way, I took this photo of Old Baldy in the mist:
We continued down, and I thought I was being aware of looking for the junction to Bissell, but we went a ways and it didn’t look familiar, so we turned around and lo and behold, we had missed the junction. We then started down the Bissell trail. A little bit down the trail, the sun started coming out and I captured a picture of what that looked like:
It didn’t last long, but it was nice while it lasted. We made really good time going downhill, and got back to the truck about 1:15. I could tell Thor was really tired because he kept sitting down on the trail as we went down. When we got to the truck he just wanted to get in and lay down.
It was a short, but really nice, relaxing day in the woods. On the way home, I stopped in Estacada for Frozen Yogurt! Cheesecake and Peach! YUMM!!